Face-to-face Networking – step #3 (ME)

29th March 2022

This is the third in our series of four Tips about face-to-face networking.

Quick reminder – the four steps of a networking conversation are:

  1. IN – get into the conversation – see that tip here
  2. THEM – ask them questions – see that tip here
  3. ME – talk about yourself – see below
  4. OUT – get out of the conversation

So, after the previous two weeks, we’ve got IN the conversation, and asked wonderful questions about THEM.

And now, of course, they ask us "what about you – what do you do?"

So, how to respond? How to be interesting? Relevant? Worthy of their time?

The good news, only two words matter:

  1. AFTERs
  2. Stories

In other words:

  1. Your first sentence (often called your Elevator Pitch) focuses on the AFTERs you cause – in other words, why people are better-off AFTER you’ve done your work
  2. The second contains a story, evidencing the AFTERs you’ve delivered

#1 AFTERs sentence

Don’t say your job title (“I’m an accountant”) or key deliverable (“I prepare tax returns”) – it isn’t interesting.

Instead, focus on why people are better-off AFTER you.

Better still, because you already discovered what the other person is interested in (from Step #2), tailor your AFTERs to what they said.

For example, if I discovered I was talking with a salesperson, I might say "I help large companies sell more than they thought possible".

Or if I’m talking to someone who’s just told me they’re short of time, it might be "I help people save lots of time, by communicating with more impact".

When you say something like this, they will ask a question about it – "What do you mean? How do you do that?". Which leads to…

#2 Stories

…the best way to respond is to tell them a story of where you’ve done it previously – "Well, for example, I recently worked with a large bank, and helped them win over £5million of new sales".

People then always ask "how did you do that?", and we are now talking about the AFTERs I cause, by using a real-life example which proved I deliver them.

More interesting for them.

More comfortable for me.

And much more likely to lead to a relevant, valuable discussion for us both.

Action Point

Simple! Before you go networking:

  • AFTERs – write your Elevator Pitches – create a few, so you can tailor them to who you’re speaking with
  • Stories – identify your best success stories –ones that prove you deliver these AFTERs
  • And, for lots more tips on networking

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