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Speaking Up at Networking Events Can Help You Promote Your Business - Part 1

If you’re a regular at networking meetings, you’ll know that speaking in public is a very effective way of promoting your business. This is especially true when you run a service business and you need an efficient way of building up trusting relationships with potential clients. Sharing your knowledge and expertise by speaking up at networking events can help you to do this.

 

But how do you get the best from speaking at events? In this blog, we’ll share some tips to give you the confidence to stand up to speak and to do a great job when you do.

 

How to Speak Up

Let’s take alook at three different speaking opportunities that you can grasp while networking.

 

1. Informal Networking

 

This usually takes place at the start of any networking meeting, when you can ‘mingle’ with your fellow networkers. There are some events that are totally informal, allowing you to speak to any number of people at the event. While you don’t have to give any sort of presentation at informal networking events, what you will have to do, at some point, is answer the question that nearly everyone asks: “What do you do?”

 

This means that you need to spend some time beforehand creating an engaging sentence (or even half a sentence) that is memorable. Rather than saying that I support newly appointed managers (which I do) I sometimes answer this question with “I help people to swim when they’ve been thrown in at the deep end.” It’s short and snappy and usually either raises a smile or prompts the other person to ask me to explain more about what I do – or both.

 

2. The 60 Second Pitch

 

This usually occurs at more structured networking events, when you’ll be given the opportunity to talk for 30-60 seconds about your business. Given that most people speak at a rate of around 120 words per minute, be aware that there is not much that you can say in this time. You should take the time to think about what you’re going to say and practise it.

 

Don’t say your name first, because you need to use the opening line to let your audience tune into your voice. Instead say something like “It’s nice to be here” or “Thank you for the warm welcome”.  Then split what you want to say into three parts. First introduce yourself and your business; then talk about a service that you provide or a problem that you solve; finally tell the audience about the sort of clients that you’re looking for.

By explaining who you’re looking for you enable other people to help you. Keep your pitch short and clear – you don’t have to fill the whole time that you’re given.

 

3. The Longer Talk

 

At some networking events you might have the opportunity to speak to the whole group for longer. Whatever the length of time you’re given, your talk needs to be brief, energetic and full of value. Leave people refreshed and having learnt something, or having gained something useful from listening to you. Keep your energy high and relate your talk to the people in the room. At many events, the longer presentation will happen after the 60 second round, so think about how to involve people in the room and use examples that they can easily relate to.

 

A great way to start a longer talk is by using the ABCD of introductions, which we’ll cover in a later blog. It will help you to deal with any nerves that you have and get your talk off to a great start. You can find out more on our website.

 

When you’re planning your talk, make sure that you can provide something for everyone to take away. A single sheet handout full of notes that people will want to keep, or a checklist that they can refer back to is ideal. Make sure that you put your full contact details on your handout.

 

If you want to promote your service business to a wider audience and share your knowledge and expertise with them, think about how you can speak up more at networking meetings.