I'm not a big fan of the official BNI/Chamber of Commerce style networking events.
I see them as something as a necessary evil if you want to establish a local presence so you need to know how to make more effective and better network presentations.
Everybody at the networking meeting wants to sell and nobody wants to buy.
The group I joined for 12 months were horrified when we were talking about attracting new members and I suggested inviting people who sell products and services we wanted to buy.
So I was interested to read How To Wake Up Your Audience At Your Next Networking Session on the Psychotactics blog.
It seems that you need to focus on two things:
- The problem
What you do blah, blah, blah doesn't work.
The other members don't listen.
They have tuned out.
Either thinking about what they are going to say in their presentation.
Or how to approach the visitor who fits nicely into their target market.
Or what they should be doing after the network event is over.
So stir things up and change the style of your presentation to make you stand out and to gain attention.
Find a gimmick.
But the gimmick won't keep attention...you have to communicate something worth listening to.
Talk about the problems you solve and tell a very quick story.
Imagine you are an IFA (independent financial adviser) and you want to promote your critical illness insurance.
Instead of boring the pants off people talking about the benefits of the insurance, tell a story of the successful business owner who was struck down with a severe illness and was unable to work. Explain how the business collapsed and how the bank called in the loan and caused him to sell his nice house under the personal guarantee.
And end by saying that it could have been very different, if only his IFA had told him about critical illness insurance and he'd bought a low cost policy.
Can you see that people will have bought into the story and even placed themselves in the position of the stricken business owner?
And can you imagine your networking members being eager to ask you questions about critical illness cover.
Of course some businesses are more suited to dramatic stories than others and even the most imaginative of us might run out of stories and scenarios on the weekly networking scene.
But wouldn't it be worth waking up your networking colleagues every four, six or eight weeks?
Thanks to Sean D'Souza of Psychotactics for the ideas, you can make better networking presentations if you focus on change and problem.