Have you ever listened to someone’s long introductory sales pitch at a networking event and thought, please, don’t let me sound like that guy? Perhaps you’ve noticed superficial people at networking events and contemplated how to foster meaningful connections. Maybe you’ve asked yourself how on earth to follow up with all these new contacts without being a pest. Here are three networking strategies that have helped me face these challenges, courtesy of Beth Meixner of Moxxie Mentoring Foundation, Nancy Matthews of Women’s Prosperity Network, and Adrian Miller of Adrian’s Network.
Mastering the Elevator Pitch – Moxxie Mentoring Foundation
This is my third year as a mentee with Moxxie Mentoring Foundation, a Long Island nonprofit. In association with Moxxie Network, the Foundation provides structured mentoring and networking experiences to female college students and young professional women. Moxxie’s founder, Beth Meixner, advises all mentees to prepare ten-second, thirty-second, and two-minute elevator pitches, since you never know how much time you will have to tell your story.
Beth recommends slowly and clearly speaking your name, what your company does, and what you do for the company. Speak directly to your audience’s interest or you’ll lose them, she says. For example, she varies the focus of her pitch while addressing separate audiences such as men, women, or college students. Pitches to an audience of potential customers will differ from pitches to referral partners or potential employers.
Be “The One”: Women’s Prosperity Network
Nancy Matthews, founder of Women’s Prosperity Network, teaches and lives by The One Philosophy. Most of us have come across some networkers with a one-track mind for collecting business cards. Instead, Nancy’s philosophy recommends contemplating how you serve others in your business and how you might be “the one” for someone at a networking event. This might mean referring or introducing fellow networkers, providing resources, answering questions, offering words of encouragement, or doing whatever fellow networkers say they need in the moment.
Women’s Prosperity Network’s members span the globe. During its mastermind, coaching, and social events and phone calls, the major focus is to figure out how to be “the one” for someone at your table or on the call.
Follow Up with 3 I’s – Adrian’s Network
Adrian’s Network hosts multiple meetings per month for hundreds of members, most of whom live and work in NYC or Long Island. Follow-up is especially important when you may not see the same people at each meeting. As a sales trainer and founder of Adrian’s Network, Adrian Miller recommends the three I’s of follow-up:
These may lead to or supplement one-on-one meetings and opportunity calls. As you learn more about someone’s business, you may be able to provide information in the form of relevant industry articles. You can invite your networking contacts to events of interest, and maybe even offer a guest pass to an event. As you find out the types of people your contacts wish to meet, you can introduce them to people you know. You may also wish to set up a roundtable meeting involving you, your contact, and the person you want to introduce.
How Networking Skills Improve My Writing
For me, learning how to network has improved my listening skills and given me a better understanding of my clients’ perspectives. Conversations with people in all types of industries expand my general knowledge, providing ideas for blog posts, website content, and newsworthy angles I can use to approach journalists. I listen and ask questions that help me understand my networking contacts, just as I ask the deeper questions that immerse me in a client’s world.
I am grateful to Adrian Miller, Nancy Matthews, Beth Meixner, and many other members of the organizations they lead. I would also like to thank Ellen McDowell of Women’s Prosperity Network for providing the inspiration for this post.
Stay Visible, Get Noticed, Cut Through The Clutter
For more tips on staying visible to your networking contacts, register for my free, interactive marketing and public relations webinar.