Like any other business development or marketing activity, our networking is most effective when it’s done regularly. A little, regularly works well. Bingeing, then nothing for weeks or months, doesn’t. But how often is ‘regular’?
No, be honest, are you??
Try to look at it from the point of view of your fellow networker. You are one of many people they’ll be chatting with. If you were them, would you want to hear long-winded answers to ‘What do you do?’ and other questions? Or succinct and interesting answers that are easy to understand, remember and pass on to others?
That’s why we MUST be short and succinct when we’re talking about our jobs and businesses/organisations. And it’s ok to practise this until you get sharper. That’s what you’ll notice with most current or past members of BNI (Business Network International) especially – all the practise of 60 second pitches has made them nice and sharp when it comes to summarising their businesses!
So when you’re asked – ‘What does your business do?’, don’t see this as an opportunity to talk forever and make a sales pitch. Instead, it’s an opportunity to let the other person know the name of your business, what the business does and your USP (Unique Selling Point. In other words, what makes you different from your competitors). And if the conversation goes on longer, try to always share the benefits you bring to your client.
Finally, always remember that when we’re networking we could be joined by others at any time. So don’t go into the long answer and risk never getting as far as sharing the key points!