Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Networking an Event with Feeling

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To keep up with the theme this week, here is another article about networking. This article is about your message and how to communicate clearly and effectively with feeling. Try it, you might enjoy it!

Carole DeJarnatt

Networking an Event - What You Do -- Once More, With Feeling!
By Greg Peters

One of the most challenging questions we all receive in any networking opportunity is the seemingly obvious, "So, what do you do?" Well, of course you know what you do, but communicating it to others in a way that doesn't make them stare at you blankly can be a bit more of a challenge. The trick, of course, is to elicit some sort of emotion from your listener. The other trick is that you must work continually on your presentation. You may even need more than one!

By the way, you'll recognize those who have chosen not to work on this. At a networking event they're the ones who say things like "I'm a real estate agent" or even the (only slightly) better "I find homes for people". Bo-o-oring!

The first step in the process is to ask yourself why people would buy from you or engage your services at all. I'll give you a hint: It's not the widget you sell - it's what your customer gets from the widget you sell. Take for example our long-suffering real estate agent. As I said, "I find homes for people" is a start, but I think we can get a bit more emotional than that. What images does the word "home" evoke? Magical family gatherings around the holidays? A safe, warm place to hide when the storm is raging outside? How about a source of light and laughter that your children will carry with them no matter where they go?

Any one of these images would get my interest more than "I'm a real estate agent."

To make this truly effective, you've got to use it and let it evolve. Personally, as a Web programmer, I know for a fact that even a whisper of the technical jargon with which I deal on a daily basis is enough to make my audience's eyes glaze over. I made it my goal to be understandable when dealing with technical topics. My descriptive path started with "When you're dealing with the Web, I'm the geek who speaks." Not particularly "emotional", but it was at least fun. With a little work, I came up with "Clearing up the Confusion on the Web" -- not bad, but not what I would call a real "grabber."

Hearing Scott Ginsberg speak one day was what really brought things into focus. After hearing him talking about personal branding, I decided to push the envelope a little. From that point on, when someone asked me what I do, I told them that "I am the international superhero known as 'The Webmaster!'" And what does such a champion do?

"I rescue people from their own websites."

Since I've adopted that phrase, it never fails to get a laugh. The best thing, though, is it also gets folks to ask for more. And, really, in a networking situation, what more could you ask than to be memorable and to arouse people's curiosity?

So, put in a little effort. Be brave. Pull out the emotion -- whether laughter, worry, or curiosity. The worst that can happen is have that other person look at you and say "Huh?"

But at least they're talking with you!

Copyright 2007, All Rights Reserved

Greg Peters is the owner and superhero-in-residence of Cyber Data Solutions. CDS has been helping website designers develop better web presence for their clients for more than a decade. We specialize in tools which help folks keep their websites up to date, fresh, and interesting. Visit us on the Web at to see how we can help your webmaster.

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Dan Schawbel said...

I think it's challenging to speak of what you do if you do....TOO MUCH....I'd say if you can bulk up everything you do into categories and create a quick pitch surrounding those categories you will be fine.

Carole DeJarnatt said...

I agree. I still struggle with this everytime I go to an event.

Thanks for the comment.