Martha Bowers Taft Archives - Dr. Ivan Misner®

No Time for Small Talk

People often mistakenly perceive what goes on at networking meetings and events as making small talk with a bunch of strangers.  Real business networking , however, isn’t about making small talk at all; rather it is about building meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships with other business professionals and small talk isn’t generally something that helps further this aim.  Serious networkers, recognizing that they have limited time to introduce themselves and convey the essence of what they do, generally avoid lengthy small talk. 

 

If you want to build your business through word of mouth, you must give a message that’s heard by others.  You need to create a positive message and deliver it effectively–who are you, what do you offer, and to whom do you offer it?  When you properly position yourself with an effective message instead of trying to connect through making small talk, you save time because others quickly understand  what your company represents and offers.

Take the time to plan your introduction and prepare some concise and descriptive overviews of your products or services.  Then, when you meet someone for the first time, you can give him a good explanation of what you have to offer.  I recommend that you develop several scripts that you can readily use when attending networking meetings.

Show pride in who you are and what you do.  As an example of this, I often mention a fantastic quote from Martha Taft.  When she was a young girl in elementary school, she was asked to introduce herself to a group of people.  “My name is Martha Bowers Taft,” she said.  “My great-grandfather was President of the United States, my grandfather was a United States Senator, my daddy is Ambassador to Ireland, and I am a Brownie.”

If you have honed your message and have crafted an introduction which has been very effective for you at networking functions, I encourage you to share it in the comment forum below and to explain how you went about constructing your message and your introduction.  You never know who you’ll help by sharing your insights. Thanks!

My Daddy Is Ambassador and I’m a Brownie

When Martha Taft was a young girl in elementary school, she was asked to introduce herself to a group of people. “My name is Martha Bowers Taft,” said the child. “My great-grandfather was President of the United States. My grandfather was a United States Senator. My daddy is Ambassador to Ireland. And I am a Brownie.”

 I thought of that quote when I recently heard the following story from Nanette Polito from Cincinatti:

In this day of technology, our younger generation understands all the social media and how to communicate through texting, email, instant messaging, and Facebook. We, the slightly older generation, need them to help us wade through it.

But does the younger generation really understand the importance of creating face-to-face personal relationships?

 

As a member of BNI for the last 14 years and an area director for Greater Cincinnati and Northern KY for the last eight years, my son and daughter both grew up on BNI. What I never realized was they were watching from afar and taking it all in.

During the summer months, the kids sometimes would tag along with me to my chapter visits. Because they were business meetings, I would have them sit off to the side. One particular morning my daughter, then 12, sat in a different part of the restaurant. The group did not want her sitting alone and insisted she sit with us. So, I let her.

The meeting proceeded, and it came time for the 60-second commercials; Alexandra was sitting on my right and the commercials were going clockwise. As the gentleman on my daughter’s right stood to give his commercial, I prepared to give mine. But, before I could stand, Alexandra jumped up and said, “Hi, my name is Alexandra Polito. I am 12 years old and a Red Cross Certified babysitter. A good referral for me would be your children, if you need a qualified sitter.”

I was proud—and shocked—and so were my fellow members! Of course, we all commended her on a job well done. Proof? She received two referrals!

Who knew that those years of watching taught both of my children how to network. To this day they both have used those skills. Recently, I was talking to Alexandra about this memory and asked her if her fellow college mates really knew how to network; she stated they really didn’t.

Networking is not something taught in school, and our younger generation doesn’t understand that real importance of that face-to-face meeting and becoming visible, which leads to credibility.

So, yes, we are our children’s most important teachers, they are watching us! Make sure they see you networking and help them to understand what it is you are doing and why it is important.

 

What are we teaching our children about networking?  I’d love to hear a story from you about this.

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