Issue #23 How to avoid being mind-numbingly boring (networking)

Imagine a room of about 30 people standing in a circle.  

Now imagine that I tell you it is a networking mixer.  

Can you guess what comes next?  I’ll give you a second to think about it.

See if this sounds right: The leader talks about themselves and what they do. She says that everyone should introduce themselves in 30 seconds. Then the next person introduces themselves, and takes 5 and a half minutes.  

Then the next person.

And another.  

  • They all start with “my name is”
  • Add an “I am a”
  • Then start telling a story about a client.  
  • Finally, they end with, “I would appreciate introductions to [insert some description of small to mid-sized businesses here].”  

This is a true story. I was number 16. Number 15 almost had to elbow me out of my bored stupor.   

I couldn’t remember what anybody did. There were a few real-estate lawyers, an insurance somebody, and even this list is boring me.  

So, I did something different; I started with the problem I solved.  

And amazingly, the whole room erupted with furious disapprobation: “You must start with your name and what you do,” they cried.  

They were not going to let me paint outside the lines… no siree. This was crowd-enforced tedium and obligated monotony.

On the other hand, all night long, people wanted to learn about how I solved the problem and when I could do it for them, so… something worked.  

The lessons I learned

  • First: you should follow some of the rules – it was too distracting for people not to hear my name and what I do first.   
  • Second: people remember the problem you solve, not what you do. Nobody can remember the name of yet another real estate lawyer, but everybody remembers the person who solves a problem.  

What I did about it

I created the Irresistible Value Statement, starting with your name and title but guiding you to say something interesting so that people remember you. Sound interesting? Learn more about it here.


Networking is about relationships

One key thing to keep in mind about networking is that it isn’t about selling.

It is about creating relationships. The idea is that people do business with people they know and like. So you have to get to know and like people.  

Diane Darling, a networking expert and founder of Effective Networking, Inc. puts it this way: “The real definition of networking to me is building relationships before you need them.”

This means: networking is a terrible marketing and sales strategy.

For sales, build your customer journey. The problem with networking comes when you expect sales from every meeting… it just doesn’t work that way.  

Here is a nice article from INC on the topic.

Case Study: Business Model Innovation

Not to change the subject, but on a completely separate topic, here is an article on building a business based on an innovative business model.  

Why this is interesting: Think about how important the business model is. Many businesses produce Kombucha, but different business models create interesting opportunities.

The traditional model: Kombucha producers produce Kombucha to sell through grocery stores.  The value proposition, in this case, is “we have a great oddly flavored drink.” Costs are production, and revenue comes from retail or distribution sales. Relationships are with the channels, not the customer. Value comes from better production.

This innovative model: Bucha Brewing created a “make your own” Kombucha subscription (and is doing well with it).

The value proposition is now: “we enable you to make your own oddly flavored fermented drink that you can oddly flavor however you please.”

They sell the equipment and ingredients rather than produce the final product. There is no channel layer: the business builds on the relationships it has with its customers.

Value comes from understanding and meeting customer needs, not production.  

Why you care: It is important to understand your business model and your value proposition. This is key to ensuring you take the right actions and build the right relationships.

Also, by reviewing your business model, you may find opportunities to innovate.

Learn more about business models here.

From Around the Web

  • ➡️ Useless procrastination: Wherever you put your cursor on this website, it will show someone pointing at your pointer. Move your cursor around and see if you can get the same image to show up twice — you are welcome.  
  • 👋 Hey Kyle: This one is for you. The town of Kyle, Texas, would like you to help them break the world record for the largest gathering of Kyles on September 4. (Astounding because it means that there is already a record of Kyles gathering.)  
  • 🔥 Oddly relaxing: Check out this matchstick animation.  It is oddly intriguing. I also find it motivational: how awesome would it be to have enough free time to do something like this?

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