Technology is creating a new generation of teens and adults who believe the only effective communication is Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, & text messages.
I will be the first to admit you need to know how to use these technologies if you want to grow your business but even major online social forums are incorporating the use of “in person” networking events because of the advantages and power of in face to face communication.
Golden Rule of Advancement in Business: The better you can communicate on a professional level the better your chances for advancement; and verbal communication is the most important.
Companies are looking for people who can present their ideas, plans, and directions in an effective manner. Do you think Barack Obama got where he is today because of his text messaging skills? Whether verbal or nonverbal, let’s face it – communication isn’t optional.
If you are looking for a job – and the company is considering two or more qualified candidates – the one with the strongest communications skills has the better chance of getting the job. I see this daily. When companies are looking to hire sales people, those with the strongest verbal communications skills are the ones who make it to the short list for interviews.
This is not only true for sales but most other industries too. When a company is hiring some who has to deal with the public they will often pre-screen the candidates by phone before they invite them for an interview. If your resume is great but your communications skills are not good you’re not going to get an interview.
Why is this important? Think back to a teacher in school who really impacted your life. How did they communicate with you compared to all the other teachers in your school? Did they drone on in monotone, did they mumble when they spoke? I am willing to bet they were one of the most engaging teachers you had. They moved while speaking, they were expressive with gestures, they asked great questions, and they listened intently to your answers and wanted you to challenge their views.
People want to do business with people they like. The same holds true in your personal relationships. You have all heard the old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover”, unfortunately for everyone of us the biggest impact of our first face to face meeting is the judgments we all make based on what we see not what the other person says.
The second most important point to remember is when we do speak people are listening more to how we say things than just what we say. Your volume, tempo, pitch, rhythm and clarity are very important. If people have a hard time understanding you or find you speak in a mono-tone voice you will have trouble connecting with the other person.
The secret here is to remember “you never get a second chance to make a first impression”, however you need to go beyond just making a good first impression you must create a lasting impact.
Be Prepared! When you attend a networking meeting or even a social event you need to have a well thought-out, prepared and rehearsed introduction or elevator pitch. It should be no more than 30 to 60 seconds in length and briefly tell your listener what you or your business can do for your clients. What success have you created for others? It needs to be free of jargon and technical terms especially if the person is not from your industry or background.
When you prepare your introduction or elevator pitch, ask a friend or business associate to critique what you are saying. You want to make sure when you are finished the other person is not thinking “so what” or “I don’t care”. The goal is to have the other person thinking “tell me more”.
WIIFM – (What’s in it for me?) – The most powerful elevator pitches answer this question from your listener’s point of view. You are attempting to create a statement that can show how you or your company has solved a problem, filled a need or created a gain for your clients. If you can do that in your 30 to 60 seconds you will create more clients and more referrals.
Final Hint: If you belong to a group where everyone introduces themselves to the whole group before you break out to 1-1 networking session then I would like to leave you with one final idea. Always have a pen and paper ready when people are introducing themselves. When you hear from someone you want to meet immediately jot down their name and company so you can seek them out once the mixing & mingling starts. If you don’t get a chance to talk to them at the event you can look up the company and call them directly to introduce yourself. Often a personal call a day or two later will net better results than a few minutes of talking at a busy networking event.
If you would like more information on how to create your own unique value proposition for networking and business development I would be happy to send you a copy of; Creating Your Unique Value Proposition. Just send me an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send you a copy.
Robert J. Weese