So back in the day, I was at a networking event at a local Chamber of Commerce. As is customary in many types of events like these, we went around the room and allowed everyone to introduce themselves to the group at the onset of the meeting.
The Event: Let The Networking Introductions Begin
Uh Oh... Is This Event Going To Be A Dud?
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, and 11th persons introduced 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.
There was not one person providing incentive for anyone else to make a bee-line across the room to talk with them.
At this point, I’m cringing with disgust at their 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 benefit from some of my coaching services.
Wait... There's Some Possibility Here
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 tiny bit about why everyone in his target market would be crazy to do business with anyone but him.
Then, unfortunately, the 16th, 17th, 25th, and 26th all returned 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 halfway decent job of creating interest in them for the group; This was not good! Hence my inspiration for what follows—3 tips to introduce yourself better at networking events.
3 Tips To Improve Your Elevator Speech
➊ 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 unavoidable, try not to speak with your back to anyone—that isn’t polite. Instead, speak to everyone, making eye contact with others in the group—not just the event facilitator at the head of the table or in front of the room.
➋ Be Heard
Speak up and speak clearly; This isn’t the time to be shy! If it helps, look at the people’s body language furthest from you. If they look like they’re struggling to hear you, step up the volume. If you’re unsure about how your voice projects, arrange 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.
➌ 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 tiny bit about 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 themselves; This exudes a natural charisma, confidence, and poise that are hard to fake.
We could add numerous other tips 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; That gives all the more reason to make positive and memorable impressions whenever possible.
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 your 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 introduce yourself effectively.