Storytelling is an incredibly important skill for power networking.
If you can tell a good story, it not only conveys who you are, but also makes you more relatable, trustworthy, and memorable.
Here are my preferred ways to create a story to use in your networking efforts.
Your Introduction Story
When you attend a networking event you will find yourself having bite-sized conversations with lots of people.
You need to have a simple, short story that conveys who you are which you can rattle off to each person or group you meet.
The goal of your introduction story is to convey to people who you are in a way that’s concise and easy to understand.
Crafting Your Introduction Story
The key is that your story should be short.
Anything more than 30 seconds is not short.
Your story should only include the key information you want people to know about you before they move on to the next person.
It should answer 3 questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How do you serve?
The third question is important because it conveys to people how knowing you can benefit them, which is the whole point of networking.
So, your introductory story might tell people that you are “a consultant specialising in coaching for small businesses that are trying to keep up with rapid growth.”
Try to anticipate what questions people might ask when they hear your story.
For example, if you introduce yourself as a writer, people will ask you what you write or where you have had work published.
More Stories for Networking
In addition to your introductory story, you should have some other stories prepared and look for opportunities to share them.
A good standard one is the story of your business.
It tells how you came to do what you do.
The best business histories include a challenge or conflict that you, the main character, overcame.
For example, your business might have been born out of a problem you faced and struggled to overcome.
You hit upon a great idea that solved the problem, and then built your business around it.
This is much more compelling than simply reeling off a list of facts about your company.
Tips on Creating Effective Networking Stories
Go over every area of your business and look for stories waiting to be told.
The best opportunities to write stories are when there has been a big change.
This includes not only how you founded your business, but how it grew.
You can also tell stories about how you have faced a challenge in the market, developed a new product line, or formed a partnership.
If you actually write out and plan your stories, you’ll have the chance to flesh them out and improve them.
Try to make them humorous, engaging, and relatable.
Also try to write them in such a way that they emphasise the unique benefits you offer.
Run your stories by colleagues and acquaintances to get feedback, which will help you make the stories better.
Go to your next power networking event with a repertoire of interesting stories you can reel off at a moment’s notice.