(1) Have An Elevator Speech
An ‘elevator speech’ is a clear and succinct message that communicates who you are and your value-add in a 30 second window; the average time frame of a typical elevator ride. The next time you run into your CEO in the elevator, you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to rehearse an articulate speech that harnesses the power of brevity. Don’t underestimate the impact of moments, a strong 30 second first impression can go a long way.
(2) Know Your Key Strengths
Having a clear understanding of what your top strengths are is critical for your personal brand and how you present yourself. Know what your strengths are and be able to concisely articulate them in a meaningful way showcasing the distinct value you bring to the table.
(3) Understand Which Role Elements Motivate You
Understanding and being able to convey the specific responsibilities or elements of a position that motivate you make for excellent talking points. Leaders value those who can precisely articulate their passions in a meaningful role-centric way.
(4) Know The Objectives Of Your Networking Opportunities
Having a clear idea in mind of what you would like to achieve from a networking connection will allow you to be more effective on multiple fronts. Don’t just know the objectives and the agenda for your networking meetings, own them. If your connection has taken time out of their schedule to meet with you, reciprocate that respect by coming prepared with questions and using your time well.
(5) Prepare 3-4 Open Ended Questions: Be Interested Not Interesting
Having a few open ended questions prepared in advance can be invaluable in dictating the narrative of a networking conversation around a subject matter you can speak intelligently about.
(6) If You’re In A One-On-One Meeting – Expect “Tell Me About Yourself” As The First Question
Having a concise and well practiced answer for the age old ‘so, tell me more about yourself…’ question will pay dividends in the long-run. Use this opportunity to present your elevator speech. By knowing your strengths and being able to articulate your value in a concise and meaningful way, you’ll be able to strategically position your brand in a favourable light where you’re leading the narrative.
(7) Watch Your Body Language, Tone, & Volume
Networking can happen anywhere, often in unexpected circumstances and venues. Always be mindful of your presence and be sure to adapt to the situation you’re in. While formal diction and tone is often well suited to a corporate event, it would be an ill choice for a casual conversation with a colleague at a baseball game. If in doubt, parallel your contact while being aware of your surroundings.
Closing The Conversation:
- End with a strong recap of what you learned
- If appropriate, ask if you could touch base again in a few months
- Ask if there is anyone else they would recommend you meet with based on what you spoke about
- Start small (with a friend) in a setting that is comfortable for you
- Always have at least three questions prepared ahead of time
- Make building strategic relationships something you build into the rhythm of your business