Overheard at Networking Event: Hello, Nice to Meet You. What Are You Doing Here?
When you present yourself in a networking event or interview, if you cannot tell who you are and why you are relevant to a listener’s needs, you have failed. You have failed to make yourself memorable, and you have failed to explain why you are taking the valuable time of your new contact. Read on to learn the top three ways to ensure your interviewer understands exactly why you are sitting in front of him.
1. Your 60-second introduction is 10 seconds long.
Your future hiring executive has limited time and resources to figure you out. If you cannot tell this person in 10 seconds or less why you are relevant and valuable, you will have lost this person’s attention for good.
Practice a short message that includes what you do, for whom you do it, and in what context. Practice, practice, and practice. Learn it so well that you have it memorized and can deliver it with a smile. When you do deliver this message to an important audience, wait for their reaction. You’ll know from this person’s comments whether you should explain your needs or address his, furthering the conversation beyond the introduction.
2. Your extended message should reflect your potential contribution to the company based on your company research.
Your subsequent message should reflect your audience, not you. What would this person need to know about the ways you can solve the problems he is facing right this minute. You should have a good sense of what these issues might be based on the research you have completed prior to your interview.
If you do not know specifically what the key problems this particular executive is facing, you absolutely can ask what issues keep this person up at night. You might be surprised by the person’s candor, and this can spark a complex conversation in which you can offer your own brand of potential solution.
3. Keep the lines of communication open.
Particularly when you have been invited to continue the discussion, keep the lines of communication with your interviewing team open. If you see something interesting in the news that might be relevant to the needs of this future hiring executive, pass it along with a short note. Follow this person LinkedIn and other key social media in which this hiring team participates. Every now and then, “like” or retweet their posts or comment on them in a relevant way. Most important, do not neglect to send quick thank-you letters to each of your interview team within 24 hours of your interview, preferably not before the sun goes down on the day of your interview. Highlight your value and add anything else about your candidacy that you believe will support your value.
Is marketing yourself very difficult? Is it hard for you to explain your professional purpose succinctly? Five Strengths can help.
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