Simply Inspired Business Women Networking - Surbiton - March 2024

March Networking Summary

I consider March’s networking a success.

It was fully booked before the event, and everyone attended except one person.

As usual, I was a bit nervous on the day. Not only did I want to make sure everything ran smoothly and everyone was satisfied with the way things were organised, but also the welcome part still felt a little stressful.

Public speaking is an out-of-my-comfort-zone challenge.

Being put on the spot, not only as a host but also wanting to sound smart and inspiring, I worry I’m going to stumble when all eyes are on me. The fear of being judged is also still there, despite telling myself that after all, I am running a networking event, something that not everyone would do.

Partly prepared for what I’m going to say and partly wanting to go with the flow, I start by thanking everyone for coming and explaining briefly where the idea for this kind of networking came from.

Telling a story of why you do what you do is my go-to strategy, both for myself and my clients who need marketing support.

From there, I shared with everyone how the day before I went to another networking event where someone had a short presentation on storytelling. Having seen him talking about it confirmed that I’m on the right path because that’s exactly my vision for introductions at Simply Inspired Business Women Networking. No more dreaded sales pitches where everyone tries to sell something within 60 seconds. No. I want everyone to tell us a story. A story we can connect with and follow up on in a one-to-one setting.

So, in March, I asked everyone to introduce their businesses by stating their names, where they are based, and without mentioning their profession or specialty, share how they helped one of their clients. I wanted to hear how, with their services, they provided a transformation without using jargon that no one understands or switches off after the words “I am…”

The suggested exercise was even more fun than I predicted. At some point, it turned into some sort of quiz or charades. Ultimately, it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. I had a go myself, and someone’s guess was I am a business coach. You could infer that from my introduction because I focused more on the support and guidance I provide within my business rather than on marketing obvious terms.

This made me realise that the coaching part excites me more than the marketing support itself, but that’s for another occasion to elaborate on.

One of the reasons I wanted to do introductions this way was to show everyone that sometimes we need to use simplified language to communicate clearly how we help our clients. I wanted to challenge everyone’s typical pitch and stretch their brains. Because of this exercise, everyone was really involved and intrigued because they had to pay attention to each person’s story. Even if there were people who knew each other’s businesses, they still wanted to hear how someone would introduce their services.

Once the guess was made, whether correct or not, a person could explain in more detail what they do.

The stories shared were really interesting, and in some cases, I gained a better understanding of individuals’ expertise.

When I got home, I decided to write down how I remembered people’s businesses, and as a result, I created a directory of Simply Inspired Business Women Networking attendees. Something I had been thinking about doing a while ago, but only now have I turned this idea into action and reality.

You can view the full list HERE, but below are a couple of examples.

Tania specialises in transforming neglected outdoor spaces into stunning, serene environments. Her expertise lies in organising and beautifying unused areas, turning them into havens of tranquillity that not only delight the eye but also enhance overall well-being. By creating inviting outdoor spaces, Tania encourages families to embrace outdoor living, fostering a deeper connection with nature and promoting a healthier lifestyle. Tania is a gardener.

Maxine specialises in providing essential financial support and guidance to overwhelmed start-ups navigating the complexities of taxation and compliance. As a trusted advisor, she offers a reassuring hand to her clients, allowing them to ask questions freely and boosting their confidence in managing their finances effectively. Maxine is an accountant.

A story is easier to remember

Now, I want to leave you with this.

When preparing your networking ‘sales’ pitch, try to share a story rather than focusing on your service’s features and qualities. A story is easier to remember and connect to. Bear in mind that at any networking events, we hear plenty of introductions, and our brain can only process some.

The storytelling technique is especially effective for introverts for whom the idea of standing up and talking about themselves makes them cringe and uncomfortable. When you tell a story of a client whom you helped, you take the pressure off yourself because, although still talking about your service, you talk about someone else but you.

I invite you to give it a go either at home in written form or come to my networking and accept the challenge of introducing your business from a completely different perspective.

I believe it will blow your mind, and as you practice, you can implement storytelling in all your promotions, whether online or in person.

Good luck 🤗

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