I met someone.
No, not like that. I met him a long time ago.
I met someone at a networking event. I went to put my bag in a little side room, and a woman in a pretty dress with a knock-out necklace told me her name. I told her mine. Then she asked me what I did. “I’m a career coach,” I said, “How about you?”
She gave me the spiel. You know. That spiel that reads really well on your website, but sounds funny coming out of your mouth? Imagine if I had told her, “I’m a career coach who helps emerging and established purpose-preneurs discover their unique value and communicate that in a fun and profitable way.” That’s all true, but it’s brochure-speak.
It was a networking event, so I get that people are all a-hustle to scope out who’s who, but how about a little foreplay, please? I want to know about that awesome necklace before we get to the spiel.
Take two. There was another woman in the side room. She introduced herself, I told her my name, and then I said, “Great dress!” “Oh, thanks,” she said. “I’ve had it for forever but just pulled it out for another spin – it’s Gap from, like, 10 years ago. But isn’t it cute?”
Bingo. It was super-quick, but now we have a little connection. Now when I see her next to the organic cherries and inevitable hummus plate, we can casually chat about what she does, and no one has to whip out a business card until we’re ready to call it an evening.
It happened again over and over at that event; the people who led with being a person were the people I spent the most time talking with.
And you better believe I learned a ton about their businesses and talked shop, but it was fun and easy and smashed in between talking about Pier 1 commercials and those amazing almond cookies.
People are engaging. People are memorable. People are relatable. Taglines are not.
The next time you meet someone, lead with being a person. Talk about the weather, your shoes, the spinach in her teeth. Make a connection. Because as much as I like your website, I like you a lot better.
Do you have any networking tips to share? Add them in the comments.