This is a guest post by Phil Turner who has come to love networking with local entrepreneurs in Cork. Phil loves networking so much that he and a friend have set up BiZZrepublic.com. This is a community site where entrepreneurs can network and gain access to free training resources both online and in local venues.
Does the thought of standing in front of a room and pitching your business fill you with horror?
So I worked out a better way, one that worked WITH my introvert nature instead of against it.
MeetUps: Real World Social Media Networking
I have always been an avid fan of the power of networking using online forums (fora?): So much so that I have built my reputation and blogging business on the power of forum contacts.
Facebook groups and Twitter chats have their place, but neither floats my boat like a forum.
Then in 2016 I discovered the real-world equivalent of a forum – MeetUp.com.
If you have an interest in real world networking you need to check out MeetUps in your area. You will find every city has multiple MeetUp groups devoted to everything from yoga to coastal walks, from writing a book to mountain climbing. My own passion is entrepreneur networking.
Are You an Introvert Entrepreneur?
It’s been tough as an introvert entrepreneur, but I have found inspiration from people I have met online, especially Beth Buelow at The Introvert Entrepreneur.
I joined a few local entrepreneur Meetups that ranged in size from ten to fifty. I was horrified when I found people standing up to talk about their business – Pitching. I realised it was something I had to learn to do.
My first pitch was a disaster, a ‘Big I am’ pitch just like everyone else’s. It was unnatural, it wasn’t me and I got neither contacts, nor business as a result. It was Boring.
Hi, I’m Phil. I am a blogger. I can help you to build a blog on your website and show you how to use it to build your reputation and grow your business.
Me, me, me.
Mine was just one in a long line of ‘Big I am’ pitches and people just wanted it all to end so they could get to the bar.
One friend, John Keating (@MrSpeaking) gave me one piece of advice – “Start your pitch by putting the focus on the listeners.” It took me a while to work out what he meant, but I read up on successful pitching and developed a better approach.
Pitching the Introvert Way
As an introvert, I am naturally a good listener. I am also a teacher, which involves at least as much listening as speaking. I needed a way to put the emphasis on the listener as my friend John had described.
I had the idea of asking a question to get the audience’s attention.
How many times have you pitched for business this year?
I am still testing different versions of my pitch, but starting with a question seems a good start.
How many times have you pitched for business this year? Do you pitch for fun? Perhaps you are pitching for kicks?
Setting the Hook
Once I have the audience listening and thinking about the questions I just asked the next part of my pitch is obvious because most people I speak to find pitching difficult
“It’s the only way to get jobs” I hear you thinking
In the past 7 years I have never once had to pitch for work. People come to me.
Reeling them In
That’s enough about me, just enough to pique their curiosity. Now for the Call to Action
Of course, if you are pitching for fun, just carry on.
Am I pitching for work now?
NO WAY, but if you ask me nicely I can show you how to get clients to come to you, so you never need to pitch again. Ever
The whole ‘non-pitch’ is like a conversation where I suggest to the audience what their lines should be.
Do you like the idea of a non-pitch? It comes more naturally to most introverts than the stereotypical ‘Big I Am’ pitch you hear so often. If it comes naturally to you, you will come across as natural to your listeners. They will like you, which is the first stage of doing business with you.
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