Don’t be caught off guard. It’s important to be able to know how to respond when someone asks, “What do you do?” or “Tell me about yourself.” What would you say?
Have you ever thought about what it’s like for someone else to meet you? Once you are out of sight, what do people say about you? Your story defines you. It’s your personal brand. Your brand is your appearance, your demeanor, and most important, how you tell your story.
When networking, smart networkers develop their story which is the most important aspect of your conversation when you are networking. You must be able to communicate it in under one minute – sometimes less. To be able to tell your story, you need to take time to do some serious thinking about how you can present yourself in the most positive light that has people want to get to know you better.
Your story is the one thing that makes your business standout from your competition. Stories define us. For some businesses this is very easy to see the difference. Take some time and do some research on your competition to discover what makes your own business unique.
Your story about your business could be part of your mission statement. Knowing how to effectively communicate who you are and what you do helps others to identify your brand. Research tells us that it takes less than ten seconds to make an impression when we meet people so you need to get to your story quickly. Could you tell your professional story to a key contact on a 30 second elevator ride? With less than 10 seconds to make an impression, your opening line (or punch line) should immediately hook whoever you’re talking with. Design it to get attention fast.
How you speak about your business can either hurt or help you. The goal in any situation is to make a connection when you tell your story. You may want to have several different versions of your story for different occasions. Your story is a great way to engage people and get them interested in what you do and sell.
If you need some “brand therapy,” here is a good place to begin. Adapt your brief story to your 30-Second connection or elevator pitch. It will help others to make sense of what you do. 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!
BONUS Articles: Do You Have an Effective “30 Second Connection?”
Copyright © 2012 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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