Entrepreneur Networking Essentials: Part 2
- By Ysmay -
- Sep 05, 2012
Last week I discussed developing your introductory soundbite, which works off a simple framework (Who are you? + What do you do? + Where do you do it?). This little 10 second soundbite can lead to three potential responses:
• "Tell me more about your company."
• "Why did you decide to start a business?"
• "Are you a native to the area?"
This is where it starts to get tricky. People naturally begin to falter when more in-depth information is required from them, and they start to use fillers. Fillers are words like "uhm" "uh" "ah" that people use when their brain is searching for a response. It can take years of practice to break yourself of the impulse to use fillers, but you should. Fillers make you sound unprepared and can hurt your credibility. This is the last thing you want when you're trying to talk about your awesome new business.
Hopefully you spent some time working on variations of your introductory soundbite, and you have given some thought to the three most likely responses. Today we are going to look at the "tell me more about your company" response.
"Tell me more about your company."
Excellent! So far they're interested. Don't mess it up by babbling here. It's easy to go back to your company description. Odds are though your company description was written for your website or press kit which means it is about 10 times too long to be used at a networking event. Strunk and White said it best in their book "The Elements of Style": omit needless words. This is exactly what you need to do here, but don't be fooled; it isn't an easy task.
Take your notebook, your company description, and start scribbling. The formula for this soundbite is: Company name + company type/industry + what makes your company unique (your Unique Selling Proposition).
You know what makes your company unique, but articulating that quickly in a way others understand and find interesting can be very challenging.
Continuing with our Quambo PR example: Quambo PR is a public relations firm that specialises in corporate communications pertaining to industrial environmental disasters. We help companies communicate how the disaster happened, and how it's being handled, while neutralising media fallout.
Or: Quambo PR helps industrial companies in times of crisis. We are a public relations firm that handles corporate communications for industrial environmental disasters, while neutralising media fallout.
This is not the place to tell people that your company is dedicated to customer satisfaction. That will make you sound like you're selling something, and your listener will shut down.
Even though you already told them the name of your company during your introductory soundbite, it's important to state it again, but not too often! It is easy to overdo this. You don't want people to feel like you beat them in the head with your company name, but you also don't want them to walk away wondering what it is you do. Like most things in life, soundbites are about balance.
This soundbite can lead to responses like:
"How did you get into public relations?"
"Why corporate communications?"
"How do you neutralise media fallout?"
After you are satisfied with this soundbite, write down a few questions that you might ask if you were on the other side of the conversation.
Next time we will work on how to answer another common response to your introductory soundbite: "Why did you decide to start a business?"
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