I am not a gregarious person (oftentimes I am just content to be a wall flower observing everybody) so networking events require tremendous effort on my part. The most difficult portion for me is the introduction; I always have difficulty in introducing myself.
Joanne Black’s “No More Cold Calling” book mentions that studies have shown that
“the number one skill for success in the twenty first century is the ability to talk to other people. If we don’t connect with others, there is really no next step: no referrals, no job offers, no promotions, no alliances. In the first ten seconds, you have to intrigue people enough that they will say, “Tell me more.” The only goal of your initial interaction is to have the next interaction. Period.”
So what should be the right introduction that will generate interest from other parties and avoid uncomfortable silences or worse, the other person leaving the room?
Ms. Black recommends that your 10-second or less introduction should be succint, compelling and have a hook. Better yet if the hook can make the other person smile. Below is an example of a poor introduction spiel made by an IT professional while explaining what he does for a living:
“I help companies maximize their ROI on strategic IT and product initiatives through financial planning modeling and logical system modeling.
A mouthful, eh?
To make this spiel more interesting, Ms. Black asked the IT professional what he loved with his job. And he came up with “I help people solve tough problems in tough times” — which is infinitely more interesting than the staid intro above.
Here are some of her other examples:
Health insurance: I make body maintenance more affordable.
Attorney: I make sure you don’t get lost in the fine print.
Caterer: I cater to the needs of party animals.
Meeting planner: I relieve stress better than a martini.
Office Systems: I bring people from the dark ages to the digital age.
Interesting, isn’t it. Now allow me to write my opening spiel …