Month: June 2014

Networking fundamentals: the Introduction

When you meet people – at either an informal one-on-one meeting or a formal group event – you need a way to introduce yourself.

Name badges

Cheesy? Not if you are promoting your brand!

Cheesy? Not if you are promoting your brand!

If this is a formal event, you likely had to check in at a registration table. Often, they will have blank (or pre-printed) name badges.

Wear one.

If the badge is pre-printed, then it is what it is.

If the badge is blank, you have the opportunity to use it to support your brand.

Use a Sharpie pen. Standard ink pens tend to write too narrowly to be easily seen from a distance of more than a couple of feet. You might get into the habit of bringing your own Sharpie.

Write your first and last name.

Then, you have a choice to either:

write your Company name, if you are attending a Chambe event, or are meeting with a client, or are othewise representing your company; or

write your Occupational goal (one or two words – not necessarily a Title, but what you want to do), if you are attending an Association event, or are conducting an Informational Interview for your job search.

Naturally, you can modify your name badge for different events. For example, for one event, I may be

Kevin Dumcum

Business Developer

or, for another,

Kevin Dumcum

Motivational Speaker

or,

Kevin Dumcum

Homeless Advocate

(Often, because most of my networking is for my company, I am

Kevin Dumcum

Company Name)

Any of these have sparked conversation, which is entirely the point.

Whatever you choose to include, write legibly, and write large enough to be readable.

How to wear a name badge

Wear the name badge on the right side of your chest. As you extend your right hand, your body slightly turns. The other person takes your hand, and their eye rises up your right arm to the name badge on your chest. If you had put the name badge on your left side, the other person would have to look across your body to your name badge, a slightly awkward movement, for them and for you.

The handshake:

Web to web, two humps, and LET GO!

Extend your right hand (unless you or the other person have a legitimate reason you cannot).

Grasp their right hand with the web of your hand (between the thumb and forefinger) against the web of their hand.

Close your fingers around their hand. Be firm, but not too firm.

Two pumps, say your name, and say their name.

“Kevin Dumcum. Charles? Nice to meet you.”

And please, for the love of all that is good, LET GO(!!) after two pumps.

Don’t be overly familiar, or overly wimpy, or overly creepy with your handshake.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I want to hear from you. Connect with me on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter, or leave a comment below, and let me know what you think!

Four elements of an Elevator Speech

I have established that networking is not about meeting as many people as you can. Networking is about creating added-value relationships.

Still, to create a relationship, you have to meet people.

And when you meet people, you have to have an introduction.

Thus, the Elevator Speech (or Sales Pitch, or 30-second Biography…).

Elevator Speech - what you can say in the time it takes to take an elevator ride

Elevator Speech – what you can say in the time it takes to take an elevator ride

A successful Elevator Pitch should be:

Short – no longer than 30-seconds.

Focused – stick to one topic.

Practiced – not something that you come up with on the spot; otherwise, it risks being neither short nor focused.

The basic elements of a decent Elevator Pitch for job seekers are:

Who you are.

Speak slowly and enunciate so the other person can hear and understand.

Smile and say your name.

Do not hand them your business card or resume! Keep those in your pocket / briefcase / portfolio (for now, at least).

What occupation you are targeting.

Own it. It is not what you want, but what you are. “I am a…,” not, “I am looking for an opportunity as a…”

Keep it forward-looking. Spend no time talking about what you no longer can or want to do.

Keep it focused to one occupation only. As soon as you say, “I also…,” you have lost your audience.

Why you should be considered.

What are the perhaps two special qualifications that you can share that will differentiate you from everyone else who wants to do what you want to do? Do you have a relevant degree and/or certification? How many years’ experience do you have?

Review your STAR stories (you have already created five to seven STAR / Achievement stories), pick a positive Result, and work it into your Elevator Speech.

What you are targeting / what are the next steps.

Here, your phrasing depends on with whom you are speaking:

  • If you are speaking to a hiring decision maker, try something like, “How do you see someone who has my qualifications fitting into your organization?”
  • If you are speaking with someone who is not in your target industry, then say, “I am targeting [THREE OR FOUR SPECIFIC COMPANIES], and would appreciate any assistance you can give.”

Again, practice your Elevator Speech so you can say everything you need to say in 30 seconds. You will know that you nailed when they ask you follow-up questions.

I’ll expand on each of these elements in future posts.

Success doesn’t come to you. You go get it.

I want to know what you think. Please connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn, or leave a comment below.