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Networking 101 – Networking & your competition

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Networking and your competition.  Let’s take this discussion a bit further this week.

How do you Network effectively when you are competing with several other companies and businesses that offer the same product or services  as you do and who operate out of the same area that you do?  Clearly you need to stand out ‘head and shoulders’ above the crowd and you obviously should never, and I mean NEVER – put your competition down or malign them in any way.  Concentrate rather on what you do and what you do that makes it different.

Let’s focus on what you do need to do – you need to work very carefully on every aspect of your Business, from your Business Presentation to your Business Card, your promotional and marketing items, such as pens, to the way that you present yourself as an individual, to your elevator speech.

Your Business Presentation needs to be professional, but also memorable.  Going on and on about statistics and the like is extremely boring for the person listening.  So if you want to use some statistics, choose one – perhaps put some humour into it (to make it stand out and be memorable) and use it at the end of the presentation where it will make and have the most impact!

You need to know what you want to say to people when you introduce yourself.  Fumbling and stammering with lots of ‘Um’s and er’s and, and, and, and’s’ is really not going to cut it for you.  Let’s face it – if you don’t know who you are and what it is that you do, how can you expect anyone else to?  So take the time and prepare what you want to say to people.

I have written so much about Elevator speeches it really feels like a deje vu moment for me, yet it is of critical importance, especially if you are confined to a limited amount of time in which to introduce yourself and make an impression!

Take the time, invest it in yourself and your business.  Make sure that what you are saying is clear and also that it makes sense.  Make your statement make people want to contact you and engage with you, even if it is only to ask you what you meant!

For example my elevator speech is “My name is Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting.  I am an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist and I prevent loss!”  Many people come up to me afterwards and say ‘What do you mean you prevent loss – how do you prevent loss?’ A huge foot in the door for me wouldn’t you say?

The more you work on your Networking, the more your Networking will work for you!