Networking is about meeting people you can do business with. The most common question asked at networking events is What Do You Do?
How you answer that question determines if you make a contact or simply get dismissed as another network bore. This may be your one chance with the person, so you want to make it count.
Here is a recipe for an enticing, sparkling response to this question that leaves them wanting more. You can "cook it up" differently each time, depending on what you think the person might want to hear.
- 1 Sentence about who you work with and what their problem or pain is
- 1 Sentence about what people receive from working with you
- 1-2 Questions such as: "You know when you do x and you feel y?" or "Do you know someone who...?"
- 1-2 Brief facts from your field of expertise, such as "Research shows that only 50% of employees are satisfied with their job."
- 1 Super short story of how you helped a client
- Get connected. After she asks what you do, look her in the eye, smile and make her feel that you are taking her into your confidence.
- Ask her a question that can be answered Yes or No. Such as "You know how it feels when you are trying to figure something out and you keep going around and around in your mind?" Or instead you can state a fascinating fact or say 1-2 sentences about a client of yours.
- Say what you are (e.g., Coach, Architect, IT security consultant) and what people get from working with you. It might sound like this, "As a coach, I listen to people in a focused way that allows them to find solutions to problems that have been bugging them for months."
- Then be quiet and wait for the person to respond. If you have done steps 1-3 well, the response might be, "How do you do that?" or "Tell me more."
- Ask for another meeting. Say, "Let's talk some more over coffee." Then give the person your business card and ask for her card.
- When you get back to your desk, follow up with a brief email asking if she would like to get together for coffee next week.