“First impressions count,” is a saying I’m sure you’re familiar with. So, with the microphone poised at your lips and everyone’s eyes on you for the next 45 seconds – what you say next matters if you want to make the RIGHT impression.
Do any of the five things mentioned below and you risk the chance of leaving a wrong impression with people who could have been potential clients, referral and/or joint venture partners.
Through my weekly podcast – The Ambitious Entrepreneur Show and having attended numerous networking events over the years, I’ve heard hundreds of business owners introduce themselves.
With the potential to open up lots of opportunities, you’d think they would have planned and rehearsed what they were going to say so they could confidently explain who they were, what they did, and the solutions/outcomes they could provide, therefore leaving a memorable impression.
Sadly, often times – that was not the case.
Their introductions were memorable all right – but for all the wrong reasons.
Here are the five things they did that you DON’T want to do the next time you stand up to introduce yourself at a networking event:
1. You ramble on
Forty-five seconds can seem like a lifetime for people in your audience if your introduction is not structured and you ramble on and on.
This will often happen when people don’t take the time to think about what they want to say beforehand, so they end up rambling during their allotted time frame, resulting in a confused audience.
Don’t just ‘wing it’ – plan out what you want to say and practice, practice, practice saying it out loud.
Preparation is key.
2. You use jargon
While you may be excited about the modalities you use in your practice, or the latest and greatest things going on in your industry, or how proud you are of the certifications you hold – because we’re not in your line of work we have no idea what you are talking about.
At one networking event, I remember one Life Coach rattling off a list of modalities she used with clients as well as other industry-related jargon.
Looking around the room I could see people’s eye glazing over. They had no idea what she was talking, so they switched off.
Some of the other businesses in the room could have been potential referral partners, however because they had no idea what she did or how she could support clients – the opportunity was lost.
Don’t lose potential opportunities by using jargon. When you’re explaining things, please keep it simple, and use language we can understand.
3. You speak softly
Typically in a networking event you’re in an open space with numerous people so the acoustics in the room is not going to be great.
You need to project your voice so we can hear you. Even if you have a microphone, please speak into it clearly and at a level that we can hear you.
I’ve been in a room where a person still spoke softly into the microphone and the people close to her still struggled to hear most of her introduction.
Project your voice.
4. You make excuses and/or apologise
Ever heard someone say “I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to prepare anything,” “I forgot my notes,” or some other excuse?
Similarly you may hear people begin their introduction with an apology. “I’m sorry for being unprepared – please forgive me,” or “I’m sorry I’m so nervous – I really dislike speaking in public,” “I hope I don’t bore you to tears with what I’m about to say,’ or some other reason.
If you do this too, sadly, you’ve just undermined your credibility. The audience is more likely going to be listening out for when you make the mistake, or how soon you’ll start to bore them.
Never start your introduction with an excuse or apology.
Be proud of who you are and the services you offer. Prepare and practice your introduction so you can confidently share this information with the audience.
5. You’re not specific enough
If you’re not clear on your ideal client, how you can help them and your introduction is too broad it’s going to be difficult for your audience to understand what you do.
The more specific you are about WHO you serve, HOW you support them (i.e. the solution you offer), and the OUTCOME they can expect – the more likely you will get referrals.
Here’s an example. See which one stands out for you:
(A) “I work with mid-management sales executives in developing powerful career marketing documentation so they can get noticed, hired and paid what they’re worth when positioning themselves for senior-level sales positions.”
(B) “I’m a career coach and professional resume writer helping people achieve their career goals.”
Which do you think is better? A or B?
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Question: Which out of A & B (above) sparks your attention? What is it about the introduction that stands out ? What other DON’TS do you have to share with others so they avoid becoming memorable for the wrong reasons? Leave your comments below.