We all need to meet new people who might become clients or customers or employees. But who really enjoys business networking?
It may be handy to get to deliver a 30-second pitch to 50 different people at a Speed Networking evening. But unless you’re an iPod, it’s also pretty awkward.
The rest of us may confine our networking to less contrived situations like cocktail parties or dinners with friends. And there, we’re sure to get the question “What do you do?”
If you’re a brain surgeon, rocket scientist or supermodel, it might be fun to share your job title alone. But few of us have such glamorous or easy-to-understand jobs these days.
Let’s say you run a company that trains drill press operators. Or you give Myers-Briggs personality tests to people who’ve just gotten divorced. Or you build websites and do online marketing.
In that case, just giving your job title or description won’t help much. If people even understand what you do, they’ll just put you in a conceptual box right away. “Oh, he’s in manufacturing. Nothing to do with me” or “I don’t have the money for a website so why do I care?”
If you want to get someone’s interest, you’ll be better off introducing yourself differently. Instead of talking about what you do, talk about who you help. And do it differently from others who try to do the same thing (your competitors). For example:
I help people going through life transitions cut through the clutter of doubts and negative thoughts so that they can choose the best options to move forward in their personal lives more quickly and without all the unnecessary pain.
This is just the start. For a bit longer intro, you can add how you do it and then invite your new acquaintance to consider working with you. Communications consultant Jennifer Bourn provides a handy formula for you to write your own answer to the question “What do you do?” in eight short steps:
- I help: [ideal client description]
- Do/be/get/achieve/overcome: [big result]
- So they can: [benefit of big result]
- Even if: [common objection]
- I do that through/by/with/in: [share services, products, and programs]
- If you: [invite the action]
- Simply: [tell them exactly what to do]
Read Bourn’s whole piece to see how it works.
— Erik Curren, Curren Media Group