You’ve prepared your introduction for networking events… but does your listener care about what you’re saying?
Perhaps your introduction is boring and lacks impact… just your name and your role title that means little to anyone else.
Or you are rambling on but not really saying anything.
Or worst of all – your practised ‘elevator pitch’ feels like an unwanted sales call to the poor person you’ve cornered at networking drinks.
What your audience cares about comes first
While you may not know what matters specifically to the person you meet networking, you can still prepare a thoughtful introduction by understanding what generally gets people to listen and connect with your work, and by knowing what human beings generally need in order to enjoy an exchange with someone new!
When it comes to articulating value, what you personally care about matters – but it matters mostly to YOU. Your listener needs to hear something that makes them listen – something that matters to THEM.
Let me give you an example from my photography business days… As a photographer, I spent a lot of effort and training learning to ‘get it right in the camera’ – using equipment, techniques and knowledge of how light works on the subject, to ensure the photos were as close to perfect as I could achieve, before I got to editing on Photoshop. I was proud of this – it’s how I was taught to practice photography at university – to honour the art of working with the camera itself. But this was more about my lack of interest in digital arts and not wanting to spend any more time than necessary at the computer, because I’d rather be on location, shooting. At the end of the day, the client didn’t care whether I ‘got it right in the camera’ or spent hours Photoshopping – they just wanted great photos (and a great experience).
Knowing that the client’s number one interest was receiving photos of themselves that they loved, and that number two was enjoying and feeling uplifted by the experience of the photoshoot, I had to lead with this in my brand communication. Yet, so many ‘old school’ photographers miss this in their communications – even during the actual shoot, where they spend so much time fiddling with the camera and lighting that the client grows increasingly tired and nervous, ignored and waiting.
If you want your target audience to really listen when you introduce your work, think like a good photographer – think about their experience, not yours. That means keeping it short, clear and human – no fancy terms, no sales speak, no monologues or memorised sales pitch. Just say what you do, for whom, and to what end – that is, what it achieves for them. That’s all… then pause and allow for space for questions!