So let me start this note stating the truth: I’m AWKWARD.
I don’t take pride in this notion, it’s just a fact I’ve come to embrace in adulthood. Walking into a room full of strangers sends blaring sirens off in my mind: Danger! Danger! Danger! Warning: you’re about to say something stupid!
But part of growing a business requires me to get uncomfortable and attend social events (even if I prefer to sit at home, eat a taco, and talk to my dog).
So how do I make the most of these events as an introvert? I make a plan to move past my nerves and introduce my business in the most effective way.
Because I shy away from walking into a mixer or a cocktail party like Khaleesi the Dothraki (although I could use a dragon as a conversation starter), I tend to stay on the outskirts of any event. I’ve discovered the three best places to strike up a new conversation are the 3 B’s…
- Bar line
- Waiting in line is the easiest way to strike a conversation, without the pressure of a forced introduction. The best part is that the conversation is limited to the duration of placing a drink order, which makes for an easy way to exit an expired conversation.
- Bathroom line
- This works just as well as the bar line, but I’d suggest ending the conversation before that awkward moment of waving goodbye before you enter a stall (yes, that’s happened to (me) a friend)
- I’ve noticed that there are a lot of people, like myself, who stand on the periphery of events. I call this place the Boonies. Those of us in the Boonies watch from the outside and get a good sense of how the mixer is unfolding. For me, it’s easier to chat with people who understand the party dynamics similar to me, so an introduction comes with ease as a byproduct.
Okay, so now that you know WHERE to meet people at a networking event, let’s chat about HOW to introduce your business…and be unforgettable.
After years of making mistakes, I realized something important: I Need to Introduce My Business in One, Easy-to-Understand Sentence.
Here’s the deal: no one has time to hear you dilly dally about your “Well, it’s sort of hard to explain, but what I do is…” explanation. In fact, no one wants to know the specifics of what you do. At least not during an introduction.
So what do they want? People want a reason to put you in their mental Rolodex (<— remember those things?!) as way for you to provide a BENEFIT to them later.
The easier the benefits are to understand, the more unforgettable you become. So how do you make your business introduction effective? Break one sentence into three easy parts:
- Step One: State Your Name
- You got this down pat, Champ!
- Step Two: State What You Do
- This is literally what you do: real estate agent, photographer, jewelry maker, etc.
- Don’t get fancy here…the quickest way to lose someone’s interest is describing a profession in a pretentious way. For example, don’t say you’re a “documenteur of unrequited emotions and fleeting moments” when what most people understand is that you’re a photographer.
- Keep it simple.
- Step Three: Share Your Message
- This is your secret sauce.
- This is the chance to make your introduction unforgettable by listing the benefits of what you provide.
- Do you make healthy snacks for weight loss? Do you potty train pets in less than 48 hours? Outline your message, target who it’s for (people wanting to lose weight, or pet owners with limited training time), and share it as a benefit.
So let’s take a look at my one-sentence business introduction:
“Hello, I’m Jasmine Star, a photographer and business strategist, who empowers entrepreneurs to build a brand, market it on social media, and grow a profitable business.”
- Name: Jasmine Star
- Title: Photographer and Business Strategist
- Benefit Message: I empower entrepreneurs to build a brand, market it on social media, and grow a profitable business.
In one sentence, someone can immediately categorize my business in relation to what they need now…or will need in the future. Easy peasey.
I hope you write (and memorize) your networking introduction. It’s been a game-changer for my awkward tendencies. And if we happen to end up at same networking event, I’ll see you in the bathroom line or the Boonies!