“He who takes but never gives, may last for years but never lives.” – Author Unknown
“Blah, blah, blah.” My eyes had glazed over. My mind was racing. I was trying to find a graceful way to exit the conversation without hurting the woman’s feelings. I was so done! I really don’t want this to sound mean, and if it does, I’m sorry. But I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there.
You see, I was at a networking event filled with women business owners, and had asked this woman to tell me a little bit about herself and what she was passionate about. About five long minutes into her response, during which she did not even pause to take a breath, all I was hearing was “blah, blah, blah.”
In all fairness, I did ask. But still. It was clear that this woman had not learned how to effectively network. She had not learned to laser focus her message. She, especially, had not learned to share who she was in an engaging way. She never even once asked about me. In turn, she came across as selfish, annoying, and desperate. You’ve met people like her, haven’t you?
And somehow, she was the second woman in a row I’d encountered that evening who did exactly the same thing!
These women were great at promoting themselves but not so great at doing so in a way that will (most likely) get them results. I mean, results aside from coming across as selfish, annoying and desperate. Whether you’re a business owner, you’re employed, and even if you’re not, it’s important to get really good at self promotion. I know what you’re probably thinking “Self promotion, isn’t that kind of sleazy?” Personally, I don’t think so. Not one bit. It think it’s absolutely necessary. It’s only sleazy if you do it in a way that’s obnoxious.
I find it sad that, sometimes, when I ask women what they’ve accomplished or what they’re excited about, they are at a loss for words. They’ve been taught not to “brag.” However, effective self promotion is not bragging. It is an art. And a pretty valuable skill. Effective self promotion means turning the spotlight on yourself in a way that’s authentic and comes from a place of helpfulness and being of service. It’s a way of connecting and sharing who you are and what value you can bring to the relationship.
Whether it’s at a networking event, a presentation, or an interview, it’s important to sell yourself. It’s SO important to be able to articulate who you are and the value you offer. And it’s important to do it in a way that’s engaging and leaves your audience wanting more.
So how do you do that? How do you find a way to talk about yourself, your business, and your accomplishments in a way that differentiates you, instills confidence, and begins the process of building the “know, like, and trust factor?”
Here are five tips, to help you get started:
1. Know your audience. Whether it’s a one on one or a networking event, it’s critical to know your audience. Know the demographics, their interests, their challenges, why they’re there. Target your message to your audience. Make it relevant to them.
2. Laser-focus your message. What do you want people to know, think, say, or do as a result of their encounter with you? If you’re not clear about that, you’ll tend to ramble, go on and on, and try to tell them everything you know. Be focused. Be on target. Be brief.
3. Don’t act like a robot. We’ve all been taught to have a “30 second elevator pitch.” We’ve written it down, memorized it, practiced it in front of the mirror, and could say it in our sleep—even after a few sleeping pills. There’s only one problem. It sounds like our well-rehearsed elevator pitch. It’s not authentic. It’s not relatable. Think about making a connection. Consider sharing who you really are.
4. Give credit where credit is due. When you are promoting yourself, it helps to acknowledge the support and advice of people you are close with. For example, in my case, if it weren’t for my amazing friends (and family) and our (often) daily chats, I would never have the courage to do the things I’m doing. I certainly could not survive the rough parts.
5. Be focused on them, and on what you can give. People will think you’re a brilliant conversationalist if you’re a good listener. People always tell me that I ask great questions. I don’t think that it’s so much that the questions are actually great, but more about the fact that they know I’m really listening. Ask questions. Be fully present and really listen. Focus on how you can be of service.
In today’s world, it’s all about relationships. Whether you’re at a networking event, one on one, or at a business meeting, it’s about the connection between you and the other person. So get skilled. Practice. Then go out and connect. Build relationships!
How about you? Have you met someone like the lady I spoke about?
What did you do in that situation?
Please share below!