31 May 2010

Introduce yourself to your grandmother

An essential part of networking is introducing yourself to others.
This is often described as the very first part of the networking process, "Know Me" (Read more about this in Penny Power's book "Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me")

Introducing yourself might sound simple and easy but often isn't that simple at all.
As professionals in our trade we are used to talk to peers, customers and suppliers in our own industry. Typical tech-talk or jargon for your industry automatically slips into most conversations.

It's very important that you train yourself to be able to introduce yourself without using tech-talk or jargon at all. To make this even more clear :
Try to imagine that you would introduce yourself to your grandmother and she really needs to understand every single word you say.

I have read some books stating you need to introduce yourself in under 30 seconds, but I think that's cutting it a bit short. A professional 2 minute introduction is still very polite and can contain all the necessary information. Two minutes is the maximum time it takes an elevator to travel from the ground floor up to the penthouse of the investor ... dixit the "Elevator Pitch".

These are the essential parts of your introduction :
- Who are you ?
- What's your professional activity ?
- What exactly is the problem that you can solve ?
- What is the value that you can bring to your clients ?

If you are introducing yourself at a networking event, you might want to add a few extras to include the 'now' :
- What are you working on right now ?
- What are you looking for right now ?
- How can people help you right now ?

Last but not least :
Always network as a person. If you network as a company you will loose your entire network whenever you leave that company !

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