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Power Networking Ideas

This month at JMS we are going to be focusing on networking and relationship building. Feedback I routinely receive says that most people struggle with the basics of getting out and doing effective networking.

During November, we are going to:

  • Hear from several great speakers about their tried and proven methods of building a better networking experience.
  • Look at effective tactics for handling various individual or group situations.
  • Try to reduce the “oh my gosh” factor.
  • Help you be more comfortable with networking.
  • Beef up the ways to identify better networking targets.

In preparation for this, I want to clarify some information about the classic “elevator pitch”. If you have been at JMS for a while, you have heard me say I hate the 10-30 second “elevator pitch”. I have been campaigning all over my LinkedIn network recently to both spread this word and entertain feedback.

Here’s the result.

  1. Most respondents agree totally with my claim that the “pitch” needs to be killed, especially when speaking one-on-one. I’ve received an overwhelming consensus that – “ding dong, the pitch is dead!”.
  2. However, there is room to consider what you will say when asked to stand in front of the group and say SOMETHING. Here is where a great two line statement comes in with a BANG! We’ve been talking about personal branding. If you can say your value proposition in two sentences, you will dazzle any small group.

So, all of that said, here is a revision to the JMS “policy” on elevator pitches.

  1. When engaged in person with another networking person, i.e. one-on-one (or OK, two-on-one), try to build rapport with simple dialogue. Ask questions. Let the spotlight land on the other person(s). Just offer small bits of your story; enough to prompt further dialogue. Let them ask you questions. The goal is to make a connection; relate to the person. Offer help and ideas. Demonstrate your worth with content of discussion, not boilerplate junk.
  2. Work to prepare a solid two sentence message that speaks of the solution you will bring, not the case history of the road you have travelled. Leave the listeners wanting to know more. Be memorable, but be brief and to the point.