Hello Hello F22 Crew!
The holiday season is fast approaching, and with it all the festivities! Sure most of them will be with family and friends, but a true freelancing knows that squeezing in a couple business conversations can be good for the pocketbook come 2020. So here are some tips and tricks on how to bring up what you do without feeling like a sleazy salesman!
Start networking before the party begins
Depending on your relationship with the host and your area of expertise, you might be able to start networking days or even weeks before the day of the party. You do this by volunteering to help with some aspect of the party that highlights your skills. If you are a graphic designer or an illustrator, you help by creating an image for the invitations. If you are an event planner or project manager, you assist in the party planning, connecting with guests and vendors throughout the process, making sure that everyone has a positive experience with you, as you would with any client. As with all interactions in life, you want to make sure that you are honoring the needs of the person and/or organization that you are helping. When you offer your help, make sure that you are prioritizing the success of the party.
Party Prep work – Your Elevator Pitch
It is inevitable that the subject of what you do for a living will come up multiple times throughout a party. It’s simply an easy way to get to know another person. This standard question can turn into an opportunity if you have prepared a concise, enthusiastic answer to the question, commonly known as your elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is generally composed of four parts:
- An intriguing, one-sentence description
- I help people fall back in love with their stuff (Home/office organizer)
- I help people manifest the life they want (Life coach)
- Identification of the problem to which you are the solution.
- Sometimes people feel overwhelmed by their possessions, so as a professional organizer, I help them figure out what matters and what they can let go of.
- I coach people by helping them figure out what it is they want and help them establish a game plan as to how they can achieve it.
- A little bit of name dropping
- I work with individuals and companies, like XX.
- I work one-on-one as well as give seminars to organizations, like XX.
- Why do you do what you do
- I love seeing people light up as they figure out what really matters to them.
- It’s an amazing experience to watch as someone becomes the person they have always dreamed of being.
Practice your pitch so that it comes naturally and easily. Even the most technical job can be discussed in creative ways when you bring your passion to the conversation. Your enthusiasm for what you do will cause people to ask more questions.
Then comes the important part:
Listen and Connect
Bring the same enthusiasm that you showed in talking about yourself to listening as people talk about themselves. Your ability to actively listen and comment intelligently on what you’re hearing will make you more memorable than your occupation.
- Find what you have in common and expand on this.
- Paraphrase what you have heard and ask if this is correct
- Indicate that you are listening by nodding and maintaining eye contact.
Listening also lets you know how this person might be able to help you in the future. There are valuable nuggets in what people are saying to you, even when it appears that what they are saying seems unrelated.
Keep in Touch
After you’ve had a great conversation, ask people if you can keep in touch with them on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. Choose the one that is most appropriate to the situation and then you can add them in the other two at another time. Make sure that whatever social media information you give out, it reflects who have had said you are in the conversation.
Talk to as Many People as You Can!
Move easily and naturally through the party. There is often the temptation to find the people that you know and then spend the night huddled in the kitchen talking to them. If you have identified this event as a networking opportunity (and all parties are networking opportunities) then consider it your job to meet and make a positive impression on as many people as possible.
I hope these tips and tricks help you make some business friends, and hopefully start the new year off right!