To stand out or to blend in – that is the question- A quick guide for professionals in navigating The Networker Introduction

imagesI met a solicitor the other day at a recent networking event. We were chatting about how to use the 60 second  introduction ( sometimes known as the Creeping Ivy or Networker Introduction) to best advantage. She was relatively new to networking and as a family divorce lawyer she was aware that the service she offered was usually only needed in extreme and often traumatic circumstances. She found it difficult to introduce what she considered a ‘negative’ topic into the positive arena of the networking event.  Her choice then had been to talk generally about her legal practice.

I suggested to her that this isn’t always the most helpful strategy and might even have an unintended, negative impact on how she (and her practice) might be viewed.  Here are three of my reasons:

1. Talking in generalisations means you don’t stand out.  As it happens there were other solicitors in the room that day. Two different companies, offering similar services, both sounding exactly the same.  If you don’t stand out , you blend in. And if your purpose of networking is to raise your profile, start connections and build relationships, blending in just won’t hack it.

2. Avoiding the issue means you lose out on making a real connection and resonating with potential clients, advocates and ‘raving fans’.  In fact, when I asked this solicitor in her professional experience, how many of the attendees were likely to have had some experience of divorces and family breakdown, she reckoned on 50%.  So, talking to them about divorce and the legal implications and support needed was absolutely relevant for her to highlight and would have won her many engaged listeners.

3. By talking about her company she neatly deflected attention away from herself and onto an anonymous, corporate body. But she lost out on that human interest factor that creates and build relationships.  I realised speaking with her one to one, that here was a competent, friendly, committed professional – but that hadn’t necessarily come through in her introduction. The more she can let her personality shine through, the more ‘attractive’ she will be to the listeners (who may well be her future clients and advocates of her business)

If you are a professional and would like to know more about how to get better at introducing your business in networking situations, contact Catherine on catherine@catherinesandland.com or call on 07946604859.  She works one to one and can come into your organisation or partnership to deliver bespoke training events.

 

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2 Responses to To stand out or to blend in – that is the question- A quick guide for professionals in navigating The Networker Introduction

  1. Ruth Thomas November 25, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    Great advice!

    • Catherine Sandland November 25, 2013 at 11:49 am #

      Thanks Ruth. I think the short ‘ what do you do?’ networker introductions can be tricky. The key I think is to think of your audience first rather than what you want to say…

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