A month has passed and it’s time for another installment of Networking for Beginners. Last time I shared my experiences of going to my first ever networking event, and resolved to develop an elevator pitch in order to speak confidently about my business.
Lets see if (a) I can actually remember it on the night, and (b) having a speech to hand helps to calm my nerves.
Tuesday 17th May
Today I received an email with the details of the next meeting and I signed up almost right away. If that sounds overly keen so be it, I’m looking forward to going and as now it’s entered firmly into my diary, there’s no chance of me double-booking myself with a trip to the cinema.
I still haven’t started working on my elevator pitch though, so I must
find make time for that. This weekend seems like the obvious choice; I shall set aside a couple of hours and see what I can come up with. If I need help then I can always call upon the help of a certain copywriter that I know.
I’ll admit that I’m slightly excited about going again; at the moment anything done in the name of developing my business is really appealing. What’s really exciting though, is that networking seems to really work: after the last meeting, I may have a new client! There’s some discussion to be had before it’s official, such as full project scope, pricing etc, but if that goes well, I should be enjoying working on a new branding project pretty soon.
Friday 20th May
I still haven’t given any more thought to my pitch, but it looks like I will definitely have time this weekend. Must do it.
It’s becoming even more urgent as I have just signed up for another networking evening, this time based in Aberdeen. I’ll be going straight after work, so there’ll be no time to stress about what to wear this time, or mess around trying to apply mascara without poking myself in the eye. Hopefully less time beforehand will mean I have less time to be nervous!
Tuesday 31st May
Well, I eventually made time to work on my pitch and yes, I called upon my trusty copywriter for help. So now I actually have two versions, not just the one I was aiming for: one version is a simple introduction to me and my business – who I am, what I do etc – and the other is more like a hard-sell pitch. The language is persuasive (but not aggressive) and lays out how my services can help a potential client with their branding.
Now all I have to do is practise them, and know when to use the hard-sell and when to use the introductary pitch. Wish me luck…
Wednesday 8th June
It was another good event last night, and yes, before you ask, I had practised my pitch. I even spent some of the journey to the meeting saying it aloud to myself (I didn’t manage practising it in front of the mirror as is generally recommended – I felt too silly). Thankfully, this did help with the nerves.
There was a lot more people at this meeting (I think double the turnout of last time), which was a bit daunting, but as soon as I arrived I found some of the ladies I had met last time; seeing familiar faces was immediately relaxing and so the chatting commenced.
Feeling more confident, I made an effort to talk to people I hadn’t met before, and actually handed out a few business cards. Is this new-found confidence because there were some familiar faces there, or is this just getting less scary? I’ll find out next week when I meet a new group of people…
Wednesday 15th June
Sometimes when I was little I could be so shy I was practically mute, but judging from my recent behaviour, you’d never know it. I’m actually becoming ‘outgoing’ and chatty.
Last night’s event was a women-only event; a small gathering in an adorable boutique in Aberdeen. Just like last week I made an effort to talk to people I didn’t know, managed to ask them some sensible questions, and even managed to talk about myself (mostly) coherently.
The funny thing is, almost everyone I’ve met at these events admits to hating networking – there don’t seem to be any networking ninjas out there, just people who go along wanting to develop their business, but feeling awkward about the process of having to try to sell to the other people in the room. As someone said to me “everyone’s looking to sell, no one’s here to buy”.
But there does seem to be some ‘buying’ going on; from these events so far, several people have expressed an interest in possible design work in the future, and from the business cards and leaflets I’ve collected, there are definitely some set aside becuase I know at some point I’ll need their services.
And who knows, maybe by the next episode in this series, someone will have bought and I’ll be happily working away on my next design project!
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