You only need one hat at business networking events

Three Dr Seuss Hats

Having a couple of business interests is really normal. For an awful lot of self employed people, micro-businesses and entrepreneurs it is the norm to have more than one business on the go at any one time. I guess that I could consider my corporate speaking and training work to be a separate business to my business networking training and my books.

But trying to cram all of your business interests into one 6o second or 40 second introduction isn’t good. The comment “I wear several hats” is more likely to turn people away, than it is to attract them to you. And here’s why.

At any networking event you have a lot of 40 or 60 second introductions to listen to and all of us have limited capacity to take all of the information in. Whilst you are doing your introduction, people are thinking about their own, still thinking about the person who has just sat down who they really want a 121 with, or wondering why their best client is repeatedly trying to call them. Cramming several businesses into less than a minute of broadcast may confuse people, or they may only remember one of the businesses you mentioned. It may also leave people wondering which one is your “main” business, and which one gets slightly less attention. To be a little more blunt, it could leave people wondering which one you are really serious about, not an impression you want to leave.

Mentioning several businesses in your introduction also presumes that the point of the introduction is to tell people about you. It isn’t. The point of the introduction is to engage with the audience and leave them wanting to find out more. The point of the introduction is to start the conversation, leaving people very keen to continue that conversation.

I get why people think they need to do it. In BNI, the rule is that you can only represent one business, so that’s simple. In 4Networking you can represent as many businesses as you like, so people think they need to stuff them all into their 40 seconds for the maximum value.

By the way, a little while ago I wrote an article about the different styles of each networking group and why you need a different approach for each one, you can read it here: Different networking groups need different approaches.

Instead of trying to tell people everything in your introduction, here is how I would suggest you use networking to introduce all of your business interests to your contacts:

  • Build yourself a killer 40 second introduction which leaves people wanting to find out more.
  • Use your 121s to find out about more about their business.
  • If appropriate follow up with them and organise a further 121.
  • Use your passive follow up – your articles, social media and Email marketing to introduce your business interests to your contacts.

In short, don’t rush to get everything into your 40 seconds. Use the networking meeting as the start of the conversation and then accept that it is your responsibility to continue that conversation.

Spend two hours with me, get your 40 seconds written for you and make a MASSIVE difference to your networking success – from just £295+VAT. Book here –

“I implemented one more thing from the Retreat and it has resulted in a new client which gives me a positive ROI within 6 days”
Claire McTernan – Employee to Business Owner

“within two months I went from an average of one client per month from networking, to five clients”
Samantha Rollins, Trinity Accountants