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The XYZ of Networking

June 26, 2019
Matt Southam

Networking is a great way to build up contacts and get your brand or name out there but with often just 60 seconds to make a pitch to the room how do you get your message to connect with your audience?

Let’s picture the scenario. You have dressed your best, packed your business cards, turned up prompt to the event and now you feel ready to take on the world. But then it comes to your turn to tell the room what you do and this is where it goes wrong. You stumble and mumble and end up sort of saying what you do but it just doesn’t connect with the people in the room.

This is a common problem when people start visiting networking events, so don’t feel you are alone.

Many new networkers basically just tell people their job title. I’m a mortgage broker, I’m a website builder, I’m a dog walker etc but this does little to connect with the audience so therefore doesn’t leave those in the room with a clear understanding of who you help, or how.

It is much better to go through a process of working out who your target market is, what they get from working with you and then what your role entails.

So let’s look at how you can build a killer value proposition.

Steve Blank developed a simple solution which helps you build your pitch around 3 key bits of information.

And then you put it together like this:

We help X achieve Y by doing X

So if I were talking about website design, I may say “we help small businesses (X) achieve a professional online presence (Y) by building responsive websites (Z)”

The mortgage broker in the room could say:

I help people who are looking to move house receive a great deal on their mortgage, by understanding and being connected with a full range of mortgage lenders.

For the dog walker:

I help busy people ensure their dog gets enough exercise by providing a caring and personal dog walking service.

I am sure you will agree that this is a much more powerful message. By starting with what you do, you get the real reasons someone would work with you out early. And, by being specific on the type of person you work with, it is easier to make the message connect.

Give the XYZ method a try next time you are networking and after a bit of practice, you may find you default to answering like that even in social situations when someone asks you what you do.

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