Have you heard this?
“Now we are going to give you an opportunity to network and we’ll meet back here at (such and such at time).”
If you’ve been to a convention or Expo or any big event, you’ve no doubt heard something like this.
UGH…the dreaded N word. NETWORKING.
Does that word bring up as many ill feelings for you as it does for me?
You may find that you, like me, need to replace the word “networking” for something that sheds more light on what’s really going on.
Do you like stories? I believe we all do.
My son, Samuel is always asking for one more story. “Just one more, pweeese, Mommy?” Whether it’s from a book or one of my made up “Billy Bob (the brown bear)” stories, he can never get enough.
We, like children, are captivated by stories.
What makes a great movie that people throng to at the theater? What makes a moving, tear jerking play? What makes you laugh or makes you listen to the same song over and over – the STORY!
Stories will quiet the loudest of rooms, win the hearts of children and adults alike.
One famous speaker who won the World’s Greatest Speaker several years ago said this about successfully giving speeches:
Tell a story. Make a Point. Tell a Story. Make a point. Tell a story. Make a point. That’s how you win.
So, what if I said, “Now we are going to give you an opportunity for Story Time and we’ll meet back here at (such and such at time).”
Woohoo!! I wonder what it will be about?! I can’t wait to hear it!
That is how to turn your loathe of networking into LOVE of networking AND how to make your networking more productive. But, HOW exactly?
3 Steps to More Productive Networking….
STEP 1: Be approachable.
SMILE, big and often. Have a good time!
In fact, wear a name tag with a smiley face on it like Paul Schmidt of Schmidt & Co Painting here:
Be warm and friendly!
Be the person everyone wants to be around. Make the even about other people and try to help them have fun. How? Read on to STEP 2.
STEP 2: Get others to tell their STORY.
This can be done several ways, but I highly recommend Bob Burg’s Top Ten Feel Good Questions to get people to open up and share their story.
Here they are:
- “How did you get your start in the widget business?”
- “What do you enjoy most about your profession?”
- “What separates you and your company from the competition?”
- “What advice would you give someone just starting in the widget business?”
- “What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?”
- “What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?”
- “What do you see as the coming trends in the widget business?”
- “Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business?”
- “What ways have you found to be the most effective for promoting your business?”
- “What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business?”
As Bob will tell you, you probably won’t even need all 10.
More than likely, just three will get to you a good story or a connection point with the other person where you can “hit it off” and have a great time hearing their story.
What if they ask, “What about you?” Read on to STEP 3.
STEP 3: ONLY when asked, tell your story.
The first part of this is so critical. ONLY when they ask – and they may not – tell them about your business with a story.
If they ask, “What do you do?” Use a story to tell them.
“Have you ever had a contractor in your home doing work? Well, for Ms. Jones, she felt the same way you just described.
We met for a free estimate and by the time we were done with the project, she invited us for a BBQ are her home.
See, we sell an experience like no other, where our clients love to have our crew in their home- many becoming like family – and of course, get the job done with excellence in craftsmanship, too.”
Use the stories of the people’s whose lives you’ve touched with your work, do the talking.
All of this takes practice, so make sure you get to at least 3 networking…errr…Story Time sessions 😉 per week, if you can.
So, what’s your story? Please share how you got started in the business in the comments below.