Sky has noticed a few subtle signs that Lucy might be looking forward to her weekend. But why is this? Why should weekends be any more fun than weekdays? What if your “work” was as much fun as your weekends?
Whilst this is called “Pink Hair Moments” it’s not just about her hair. Lucy has pink hair in bunches. Don’t ask me why – it’s how I drew her years ago without really thinking why. Her hair is part of who she is. It reflects her personality, her quirky weirdness. It gives me licence to send her on mad adventures and wherever she goes, she is instantly recognisable. For a stick figure, she stands out (and with just a circle for head and a few lines for a body, that is no mean feat).
Her hair is just an expression of her personality. It is her personality which draws people to her, or puts them off. And putting people off is fine too. I was talking to Lee from Welshot Imaging at a conference, where I was speaking on “How to be Unforgettable”. She said this fantastic line:
“I want to learn to be me, without putting anyone off“.
Oh, how I feel the tension in that phrase. I was gentle with her and asked her “Which one did you really want, Lee?” Because by being herself, she was going to put some people off, and that is okay.
Not everyone likes me. I once delivered a high energy talk on Inspiration (my titles have improved since those days), and someone during the break said “Are you always like this? I would find it exhausting” That put me in my place! My website has pink and purple. A fellow speaker once cautioned me that it was too “girly”. Word Up – I am girly. I like pink and purple. I like quirky. I am marmite. I tried changing to attract more clients and I just got lost in the crowd.
So here I am. Proud to be pink, proud to draw Lucy and being “paid to play” (my new definition of work).
Anyway, back to the idea in hand….
How can you make your weekdays as much fun as your weekends?
When you go networking, you might get carried away. Finally a chance to talk about you and your incredible business idea. The trouble is, that networking is not about you. It is about creating relationships.
Yes, you know a great deal about your business and how you started, what you love about it and so on. The trouble is that most people aren’t terribly interested in listening to your entire life story, particularly not the first time they meet you. Think: ‘appetiser’, not ‘all you can eat’. Get them interested and curious, not stuffed!
Are You Waffly UnVersatile?
- You keep talking after your time is up
- You tell people the entire history of your company
- You feel like you’ve only just warmed up after 10 mins
- People tend to drift away for coffee or the toilet
- People start to check their watches every few words
- You don’t remember what anyone else said
- Those listening to you glaze over or look confused
The best networkers are listeners. They listen to people. They listen to hear ideas, to hear about problems. They listen for joint ventures or possible referral partners. They listen to do valuable research into their target market.
Cut to the Chase
During general networking (not the timed element), you only want to tease those listening. If they are interested, they will say “tell me more!” You want to say something like “I help people to save thousands of pounds a year on their mobile phone bills.” Or “I help people who want to get more clients but who hate cold calling.” Nothing else, unless you are asked.
During any timed networking elements, where you have between 40 and 90 seconds to talk about your business, you need to be concise. BEFORE you go, time your pitch. If it is too long, cut it down. It shows a total lack of respect for other people on your table in your group if you keep talking after the time is up. You had your chance, now shut up!
Your answer should be simple. If you need notes, then how will anybody ever refer business to you? It needs to be simple enough that someone who has heard it just ONCE can remember the key points and pass them onto someone else. Think Chinese Whispers.
You need to be able to explain in simple terms what you do. However obvious it seems to you, most of us don’t have a clue what job titles mean. So put it in terms a 12 year old child would understand: simple, succinct and obvious. Talk about:
- The sort of problems you solve. A plumber solves leaking pipes – how would we know to phone you? What would we be experiencing/ seeing/ hearing?
- The sort of clients you want – what sort of people are most likely to need your services? And NO, it’s not “anyone who breathes”
- A success story that clearly illustrates why the person hired you, what you did (in a few sentences) and the impact it had on your client.
Ideally you want them to know more about you than your job title/ website URL. If they have a clear picture of the people you help, you are much more likely to receive a recommendation from them.
As Mr Network Andy Lopata says ….
“It’s not just who you know, but what they say about you”
However much you want to build your business, when you are networking the focus shouldn’t be on YOU….
If you find yourself in the spotlight at a networking event, then beware – because it’s not your chance to show off or dazzle others with your brilliance.
- You talk about the awards you have won
- You actually bring awards with you to show them off
- Your favourite word is “me”
- You never ask questions about anyone else
- You interrupt people
- You don’t listen when other people talk
- You talk for longer than your allotted time, by a mile
- You boast about your clients or your income
- You’re constantly checking for more interesting or new peeps to bore about how wonderful you are
Brian Butcher (of the Fruit Tree) talks about networking as “creating a network of trusted advocates to keep me in business.”
So it’s not all about me, me, me: it’s about us, us, us.
How to Shine without Dazzling
If you want to make friends and influence people in all the right ways at networking events, think about turning the spotlight onto the people you meet:
- Give people your full attention when they are talking: turn your phone off!
- Ask questions to find out more about them and be genuinely curious about what they say
- Remember people’s names and use it to introduce them to other people
- Sing the praises of people you know and their amazing business
- Ask people about things they said the last time you met – they will be amazed you remembered
Giving Your Best
You will be amazed at what you’ll learn if you shut up and listen at a networking event. People will easily share their problems with you (great market research) and even if you can’t solve that problem yourself, you may just know someone who can.
- Recommend people or products that can help their business to grow
- Share articles that relate to something they said when you met – imagine the impact of an email saying “last time we met you said… and I saw this article and thought of you”
- Suggest other networks to attend that might suit their target clients or their niche
“To listen well is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well”