It’s not just when we stand up to speak in public – getting our message across.

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Another networking event: another example of how tricky people find it to talk about their business. For every person who was clear and confident about their introduction, there were others who were wary, nervous and even embarrassed about speaking to the group. I wonder what it is about about the question, ‘What is it you do?’ or ‘Tell us about your business’ that poses such a dilemma?

This is something I come across a lot in the work that I do. While attending networking might be only a small part of the way you tell people about your products and services, the way that we need to think about clarity and confidence also applies to all those other ways we get our message out there – emails, website, social media, seminars and events. When we get our sixty second introduction right we can also get our core message right for every platform where we aim to reach out and make a connection with our ‘audience’.

I have been doing a lot of work just recently with companies in crafting their business and personal story on line and face to face (one to one and groups). In particular we have been turning the typical informational approach of broadcasting a message on its head. Instead we have been looking at the business as a story. Considering the value and impact of the personal story to demonstrate values and beliefs. Thinking about the client’s/customer’s story that might have brought them to the point of wanting to connect with you (and buy your services).

Apart from learning some amazing stories along the way, there are some key observations I would make:

  1. There is always a story. Even people who start off saying, ‘there’s nothing interesting about me/my business’ usually uncover something that makes them stand out and sets them apart from others. Whether that is a decision they once made, something that happened to them or a light bulb moment they had. Think about pivotal moments you have had in the journey that got you to this point. Rather than thinking linearly about your story, think of key moments instead. It will uncover patterns and areas of interest that sometimes get lost in all the day to day bus-y-ness of life.
  2. What’s the meaning? Facts and statements without meaning or interpretation are…well, put frankly, boring. And that’s what people often focus on in their introductions, their websites and materials. It is the meaning that I put to a situation or the interpretation I give a moment that gives its energy and life. And it is that energy and life that makes that all important connection with the listener/reader/browser…So if you’ve created a new product…what does that mean? About your approach, your customers, the industry? If you have taken on new staff, how can you interpret this? Is it a sign of growth and a realisation of business goals?  Is it supporting clients even better than before?  Take those key pivotal moments and ask yourself, ‘What does this mean? What’s the implication/impact?’. This is the bit that will resonate with your audience and stay with them longer than the facts by themselves.

We learn so much more about people and businesses and even services or products once they are cloaked in ‘story’.  And it is so much easier to tell people what we do when we can take them on a journey.

Perhaps a different approach to delivering our networker introductions can help us not only to keep everyone’s attention  and help us feel more confident) at a networking event but also in crafting our messages across all our business platforms.

What’s your story? I would love to hear back from you. And make sure that you sign up for Speech Bubbles , weekly inspiration for your presentations.

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