So last week was my first foray back into the world of networking after the Christmas break. And despite it being an effort to tear myself away from the desk and the already increasing in-tray, once I got there it was a real pleasure to meet up with old friends, make new contacts and generally immerse myself in finding more about others and their businesses.
This was a particularly well run networking meeting with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, great venue and just the right number of people for it to be pleasant rather than overwhelming. The women in this group are truly inspiring and the mix of business interests, personalities and stories was energising and uplifting.
So why have I titled this blog 5 Things that get me MAD at networking meetings? Because time and again I experience frustration at the missed opportunities and bodged introductions when people are asked to talk about their businesses. Knowing what to say by way of an introduction to your business and how to say with impact are FUNDAMENTAL skills for you as a business leader/owner and even more so if you have built networking into your plan for business growth.
Maddening Thing #1
People who don’t give eye contact to the group. Alright, sometimes the room isn’t an ideal layout to get eye contact with everyone but make sure you take charge of your presentation ( even if it is only 60 seconds). Go and stand where you can see the majority, deliberately make contact with everyone you can at the beginning at least, even if that means checking out the corners of the room. It is no good delivering your presentation to your notepad, while half of the room can only see the back of your head.
The best introductions I have seen have involved the presenter standing up and engaging as many people as possible before they start, regularly throughout and absolutely at the end.
Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and using eye contact
Maddening Thing #2.
People who do not make it clear what they do, how this benefits the listener and what sort of business they are looking for. There were a few presentations last week where even now I would struggle to tell you what that business was. And when you think about it, isn’t this what networking is about – helping others help you in finding contacts and ultimately business? Have a clear idea what your business does that helps your customers and know who your customers are ( not everyone because that is too vague). Focus on one part of your business if it has different strands and end up your introduction by saying if anyone wants to know more about how this can help their business they should get in touch ( then give your details)
As a contrast there were several presentations last week where not only was I clear how that person could help me, but I learned enough in 60 seconds that I could recommend them to others. ( and I will be doing so)
Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how to target your presentations
Maddening Thing # 3
This one is more subtle. These people were clear about their business but made the mistake of telling us what they did. And so followed a list of activities they get involved in and services they provide. If you are asking yourself what’s wrong with this, think for a moment about what engages your attention, what excites you and what is memorable when you listen to introductions. it is NOT the activities themselves – it is the benefit they bring – either to you or to the people you know. And the very best introductions focus and acknowledge the world you live in and how their business can help. You may well be an financial services adviser but unless and until you recognise my world of children who are likely to go to university, my dilemma of whether to save for the future or spend for the present etc – I won’t believe that your business can help ME.
Think about your customers, put yourself in their shoes, describe their world, then tell them what you do that will resonate with them
Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how to engage your audiences
Maddening Thing #4
There were 25 business owners in that networking meeting. About half of them spoke at that meeting. I know that there will have been some good reasons why some did not, but I would hazard a guess that for some it was fear of speaking in front of a group. But hang on – isn’t that why we go to networking meetings in the first place. To raise the profile of our business, make contacts and find suppliers? It will take an awful long time to do that if you only talk to the people next to you! Recognise that this fear is holding you back and allowing you to miss out on the opportunity to tell people what you do , share something about you – for them to like you , know you, trust you.. Take steps to overcome this fear – learn what to say and how to say it. Be bold, stand up, speak out, stand out.
Find out more about Panic to Poise seminars and how to get that confidence to command an audience
What are you going to do at the next networking meeting? How will you raise your profile? How will you target your introduction to your customers and make it personal? How much impact will you get?
Panic to Poise is a two hour seminar aimed at helping you be supremely confident when speaking to groups and increasing your impact, your influence and your income. The next one is on 31st January, Hale Cheshire
Good luck. I look forward to meeting up.
What do you think is a good networker introduction? What gets you mad at networking events? Post your comments below. I would love to hear from you.