As an entrepreneur or a professional, you will understand the importance of networking. In this light, it is critical that you make a great impression on the people you meet so they don’t throw your business card out the window.
Creating a mental imprint takes effort. Here are some tips for creating a strong introduction when you are out and about.
1. Craft your 30-second introduction. Sometimes this is called USP (Unique Selling Proposition) or the Elevator Speech. We use statements that will summarize our capabilities that will give a mental hook to people we meet when networking (or even during online introductions). Below is an example outline:
ñ About You (Tell what you do, describe you and your company, etc.)
ñ What do you offer (Tell what problems you have solved or contributions you have made)
ñ Benefits (Share special service, product or solutions you can offer; advantages of working with you)
Hi, my name is Ann Smith, and I am a Senior Chemist. I'm looking for a position that will allow me to use my research and analysis skills. Over the past 10 years, I’ve been strengthening these skills through my work with a local food company. Eventually, I'd like to develop an education program on nutrition for underserved communities. I read that your organization is involved in nutrition campaign projects. Can you tell me how someone with my experience may fit into your organization?
Feel free to share a story related to your introduction when called for so that you will be able to give a clear picture of your talent or your skill to the person you are speaking with.
2. Practice permission-based introduction. In case of an introduction between friends or colleagues who work at a different organization, it's best to ask permission first. This avoids wasting time for each of you and in this way, you will learn how to be an efficient "match-maker" if you are looking for talent yourself. Furthermore, take time to learn why each person wants to be introduced to make a successful connection.
3. Say thank you. Nowadays, expressing gratitude for the time is becoming a forgotten skill. Take time to say “thank you” after you have spent time networking with a person. If you didn’t have the opportunity to say it, you may send a quick email to express how you appreciate the time during the event. Being courteous takes a long way and this will definitely leave a mark on your newfound "friends" in the industry. Consequently, giving favors will be easier and they will be more willing to share their network with you.