30-Second Commercials: Part 2 of 8

TSilver modern Stopwatcho build a strong network of contacts that give you referrals, contacts and information, you need to have a concise, yet very compelling, 30-second commercial. The problem is that you have SO MUCH to say and 30 seconds is really not a lot of time.

So to conquer the challenge of conveying lots of information in a short period of time, it is helpful to have a framework to work with. Here is an effective one:

  • Start with a basic introduction for yourself (this addresses the WHO you are) …
  • Add to that a Message (which addresses the WHAT you do) …
  • From there, you need to Inspire Confidence or create credibility (which tackles the issues as to WHY you over all the other choices) …
  • Then you wrap this up with a Strong Definite Request of what you need (this is the HOW they can help you).

Now, if you carefully draft each of these sub-parts and then piece them together with your own personal flair, you end up with a very effective 30-second commercial. For more, see part 3.

30-Second Commercials: Part 1 of 8

Silver modern StopwatchEssentially, networking is about you creating a series of relationships (also known as a network). The end game for you is the network to help you. To get this three things need to happen … Your network needs to KNOW you … Your network needs to LIKE you … And, your network needs to TRUST you.

Now, in establishing this KNOW, LIKE & TRUST, those you hope to add to your network NEED (not just WANT, they NEED) to have a firm sense as to..

  • WHO you are (name, business name, basic product/service) …
  • WHAT do you do (along with when do you do it) …
  • WHY they should do business with you or WHY they should refer you as opposed to other options
  • And, HOW can they help you (who are people you want to be referred to? … Who do you want to meet? … What information do you need?)

In a networking sense, the primary limitation to communicating all this (especially amongst people you are meeting for the first time) is simply ATTENTION SPAN.

In somewhere around 30 seconds, you need to effectively communicate all these things, or lose (or at least risk losing) their minds to something (or someone) else.  For more, see part 2.

Tips For Improving Small Talk

talking gently

“Small Talk” is an art. Like any art, you can improve how you do it through practice. Here are some ideas for becoming more proficient at small talk.

THINK … On the way to the next event or when you have some idle time, work through in your mind how you envision your “small talk” going. Review the questions you will ask in your mind. See yourself listening, summarizing, and sharing.

LISTEN … “Small talk” is all around you, everyday. Listen to it, especially those who are good at it. See how they weave from one question to the next and how they transition to business, return to small talk and then exit the conversation.

ENGAGE … Take every opportunity to engage in “small talk” When you are in line at the store check out. With a server in a restaurant. With the receptionist at your next appointment. You will find the more you engage in small talk, the more comfortable you get at it.

The most important thing you need to do in being good at “small talk” is develop an attitude or belief.

Periodically, you need to tell yourself, “I can carry a conversation. I can. I am good at it. I enjoy it. I like how it lifts the spirits of others.  And I love what it is doing for my networking. I can carry a conversation.”

Exit Gracefully From Networking Conversations

 

Business connections at networking events are great. Whatever the case, do not churn the entire event away in a single one. Nothing says that you need to engage in a dozen different conveDiagramrsations over the course of an hour. Two or three is plenty. Remember this is not speed dating, rather, its networking (building relationships). Given that, you should develop some ways of moving on. As with anything else, honesty is the best policy.

Here are some great lines for doing that:

“Thanks for your time. I told myself I would meet three interesting people at this. I have two more to go.”

“There is someone over there that I need to connect with.”

“Is there anyone here in particular you would like to meet? I would be glad to introduce you.”

Small Talk To Big Business

Now remember, “small talk” is the warm-up and thus it should lead to a work out. The workout is talking business. To make this happen, eventually you need to transition from small talk to real business.

When this moment comes, you will know. Some time into your exchange, there will be a lull. Use this moment to get at a more meaty discussion on business (whatever that might be).G (Results)

Be forewarned, however, this is not to suggest that you start to pitch them or set them up for a close. It merely suggests that once you have them comfortably engaged in conversation, you should ease into a more professional discussion of their business or your business.

For  example, this might be a good segue … “Well, water skiing is likely not cheap … So what do you do professionally to pay for it?”

Do not try to steer them. For example a business coach, should not ask … “Do you use business coaches in your business?” … A financial advisor, should not go with … “How is your 401K doing these days?” … A promotional products person, should not jump to … “How do you use ad specialty items in your business?”

Do NOT push it. Keep the tone light and the sales probing to a minimum. If you do this right, you will have lots of opportunity to gather future business intelligence, pitch them, and close them.  Remember, people do business with those they Know, Like & Trust.

Return To Small Talk

After the professional conversation has run its course, before the conversation ends, touch back on something related to your “small talk” conversation.

For example “Great talking with you. Assuming, you don’t get laid up in the hospital skiing between now and then, I would enjoy continuing our conversation over a cup of coffee sometime.”

Why is this important? By returning to “small talk”, you have demonstrated that you were listening and that you remembered. More subtly, however, you are reflecting back to a part of the conversation when they likely delighted in your interest in them.