Something you’ll hear us say often here at Creative Words, is that content is anything that adds value to an audience. Therefore, so is networking.

When people go networking and someone asks about their business, they all too often start with “we” or their name and then the category that their business fits into. But the cold hard truth is, no one really cares about who you are right now, so the likelihood is you’ve often lost their attention.

But what can be a really powerful opener when you’re talking about your business, is a 60-second story about a client and how your business helped them.

The 60-second story

Here’s a little example of a story that Cate has used as her 60-seconds at a networking meeting before…

“Let me tell you about Black Isle Consulting – one of our clients and a great example of the kind of business we can help. Black Isle in Hong Kong was being separated from its UK holding company and needed a new website. The new site had been designed and developed and it looked fabulous, but nobody had been thinking about the content – kind of a crucial piece, right?!

They didn’t realise their oversight until 3-weeks before the site was due to go live, and this is when a mutual friend put me in touch. We helped them put together a content structure for the site and worked with a member of the team to write the content that they needed. We also created a template for all of their team biographies and then gathered everything together and made sure everything had a consistent tone of voice, so that the website itself told a really good story.”

The 1:1 story

When you’re talking in a 1:1 networking setting, the trick is to avoid slapping a catchall label on yourself. Instead use stories to talk about things you’ve done and people you’ve helped.

You see, generally people make an assumption that they know what certain professions are. So, your job is to explain how and why you’re different, and that’s where the storytelling comes in.

For example, if someone says, “What do you do?” and your response is, “I’m an accountant,” in their head they go, click, I know what you do, you do tax returns, and then you’re immediately filed away in their ‘accountant’ pigeonhole, along with all the other accountants they’ve ever met.

However, if you say something like, “We maximise the profitability of small businesses”, someone will likely get curious and ask how you do that. That’s when you can share a short case study of how you have used tools and expertise to help a client.

A short but powerful case study story

A short case study story might go something like this…

“Here’s an example of a client that we work with. His name is Bob. Bob runs a building supply company. For Bob, we’re actually the virtual Financial Director for his company. In this role, we go into his business twice a month and have meetings with the Board of Directors. As well as that, we’ve also trained Bob’s staff on how to do good quality bookkeeping, we’ve shown someone how to do credit control, and we’ve taught them how to make sure that their financial systems are really effective. As a result, they’ve actually saved £400k on their budget this year!”

That’s an example of how you use storytelling in a powerful way when you’re doing a 1:1.

Can you see how much more impactful and intriguing a short story is compared to a cookie cutter response like, “Hi, I’m Mandy and I’m an accountant. I help people with bookkeeping and credit control”?

If you’d like our support creating some short, powerful networking stories that are sure to leave a lasting impression, book in for a free content review – we’d love to help you.

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