If you are going to be an effective networker, you must. . .
Develop a good self-introduction!
I call this very important self-introduction a “30 second connection!” Some call it a soundbite or an elevator speech. It must be taken seriously. It is often the first words people hear from you. Practice, drill and rehearse it.
Your “30 second connection” must be like a brain tatto; a mental imprint that turns blah-blah into rah-rah! It’s your “verbal business card.” Don’t ramble. Remember: Less is more! Keep it brief and to-the-point. Know what you are going to say. It should tell, sell and be compelling. It must emotionally engage your listener in a way that truly gets their attention.
Here are a few common mistakes networkers make: 1. Giving waaaay to much information. You should not be aiming to give your company’s life story – nobody cares, and they care even less after sitting through 15 other 30 second connections. 2. Just talking about the features of your product or service, rather than the benefits, is a sure-fire way to lose your audience’s attention. 3. You demonstrate a still, small voice. You are you too quiet, too monotone, or too fast in your speech. Speak up so everyone in the room can hear you. 4. You have a deadly dull pitch. Brighten your 30 seconds up with humor, a prop, a picture or an interesting statistic.
After you’ve been introduced, people should know precisely who you are and what you do. It shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds and it can be shorter.
It is important for you to be able to introduce yourself quickly without stumbling over your words. This is why I said you must practice, drill and rehearse. My friend and networking expert, Anne Boe once said, “Clarity is power!” Connections that begin with clarity can become long-lasting because they stand out; they will be remembered.
When you clearly communicate who you are, and what you do, people are in a much better position to assist you in your networking efforts. They are more likely to remember you when the opportunity for them to help you shows up.
Grant G. Gard says, “If it’s fuzzy in the pulpit, it’s cloudy in the pew!” Learning to speak clearly teaches us to say good-bye to confusion. Crystal clear communication allows us to make the connections that enable ideas to flourish and positive actions to occur.
There are four important elements to an effective “30 second connection.”
1. Your name.
2. The name of your business.
3. Specifically what you do and how it can help others!
4. What kind of business leads you are looking for.
“Briefer is better. Keep is short and sweet. Begin with a positive, focused opening of 4 to 6 seconds; follow up with a core message of 15 to 18 seconds, stating how you can help your listener (this is not about you), and close concisely in 4 to 6 seconds as you mention how those listening can connect with you.” ~ Fred R. Doidge, author of “Public Speaking Is Fun!“
You need to have the fourth element of a “30 second connection” ready for the right occasion. There are some groups, such as networking groups, where it is totally appropriate for you to tell people what kind of business leads you are looking for. As a matter of fact, it is expected!
Most networking groups offer an opportunity for you to give your “30 second connection” and solicit business leads. There are other places where it is less appropriate. Use your good judgement. Always be looking for the opportunity to tell people what you do when you show up! No time to be shy when you are networking.
Here is an example of a “30 second connection:
Hi, my name is Larry James with CelebrateLove.com. I present “Networking Seminars” & “Relationship Enrichment LoveShops” for solo singles, singles with partners and married love partners both nationally and internationally. I have authored three books on relationships and one on business networking. I offer personal relationship and business networking coaching for high functioning singles and married couples; people who are committed to “doing” whatever it takes to make their relationships work better.
A good business lead for me is anyone who is in a position to make a decision about hiring a relationship coach or a speaker for a seminar, workshop, keynote address, convention or association meeting. (Hint! Hint!) 😉 Larry James with CelebrateLove.com.
Be prepared! Commit your “30 second connection” to memory. Adjust the words (ad-lib) for various occasions but always be prepared.
There’s no one way to give a 30 second connection. Don’t get caught up in what you think a 30 second connection should sound like. Don’t be afraid to break the rules. If you give the same commercial week-in and week-out, you’re training your fellow members to forget you.
“Be sincere, be brief, be seated.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill (on how to give a good speech)
What does your product or service do for your customers? Figuring out the most relevant answer to this question is key to creating an effective 30 second connection. If you have time and an opportunity to do so, consider ending your 30 second connection with a solution to a problem that you may have helped others fix.
I attended a networking meeting recently where we were all given a change to talk briefly about our business and the kind of business leads we would appreciate. One member got up and very cleverly recited her 30 second connection through poetry. Very effective and different. She received a round of applause.
I often begin my 30 second connection by saying, “Hi everyone, my name is Larry James, the guy with two first names!” and I pause briefly before continuing. Usually people laugh. AND. . . they remember my name. It also helps “brand” my name. A recent search on Google.com for “Larry James” had me listed 4 times out of the top 10 listings.
BONUS Article: The Best Elevator (Anti-) Pitch
Here is my friend, Vickie Sullivan’s take on “Elevator Speeches!”
Copyright © 2009 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. Larry James offers Networking coaching. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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