So I just came from a networking event at a local Chamber of Commerce and as is customary in many types of events like these is at the onset, we went around the room and gave everyone an opportunity to introduce themselves to the group. At these events you need the best networking introduction.
The first person, while remaining seated, with a low-key voice, starts off the introductions with “Hi, I’m John… an accountant”… that’s it! The next person obviously following the poor example of the first person says, “Hi, I’m Beth and I work for XYZ Bank”… again that’s it! The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 11th person introduces themselves and all I could hear, that is of course if I could hear them at all from across the room, was “Hi I’m blah, blah, blah, and I work for blah, blah, blah”… nothing interesting… nothing memorable… no one giving anyone any reason to make a bee-line across the room to connect with them.
At this point I’m cringing with disgust at their own lack of enthusiasm and confidence in who they are and what they bring to the table… while at the same time, selfishly elated with the potential of all these prospects that could definitely benefit from purchasing my “Pumped Up Networking” information product.
So finally a star arises at around number 15. This guy took the time to eloquently state who he was, what he did, who he did it for, and a small bit on why everyone in his target market would be crazy to do business with anyone but him.
Then unfortunately the 16th, 17th, 25th, 26th all went back to the original boring formula. Then boom… finally another rising star! Long story short, not including me, there were a measly 3 out of maybe 50 people who at least did a half-way decent job of creating interest in them for the group. This was not good! Hence my inspiration for what follows in this article… 3 tips to pump up the delivery of your introduction at networking events.
#1 – Be Seen
Stand up and look the part… This is not the time to be lazy! Be dressed for success and get off your tail and make yourself visible to everyone in the room! Additionally, unless it’s absolutely unavoidable, try not to speak with your back to anyone… that’s just plain rude. Speak to everyone, making eye contact with others in the group… not just the event facilitator at the head of the table or front of the room.
#2 – Be Heard
Speak up and speak clearly… This isn’t the time to be shy! If it helps, look at the body language of the people furthest from you. If they look like they’re struggling to hear you, step up the volume. If you’re unsure on how you project, arrange in advance for a networking buddy to stand on the opposite side of the room during introductions to flag you if they can’t hear you properly.
#3 – Be Magnetic
Sound off… This isn’t the time to be humble! Be thorough, yet concise as you choose your words wisely. Do like our rising star (#15) did when he took the time to eloquently state who he was, what he did, who he did it for, and a small bit on why everyone in his target market would be crazy to do business with anyone but him.
Inject your personality. If you’re a funny guy, use humor. If not, don’t. I firmly believe that people are most magnetic when they’re being themselves. This exudes a natural charisma, confidence and poise that are hard to fake.
Now there are literally a ton of other tips we could add here however, those will have to wait for another time… for our purposes here, this is plenty to get you started.
So in closing remember, people do business with people they know, like, and trust… all the more reason to make positive and memorable impressions whenever possible. I mean isn’t this why we attend networking events in the first place, to connect with others in hopes of improving our situation in some way. So why not make the most of it by giving yourself the best chance to succeed with you networking efforts. And yes, first impressions at a networking event mean a lot so never, and I mean never ever, blow a golden opportunity to effectively introduce yourself.