How many times have you had to introduce yourself at a business networking event? What do you say when people ask you ‘what do you do?’ Do you know how to answer them in a way to encourage questions? Creating a great business networking introduction is critical to encouraging conversation. This post is created jointly with our sister business, Business Action Networking.
Start with why
Many people have heard of Simon Sinek and his ‘start with why’ TED talk. I love the concept of this, but I find the execution can be a little bit off. There is a 5 minute video by Lukas Gilkey that I like. It’s combination with the Simon Sinek talk delivers an interesting perspective on introductions or the elevator pitch (pitching in the time it takes to ride an elevator). What I like about the Lucas Gilkey video is the fact it adds a real question. Simon Sinek ends his with ‘Wanna buy one?’ and I don’t think it’s the right thing to say when you’ve just met someone. You’ve lead with your why, then maybe a how, and a tiny bit of what. Adding a question ‘Wanna buy one?’, I don’t think so. Rather you want to encourage further conversation.
Introductions have different purposes and a different length based on whether they are one on one or pitched to a networking group or a meeting introduction. If doing a large group introduction such as a networking event, I suggest the following layout.
Firstly start with a ‘yes’ question. A question which will almost always be answered by a yes with the group of people you are speaking to. It gets them thinking on your wavelength, and thinking maybe this is worth listening to. Next say your name and your business name clearly. Then briefly launch into the Simon Sinek idea of your why, maybe your how and a little of your what.
Repeat your name
Always repeat your name and your business name again, because people may not have taken notice at the start, but may be interested at the end, and don’t want to be embarrassed by not being able to remember who you are. So always end with your name, and if you have some more time up your sleeve, then we can add in a couple of extra little features.
Expanding the introduction for a longer pitch
A great addition is to talk about a recent case study. A recent client you assisted who may be similar to the people you are talking to at the event. This can be extremely effective, but keep it succinct. Remember you want to encourage conversation afterwards. So briefly explain the challenge, the action and the result. You may be surprised, but you can actually do this in a few sentences.
Expanding on the why you went into business can also be a good one. Otherwise use a couple of key, maybe unexpected words. For instance, Lou Szymkow uses a catchy phrase that always generates a few laughs from attendees. Lou says he ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’. What does this mean? He’s a life celebrant performing naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.
End with a question
Finally, even for the shorter versions end with a question. This time a question making the audience think, or challenging them. This is the best way to get clients to come and talk to you with a business networking introduction.
Coming soon an online course – Creating a great business networking introduction
Look out for our creating a great introduction course with workbook coming very soon to our site. If you’d like to be one of our beta testers for this new course online, please get in touch and we’ll send you a link. You’ll need to provide feedback and a review should you wish.
This blog was written by our Founder Jane Tweedy.
Jane is currently a Business Connect Advisor part-time for NSW small businesses in Western Sydney (especially Blacktown and The Hills), and Founder and Lead Trainer of FAQ Business Training. Outside NSW Jane can offer remote business advice and some business consulting through FAQ Business Consulting. Please contact Jane here.
About FAQ Business Training
FAQ Business Training has a mission to educate and empower small business owners to learn to do it yourself (DIY) or outsource with confidence, through topical and practical bite sized training. We provide face to face training in Western Sydney and will be providing online training through Udemy and our own Teachable platform soon.