Successful networking requires preparation. You have only one time to make a great first impression and make the most of the advantages of networking. And when you’re job hunting, you not only want to make great first impression—you want to trigger curiosity and set yourself apart from the competition as well.
Are you prepared for the big question: What do you do? That’s where your personal introduction, sometimes called a 30-second commercial, comes in. It answers serves as your opening at a business event, networking opportunity, social event, job fair and even at your job interviews.
Your personal introduction tells someone who you are and what you do in a way that inspires your listener to want to learn more. Having your introduction prepared and rehearsed ahead of time makes your opening smooth and helps you avoid drawing a blank when a conversation begins, setting the foundation for successful networking.
Once you’ve thoughtfully prepared your personal introduction, commit it to memory and stick to it. When you’re job hunting, you are a walking advertisement for yourself, so you want to have your key message ready to deliver when the opportunity arises. The more prepared you are, the more likely you are to capture the person’s attention and then create enough interest that they will want to continue the conversation. Being prepared in this way is the key to successful networking.
Use these business networking techniques to make the most your personal introduction:
Developing Your Pitch
- Who are you and what problem can you help companies solve? This is deceptively simple. Fine tune your first sentence to tell your listener enough that they understand what you do and leave them wanting more.
- Use an example that helps clarify the value that you bring. Reinforce your opening line with a second sentence that shows how you solved a problem or overcame a particular issue or challenge. People relate to examples and specifics here (in brief, of course). Expand this section by adding details about what makes you stand out — a unique approach for better results, focus on a specific niche, or extras that other people don’t provide. There are many ways to define you’re your value that will help gain attention and make you memorable. Being memorable is one of your goals in successful networking.
- State what you are looking for.
Close your introduction with where you see yourself fitting in: what position, department, industry or specific companies. This is where you share your goal and how the person you are talking with can help you reach it.
Putting It All Together
Ok, time to commit pencil to paper: Put these four statements together, and say them all out loud. Start with 10 seconds and get that right. Find a trusted friend or colleague and ask them to honestly critique it. Fine tune your 10-second pitch and then expand it to add clarity or interest as needed. Here are a couple of examples to get you thinking: