In Houston recently, I attended a networking event sponsored by the Houston Networking News, or HNN as they refer to themselves. What a high energy, fun luncheon it was.
Several factors made it a good event. It was well organized – many of the 45 or so attendees pre-paid, so no long line to get in the door. The event was at a very nice Italian restaurant, and the food was delicious. The event had an agenda. This time, instead of a speaker, the attendees all got more time to go around the room and indicate 1) who they are 2) what their company is, and 3) what makes a great referral for them.
Many people hung around afterwards to meet individuals who had introduced themselves. As an outsider, it was fun being there just to gauge the energy and process of a different group. I chuckled at the Elevator Pitch 101 mistakes that a few folks made which seem to universally happen – let me offer my short list of pet peeves.
1. If the organizer asks everyone to speak for one minute or less, those that go on and on, for 50% or more time are being disrespectful to the group, and it is not impressive to people.
2. Along with point 1, LESS is MORE. Instead of droning on and on about you, you, and more about you…. find a way to be interesting ore memorable. Studies show that we retain less than 20% of what we here… so after 45 people have stood up for a minute each – I guarantee that only those who said something speical will really stand out.
3. Smile and be enthusiastic when you speak – not tentative and unsure. If you need help with this, take a look at Toastmasters or Dale Carnegie. We want to refer others to people who are CONFIDENT and offer VALUE.
4. Avoid industry jargon – keep it simple
5. Speak loud enough and enunciate so that everyone in the noisy room can here you.
When you can – try out a new networking group – be it virtual or in person. What is the worst thing that could happen? You could make no connections. What is the best thing that could happen? New connections that could lead to new business, new partners, new vendors – the sky is the limit!