i like you more than i like your website

necklace by sweetclover05 – click image for more info

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.

Gathering light,

12 thoughts on “i like you more than i like your website

  1. Ha ha, this sounds like EVERY networking event I’ve ever been to. It drives me nuts! It’s ‘networking’. Let’s be social, peeps!

    … and since you also mentioned the biz card exchange, they can be pretty frightful too! I LOVE business cards with a photo – so much nicer to connect and remember that person :)

    1. Great point, Natalie. I just got new biz cards with a photo; they’ve beena hit so far, but most of all, it just helps people remember who you are. Again, your face is more memorable than a catchy one-liner.

  2. I think that when you are an MIT (Mogul In Training) we read so many articles and listen to people tell us to sell! sell! sell!. So we work on our sales pitch and start to recite it because we think that we have to sell ourselves and our products in that way. I equate it to being told to Tweet and FB to high bejeezus everytime you make something so that people know that you made something and that they can now go and buy it.

    We are rarely being told to ‘make a connection’ as a human and then casually talk about what your passions and how it translates into what you are making/offering to the world. I find myself gravitating to those folks who I feel are genuine and are having fun with the moment. As a MIT myself, I find that when I spend less time pitching the biz and more time just being me, the connections yield sweeter fruit.

    This article is perfect. It is okay to be an MIT but we need to remember that we are humans first.

  3. hm… i loved this… really some food for thought :)… i think i’ve never been to a networking event… but i guess it’s almost the same when you’re on-line… and maybe that’s why i try to instinctly keep my bolg quite personal…

    :)
    agnes
    :)

  4. I remember when I was doing a retail course years ago, the point that has always stayed with me is when you go in to sell your product, sell yourself first. Talk about everything else but your product until you have made a connection with your “Buyer”.

    It works for me.

    <3 Helen

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