Recently, I was attending a networking event and we all stood in turn to give our 3-minute elevator speech: name, what you do, a good referral for you. As each person took their turn to speak, I realized that some of the same things that make a good presenter also make a good networker, and that the same techniques can be used for both.
Use the 3 C’s of Powerful Presenting and Networking the next time you are doing either one:
Connection: I redefined networking as connection a couple of years ago, and that has made a huge difference in how I approach it. My goal when I attend a meeting is not to build an awesome collection of business cards but to connect to a few people and have a meaningful conversation. When I work with my clients in targeted VIP sessions on presentation and delivery skills, one of the first things I talk about is connecting to your audience. Most of us have heard the advice to make eye contact with your audience and this is a great first step. To truly persuade people, you need to connect with them, and that means “having conversations” with individuals in the audience rather than just talking to an amorphous audience
Credibility: People buy from people they trust. And what is networking but
building relationships to start to create trust? When networking, nothing is a bigger turn off for most people that being sold to as soon as they are introduced to you. Take the time to actually have a conversation and ask questions about the other person and their business. People love to talk about what they are passionate about and providing space for that is one of the best ways you can build a relationship. Pro tip: this is a great technique for introverts! Presentations are also usually a way for us to persuade people to a course of action (selling your idea). While presenting, you start with automatic credibility – after all, someone asked you to speak to the group, so you must know your stuff. However, you can give your credibility credit away by being unprepared, not sticking to an established agenda or timeframe, reading your notes (rather than referring to them), among other credibility killers. In both networking and presenting, we can damage credibility as well as build it.
Confidence: Going into a room full of people you don’t know and starting a conversation with one or all of them can be terrifying, even for extroverts. Build your confidence with practice. The more you present and the more you network, the more comfortable and confident you will become. In a networking meeting, find someone else who looks lost or awkward – the worst that will happen is that you can be lost and awkward together! When presenting, pay attention to your posture: your mom was right, stand up straight, with your shoulders open and relaxed. Stand with your feet hip width apart and only move intentionally. LOOKING confident is half the battle! These three simple techniques will help you move past the fear and become a master networker and presenter. If you’d like even more assistance with your delivery or presentation skills, I can work with you in targeted one-on-one sessions to allow you to stand out from the crowd. Contact me for a complimentary Discovery Call to see how I can help.