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NETWORKING TIPS FROM THE "NETWORKING QUEEN"

Let me begin by explaining that “Networking Queen” was a title I was affectionately given by several peers over the past few years, who after seeing me at numerous networking events month after month, bestowed the title upon me.  I graciously accepted; who wouldn’t want to be called a “Queen”? 

When I first started working in marketing/public relations and attended my first networking event, I had never in my life had to give a 30-second “infomercial”.  I was so intimidated.  I don’t remember much about that first time other than I heard the buzzer go off indicating my time was done, and I remember thinking they were kidding – did I really have to stop talking and sit down?  Yes – they were serious – time’s up!!  I was embarrassed that I didn’t get to say everything I had prepared about my employer’s fabulous business.  Each time I attended another event, I learned to listen to the other attendees' infomercials and over time I perfected my own.  Here are my tips on infomercials, I hope you find them helpful.

Networking Tip #1 – Infomercials

  • Smile!

  • Start with your name, title and your company name.

  • Keep it short and simple – say what is MOST important.  You are NOT trying to tell people everything they need to know about you or your business in 20-30 seconds.

  • If you must read your infomercial because you’re new at your job – it’s okay – but it’s best if you can memorize something so you can look around the room as you give your infomercial.

  • Sound excited and enthused!  If you’re not excited about your business, no one else will be either.

  • If you attend weekly events, try to vary your infomercial from week-to-week, so you are giving new information.  For example, if you work for an assisted living facility, one week you can focus on the beauty of the facility, the next week you can talk about the great meals that are prepared for the residents, and the following week talk about the activities that the staff plan to keep the residents busy and engaged.

  • Don’t use terminology or jargon that only people in your field will understand.  Use everyday language to get your idea across.

  • Your goal is to get people to want to come up to you after the event and ask for more information or ask for your business card so they can follow up with you later.

  • If you can end with a unique slogan so people remember you, go for it!  

  • Practice, practice, practice!!  Practicing at home for your significant other, or just in front of a mirror several times until you have it down can be very helpful.  You want to get to where your infomercial comes natural – like talking about your favorite hobby.

  • If you flub it, don’t sweat it.  We’ve all done it!  Laugh at yourself, correct yourself and carry on! 

  • Keep it to the 30-seconds, or whatever time is being permitted.  Don’t be rude and exceed your allowed time.  If a buzzer goes off – stop immediately, say something like, “See me after for more information!  Thank you!” and sit down so the next person can have their turn.

  • Remember that if you start with a joke or tell a story of what happened on your way to the event that day – that all comes out of your 30-seconds.  You don’t get extra time for being funny.  Sorry, but true!