Think back to the last time you met new people at a business gathering, networking event or social function. How clearly do you remember those you met? Do you remember their names? Can you recall what they look like, what they do for a living, how they like to spend their leisure time or even how they came to be in the same room as you?
The ones you don’t remember seem to have faded into the background, don’t they? They are probably terrific people but for whatever reason the conversations you had with them, the stories they told or their personality and demeanor weren’t compelling enough to be memorable. As a result, you won’t hire them, refer them to others or even call for a follow-up cup of coffee. When it comes to starting a relationship with you, their networking efforts didn’t amount to anything.
On the other hand, you may have met someone recently who stands out in your mind for all the right reasons. Maybe he told a fascinating story, seemed passionate about his hobbies or work, or made all those around him feel good about themselves.
Does Your Introduction Make You Memorable?
Now look at things from the other side – are YOU compelling and memorable? Many attorneys, by way of introduction, simply tell people, “I’m a lawyer.” Ugh! Boring and forgettable. If the people you meet forget you within minutes, how successful are your networking efforts likely to be?
Like it or not, first impressions are still important. Since the aim of networking is to make and deepen worthwhile business and social connections with others, it’s important to think and plan ahead about how you want to introduce yourself.
Your Introduction Starts with this Key Question
Ask and answer this question in advance to ensure that your introduction makes people sit up and take notice:
What do you want your new contacts to be saying about you when the interaction is over? In other words, what would you like prospective clients, referral sources or friends to be telling their own colleagues and friends about you? Remember that they won’t be telling anyone anything unless your introduction piques their attention.
Things to consider, among others:
- Your demeanor, attitude, personality or character. Are you funny? Serious? Kind? A good listener?
- What you do professionally and the problems you solve (your specialty area).
- Whom you serve and how you help them. For example, who is an ideal client for you?
- What you are passionate about both in and out of the office. People want to know about you personally, not just professionally.
Once you have identified precisely what you’d like others to be saying about you, make yourself a “cheat sheet” containing the important points and review your list frequently, especially prior to occasions when you’ll be meeting new people.
Don’t recite your list to people as if you were a disembodied robot. Instead, become so comfortable with talking about the things on your list that you are able to comfortably and seamlessly weave them into conversations when appropriate. You’ll come across as interesting, confident and passionate about your legal practice, clients, causes and hobbies. And that’s something worth remembering.
Part 1 of the Craft Your 1-Minute Introduction Series clarifies why you need to stop telling people you are a lawyer or risk wasting your networking efforts.
Part 3 of the Craft Your 1-Minute Introduction Series identifies the business-killing assumption you are making and what to do about it.
Part 4 of the Craft Your 1-Minute Introduction Series outlines 7 simple ways to spice up your introduction so people listen to you, remember you and call you.