online_business_networkingLast week I was on a flight doing my second favorite thing…eavesdropping (people watching is my favorite). I was so intrigued by the conversation behind me that I stopped reading to listen.

Guy #1: What do you do?

Guy #2: Business process investigation.

Guy #1: I see.

Guy #2: What do you do?

Guy #1: I am part-owner in one company and full owner in another. We do disinfecting and decontamination of large businesses.

Guy #2: That’s very interesting.

Are you kidding me?! Business process investigation? Disinfecting and decontamination of large businesses?

Does anyone know what either of these guys do for a living?

One of the things we work on with clients, especially in today’s age of text messaging and social media, is how to deliver their elevator pitch so they quickly gain interest from their audience – reporters, customers, prospects, candidates, even someone just checking out your Twitter bio, trying to decide if they’re interesting enough to dive deeper.

Can you imagine if these guys were on the news? What if this is what their Twitter profile said?  Would you have any inclination of wanting to learn more?

What if, instead, the conversation went like this?

Guy #1: What do you do?

Guy #2: I go into businesses to help them streamline the processes they use for operations and sales so their people are able to go home and have dinner with their families every night.

What are you compelled to do if the guy sitting next to you says that? Do you want to learn more? Ask questions about what it is he does and how he can make sure you’re home with your family every night in time for dinner?

Turns out that’s what business process investigation means.

Guy #2: What do you do?

Guy #1: We go into locker rooms before and after every game to disinfect the floor, the lockers, the showers, and the walls in order to keep germs and viruses at bay. One of our clients is the NFL and, as you can imagine, it’s really important the players not get sick. It’s our job to make sure they don’t.

I know, if the guy sitting next to me says that, I want to learn more about which locker rooms he’s been in and which teams he works with. Likely I’m not going to hire him, but I am interested enough to have a conversation and, perhaps, refer him to businesses I know who would use his services.

Keep this in mind not only when you’re networking at in-person events, but also in the way you present yourself in everything from your Twitter profile to the “about us” on your Web site. The name of the game is to encourage people to want to learn more, not use vague sentences and large vocabulary because you think it makes you sound smart.

Some people are master networkers and use even plane time to prospect for new business. If either of these guys changed the way they introduced what they do for a living, they likely would have exchanged business cards at the end of the flight.

How can you become a master networker, both offline and on?

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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