The other day, I was introduced to a man who, after hearing I was an executive recruiter and job search mentor, told me he'd been looking for a job for a long time.
"What do you do?" I asked.
"Um…I, um… work in technology, um… with XYZ Company, um… with um… computers." he replied.
No wonder he's having a hard time getting a job.
He hasn't practiced telling people what he does, and so no one knows how to help him with suggestions or referrals.
Of all people, I might have had some ideas for him. For him, this was a networking failure.
An unplanned networking intro often goes wrong.
If you're like me and the "um" guy, when you meet people, you sometimes get tongue tied or nervous and it comes out wrong. Afterward, you're smacking your forehead and thinking about what you should have said.
There is an easy solution: plan and practice what you're going to say in advance.
This introduction formula isn't just for job hunters. In the business world, a short intro is called an elevator pitch or elevator speech, named after the short time you might have between floors to impress a prospect you meet an an elevator.
The irresistible introdution or elevator pitch also works if you're looking for investors to back your new venture, or for people to interview for your thesis, or if you're just looking for a date.
A good introduction has three main qualities:
- it's brief and simple
- it's memorable and creates a visual image in their mind
- it plants the seeds for what you need without putting anyone on the spot
Write and Practice Your Own Inrresistible Intro
Here are the five easy steps to your own irresistible introduction:
1. Look them in the eye and smile.
People have to like you before they'll go out of their way to help you, and we all like people who genuinely smile at us as we meet.
2. Say something about where you are, and tie it to what you want to talk about.
Talking about the location or event will help them remember you tied to that place.
"This is my favorite coffee shop, and my favorite place to do research for my job search."
"This is my third TEDx event. The last one inspired the company I've just started with friends."
3. Describe yourself colorfully.
The more personality in your words, and the more they create an image of you doing what you do, the more memorable you will be. Speak simply, like you talk.
"Yeah, I'm one of those geeky programmers who sometimes stays up all night figuring out how to make things run faster on your mobile phone."
"I'm on a mission to be the funniest nurse in the world." (Who would forget that?)
4. Then tell them what you're looking for, but don't ask for anything.
"Today, I'm looking for people who might have suggestions of who should hire a genius mastermind mobile software developer." (This must be said with a twinkle in your eye, of course.)
"I'm a nursing grad student working on a study about how humor heals people, and I'm here looking for people who'd like to be involved in my project."
5. Ask them a question about your topic.
Ask a friendly, easy question that ties back to what you just told them about you. Don't make it personal; after all, you just met. Show you are genuinely interested in their answer.
"Do you have a favorite mobile app on your phone?"
"Have you ever heard of laughter therapy?"
Now, in less than 30 seconds, you've not only introduced yourself, but you've told someone what you're looking for, connected with them on a human level, and hopefully begun an interesting conversation that lets you talk about the thing you most want people to know about.
Of course, you'll need to show your interest in them as well, but you'd set the stage for the conversation you really want.
With these tips, next time you walk away from a networking encounter, instead of smacking yourself on the forehead, you'll be patting yourself on the back.
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