Yesterday I wrote about what I think is one of the biggest mistakes made in networking: not listening enough. Today I want to talk about the flip side: not describing yourself (or your business) well.
Have you ever been to an event where you asked someone, “So what do you do?” and been more confused after they finished than when they started.
Or have you ever asked someone “Who is a good client for you?” and they say, “Well, actually anyone is a good client for me.”
Neither of those messages accomplished anything positive. If they made the person more memorable, it wasn’t in a good way.
To network effectively, you need to have a clear message. You need to be able to describe what you do without jargon and in a way that people will understand. You need to know who you want to meet and be able to describe them in ways that will trigger a response.
This is one of the reasons I recommend people develop an elevator speech. Even if you never have a chance to stand up and deliver one, the process of writing about it forces you to think through who you are, what you do, and who you want to meet.
So how can you communicate those things more effectively?
1. Don’t use jargon! I can’t emphasize that enough. Jargon only communicates with people who know the jargon, and the majority of people you interact with won’t understand and won’t care.
2. Involve the senses. If you can describe what you do in a vivid way involving many senses, do so. When I was selling windows, I used to talk about standing in front of a large picture window and feeling either the heat or the cold through the glass. I got a referral from someone who felt the cold in front of the window in a friend’s living room. Saying, “if you know someone who needs my services” wouldn’t have given it to me. Making her feel it in my description did.
3. Be specific. If you want to meet plastic surgeons, don’t say you want to meet people “in the medical profession.” If you want to work with a particular company, mention it by name. If you can describe exactly what to look for of listen for, describe it. Our mind needs triggers to make connections. Give them to us.
4. Don’t wing it. Think through these things in advance. Sit down right now and write down what you do in vivid terms, using common language. Run your description past a friend or a client. See if it resonates. If you do it now, you’ll be ready when you need it.
Anyone want to share a particularly vivid description of what you do or who you need to meet? If I get some good ones, I’ll include them in an upcoming blog post. Don’t forget to leave a link to your site. I’ll include it in the post.