Do you have a need to introduce yourself at a business networking event? Would you like to have a great response to when people ask you ‘what do you do?’ Would you like people to hear your introduction and ask you more questions? In this blog we cover some key pointers into how to make business introductions which will encourage conversation. This post is created jointly with our sister business, FAQ Business Training.
Open with a yes question
Rather than jumping straight to your name and business name, consider asking a question the audience is highly likely to say yes to (especially if they are, or know, your ideal client). This sparks immediate interest and will encourage the audience to tune in to the introduction.
Start with why
Many small business owners have seen or heard of Simon Sinek and his ‘start with why’ TED talk. The concept of this talk is great, but I believe the final execution of his example causes an end to conversation. To complement his why talk, also watch the 5 minute video by Lukas Gilkey. He refers to the Simon Sinek talk, but delivers an interesting perspective on introductions or the elevator pitch (a pitch completed in the time it takes to ride an elevator to the executive offices). In the Lucas Gilkey video, I like his addition of a real question. Simon Sinek ends his Apple sample introduction with ‘Wanna buy one?’. During an initial introduction, this is not usually the right time to pose such a direct sales question. Lead with your why, maybe some of your how, and a tiny bit of what (so the audience gets an idea about what you do) . Adding the question ‘Wanna buy one?’ is the wrong question to continue the conversation. What could you ask instead?
Introductions have different purposes and different length,s based on whether they are face to face, pitched to a full networking group, used as a business meeting introduction, or even LinkedIn profile. Typically for group introductions, you will have time limits imposed by the group, which you should always respect. For large group introductions such as a business networking event, I suggest the following basic introduction layout.
Firstly as indicated above, start with a ‘yes’ question. A question which will in most cases be answered by a yes by your audience. It gets the audience thinking on your wavelength, and is likely to make them more focused on you, rather than what they’re about to say, or what they’re being distracted by at the time. Follow this by your name and your business name, clearly pronouncing both. Then briefly launch into your golden circle of your why, maybe your how and a little of your what. This why should ideally be story connected, as we engage with stories more than logical information.
Repeat your name
Always repeat your name and your business name at the end for a 30 second or longer group introduction. Why, because people may not have taken notice of you at the start, but may be interested by the end. They may be too embarrassed by not remembering who you are to contact you at the event, and can’t do it later if they didn’t catch your details. So always end with your name and business name. If you have some more time up your sleeve, then you can add in a couple of extra features before the final call to action.
Expanding or modifying the business introduction
A great addition is to talk about a recent case study, as stories are what we tend to recall over lists of things you do. Ideally think of a recent client you worked with who may be similar to the audience at the event. This can be extremely effective, but keep it short. Remember, you want to encourage conversation afterwards. So briefly explain the challenge, the action and emphasise the result. You may be surprised, but you can do this in only a few sentences.
Expanding on the why you went into business (the public version, not your private motivation like wanting to leave your husband!) can be effective. Otherwise use a couple of key, maybe unexpected words. For instance, Lou Szymkow uses a catchy phrase which always generates a few laughs from new attendees. Lou says he ‘hatches, matches and dispatches’. What does this mean? He’s a life celebrant performing naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.
If you attend the same meetings frequently and introduce yourself each time, keep the introductions fresh by mixing up the why, the unique value proposition (UVP or your how) and stories. Don’t create one introduction and keep it the same. People will get used to expecting the same introduction and will tune out.
End with a question or a call to action
Finally, even for all but the shortest 10 second version, end with an open-ended question. This time the question is making the audience think, or challenging them to change. This is a great way to get prospects to come and talk to you following a business networking introduction to a group. Alternatively a call to action, like access to a freebie can produce good results.
Online course coming soon!
Following successful presentation of our more extensive in-person workshop, we’ll be moving this course online. Look out for our ‘How to create a great business introduction’ course, with workbook, coming soon to our sister site FAQ Business Training.
About the author
Jane Tweedy is a Business Connect Advisor part-time for NSW small businesses in Western Sydney (Blacktown and The Hills), and is Founder and Lead Trainer of FAQ Business Training. Outside NSW, Jane can offer remote business coaching and some business consulting through FAQ Business Consulting. Please contact Jane here.