OK great, you've decided that you want to network. In order to make it work for you you have figured out your intention and you have a good idea of the venues that suit you and your customers.
With all this preparation, you want to be sure you can be seen and heard. You've got to hone your message because you are just one of many doing this very same thing.
Honing your message is comprised of two major elements- content and delivery. Creating the right message and delivering it in the most effective way is one of the most written about networking fundamentals. It's no wonder that people find this part confusing and frustrating.
Content is King! Right?
Let's face it, without content there is simply no message. Developing your content requires some thought and planning. OK, this is not a creative writing course nor is it a marketing class but ask yourself these questions:
What message am I trying to deliver?
What result do I hope to achieve?
What sets my business apart from others that offer what I do?
Who am I trying to reach and what sort of material are they likely to read or listen to?
By answering these questions you have an outline of the message you wish to present. Trust me, you do not need a PhD in Marketing to go from here. What you do need to do is get started.
Did You Hear What I Think I Said?
Content may be king but if it is not coupled with the right delivery you might as well be reciting jokes at a wake. In fact I am of the belief that the delivery is as important as the content. The key is this:
Reach your audience; that is, speak to them in a manner that they will embrace. Do not speak at them, talk to them.
Captivate and intrigue the audience.
Apply a 50:50 ratio of speaking and listening (if you have to exceed that, make sure that listening prevails).
Ask questions- it not only engages the audience but it informs the messenger.
Capitalize on those techniques with which you are most comfortable- your audience will reap the benefit. YOU will not be far behind.