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How to nail your networking introduction

Tell me honestly. Do you hate being asked what you do? Dread delivering your elevator pitch at the local chamber meeting? It shouldn’t be such a hassle but this is a curly one for lots of business owners.

Sometimes we try so hard to sound impressive we lose the important part of the message (like what we actually do). There’s this tendency to fall back on fluffy, convoluted job descriptions. Elevator pitch? Thanks but I reckon I’ll take the stairs.

If you need to up your networking game, here are some pointers to help fine-tune your introduction.

1) Ambiguity is public enemy number one

Make sure you use specific, concrete terms people can relate to. Ditch nice but fluffy lines like this. 

I’m a life coach who helps women achieve their dreams and live more balanced, happy lives.

Replace with:

I run a coaching program to help creative women find a way to make money from their talents.

2) Beware the Bullshit Job Title

I know you’re proud of your job title and why wouldn’t you be? You’ve earned it. There’s just one problem. It could be bullshit.

Like these (no offence to coaches, social media gurus or copywriters):

  • Social media strategist
  • Life coach
  • SEO copywriter
  • Corporate Infrastructure Planner
  • Senior Paradigm Analyst
  • Optimisation Specialist

Sweet Jesus. Someone hand me a dictionary. Or at least a savvy bullshit detector.

If in doubt lose the title and stick to the facts Jack.

3) Inject some clarity with these questions.

  • What is it that you really do? What’s your area of expertise? If you’re not sure use this prompt from Danielle LaPorte: What do people thank you for? Is it your encyclopaedic knowledge of Google +? Your sassy way with words? Your ability to effortlessly navigate legal minefields? The clarity you bring to people’s finances?

2) What are the results you promise? Make this tangible and relate it back to your target market.

So not:

I help people follow their dreams and live their best life.

More like:

I help college graduates land their dream job in 6 months.

Bingo.

3) What do you bring to the table that makes you or your business unique? What’s your story?

This is the essence of branding. What can clients expect from you?

A sardonic sense of humour? Advice delivered with a dose of zero tolerance honesty? Supportive praise? Delicious snacks?

Also consider the beliefs you share with your target market. This could be the reason you started your business.

For example, say you’re a technical whiz and you’re frustrated by all the confusing advice peddled by ‘gurus’. Your mission is to simplify the social web for new entrepreneurs. There’s your introduction right there.

Emphasising your unique qualities will help differentiate you in people’s minds. As philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said: “I may not be better than other people, but at least I’m different.”

When you have an easy way to talk about what you do it will give you more confidence in networking situations. And you won’t run every time you see an elevatorJ

Does this template work for you? I’d love to hear your 30-second introductory pitch in the comments. Happy Networking!