There are few options to the basic introduction (as discussed in part 3); it is largely void of creativity, right? That’s okay, because you can more than make up for it with the Message Body. This is essentially the heart and soul of your message and you can approach it from lots of different angles … You can INFORM the person or EDUCATE … You can even AMUSE or STARTLE them to get the point across.
You might be sitting there saying, “There
is nothing to what I do.” Certainly, what you do may seem like basic vanilla. What
you need to give yourself credit for (and convey in your messages) are all the
different WHERE’S and HOW’s you do what you do. With that, you can add some
creativity to your message body.
For example, a real estate agent helps someone buy a house. Basic vanilla, right? But there are lots of reasons WHY and situations WHEN they do this, like when people want to…
Get out of an apartment.
Have a bigger house.
Have a smaller house.
Have a second house.
Renovate and flip a house.
Invest in real estate and rent a house…or two.
Each of these could be the basis for a completely
separate message body. No doubt, you can do the same for your business or
profession. Read on in Part 5.
Your 30-second commercial should address
“who you are?” There is no magic to stating the WHO, the Basic Introduction. After
all, it is (well) basic. Nevertheless, this part of the 30-second commercial is
In your Basic Introduction you need to
clearly articulate your name (is it Mike or Michael … Kim or Kimberly). Then
state your title and the work you are associated with. Each of these is
Now, nothing says it has to be in this
precise order … You could achieve the same thing by re-stating the example “I am a franchise broker with National
Franchising Group … I am John Doe” Or “I am with National Franchising Group.
My name is John Doe. I am a franchise broker.”
case, your 30-second commercial should address “who you are?” The next step is
in Part 4.
Centuries ago, a kingdom had a prince with a hunchback.
Though it was his destiny to be king, he was so tragically deformed that even
the most loyal of subjects dreaded the day he would ascend to the throne.
Undeterred, the Prince ordered the royal sculptor to
carve a statue of him in a manner that looked exactly as he would look if he
had no deformity.
When the sculpture was finished, the Prince would
approach it each day and try to bend his back straight up against the back of
his statue. Then one day, bending upward, his shoulders touched the statute. He now resembled the statue he’d ordered
Your life today is riddled with imperfection and
deformities relative to where you want to take it. In your mind, carve a
statute of your perfect future self. Then each day bend a little more towards
it. Like the Prince, one day your imperfections will be cast aside.
To 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 WHO you are) …
Add to that a Message (which addresses WHAT you do) …
From there, you need to Inspire Confidence or create credibility (which tackles WHY you over all the other choices) …
Then you wrap this up with a Strong Definite Request of what you need (this is 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.
Essentially, networking is about you creating
a series of relationships (also known as a network). The end game for you is to
get 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.
establishing this KNOW, LIKE & TRUST, those you hope to add to your network
NEED (not just WANT, but NEED) to have a firm sense as to…
WHO you are (name, business name, basic product/service) …
WHAT you do (along with when you do it) …
WHY they should do business with you or WHY they should refer you as opposed to other options…
And, HOW they can 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.
“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, every day. 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 to be good at
“small talk” is develop an attitude of 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.”
Michael Goldberg, author of Knockout Networking has a
saying: “Networking is a two-way street!”
To elaborate, he then suggests a litany of questions to
ponder in any relationship:
How can we help one another?
How can we work together?
How can we be resources for one another?
How can we refer each other?
are great questions. And ones that you shouldn’t consider rhetorical. Rather, whenever you’re in conversation with someone else … whenever you’re thinking
about contacts in your network … whenever you’re looking to add value to others
…. you should take an active approach to finding reasonable answers to these
Goldberg will tell you, effective networking is an ongoing process of learning
about others and then finding ways to help them. If you consistently engage in
this thought process, the vast majority of the time you’ll uncover things you
can do to help others. And once you’re consistently helping other, in time,
things will come back to you.
Sociological research has shown that
the vast majority of opportunities your network provides will not come from
close ties, such as friends and relatives. Rather great career opportunities, new
client wins, and groundbreaking information come from weak ties. These are
people you know, but ones that you only see and interact with occasionally.
Why? Because close ties tend
to occupy the same world as you do. Think about it. A spouse or close friend may
share many of the same network contacts you already know.
Mere acquaintances, or
“weak ties”, on the other hand, are much more likely to know people that you do
not. While you might share a small overlap in networks, most of the people they
know are completely unknown to you.
So, when it comes to job
hunting or finding clients or generally getting ahead, there is much strength
in connecting with weak ties.
this, everything you do with respect to your network will somehow, some way,
come back to you. Referrals given work into referrals for you in return.
Encouragement comes back as encouragement. Introductions made result in
introductions received. Know that what you put into your network comes back to
that, also know this. Very little (if any) of what you do for your network will
come back to you tomorrow. Or even next week. Or, perhaps next month, for that
matter. You simply need to trust that what you put into your network will eventually
come back to you.
while you wait for these returns on your networking investment, remain
optimistic about your networking efforts and simply keep contributing. And as
you do, do whatever you can to keep from being discouraged. You’ve made an
investment. The returns are coming. Believe that.
plane takes off from London heading to New York. If it is nudged off course by
just five degrees to the south, it will end up landing somewhere south of
Mexico, in like Venezuela or Belize. That’s crazy. It ends up approximately
2,500 miles from its intended destination.
is why pilots continually check the heading of the flight and, as needed, make
necessary course corrections.
same is true with your life. It’s great to have a clear vision, reasonable
goals and a committed plan of action. But from time to time it’s also important
to look up to check that you’re still pointed in the right direction.
all, things change. Situations change. Your own wants and needs change. The
people around you change. It’s all subject to change. And all of it impacts
your route. So, to ensure that you are headed where you intended to go,
remember to course correct whenever necessary.