Many people don’t know that before I was a networking queen, facilitator, and presenter, I was a wallflower shy introvert. I would have to take big deep breaths before my 30 second commercial… which would truly be about 10 seconds. I wasn’t good at building relationships. I wasn’t great at connecting with people. Completely a fish out of water. Until I learned that building relationships in business consisted of 3 things: Like, know, and trust. How do you get people to like, know, and trust you? Find commonality and add value.
Here are 5 questions I ask in every 1:1, every networking event, even in personal situations.
1) What do you do? I know what a realtor and a banker does but I want to know what they think they do. Their answer gives great insight into what they are passionate about.
2) Tell me about your family. One time I asked a woman in her mid thirties to tell me about her kids and her husband. Tears. She had never been married and never had kids. The only thing she ever wanted to do. Broke my heart! I never ask that question anymore. People will tell you about their dogs, sick parents, whatever.
3) What do you do for fun? Did you know there is a group of dancers who teach adults with disabilities how to ballroom dance? I didn’t either until I started asking this question. It’s fun to find out what your network does on their off time.
4) Where are you from? Finding out where people are from can be one of the easiest ways to find commonality. Where do they live? Are they from here originally?
5) What’s your story? What did they do before they went into their current position? What’s their story?
How to add value:
1) How can I help you? Simple. Ask this during any 1:1 and you will instantly add value. What are your challenges? Who can I connect you with? What do you need to reach your goals?
Start using these questions in any situation and you’ll rarely find yourself without something to say. Happy Networking!
Have you read article after article talking about the perfect “Elevator Pitch”? Have you found yourself still unsure about what you should say or how you can get others interested in what you do? Your commercial is 30-60 seconds long, typically in the beginning of a meeting, and is meant to open the door to further conversation. It is meant to interest your target market or those who target the same market as you. Whether you are working for another company or an entrepreneur, your message should be your personal brand. I know that a realtor buys and sells houses… so what do YOU do differently that sets you apart? You are a sales person for Spectrum? Helping customers save money on internet is great but what sets you apart from the others? What do you love about what you do? What is your passion or special expertise?
The following four fundamentals will make it easy to express your message, as well as make it easy for your network to know who you’re looking for.
“My name is Angel Hicks, COO of H7 Network and managing director of our women’s group Evolve. In all of our programs, we teach our members to build referrals through relationships. I am always looking for email connections to women in business 0-5 years because that’s who I can help the most.”
Make the message simple yet impactful. You want to make sure you don’t use too much industry jargon or ramble on why you are looking for those connections. Happy Networking!