I was at a great networking event today (more on that at a later date). As a part of this event, we had a “pass the microphone” segment. A lot of events do this — with or without the microphone. For some reason I got caught up in watching the various behaviors as each person in turn got their chance to address the crowd. Here are the different approaches I noticed.

  • Practiced and to the Point. These folks either knew they would be doing this — and had prepared accordingly —  or were good at preparing their introduction on the fly. They were clear, brief, and occasionally even funny. Several had specific requests they presented to the crowd.
  • Unpracticed. Whereas the previous group were prepared and comfortable, this group showed clear signs of nervousness. Most of them covered well by simply delivering their name and address. They’ll improve with a little bit of practice.
  • Unprepared Ramblings. Some of the “Unpracticed” folks tried to cover their discomfort by going on and on about their businesses and what they had to offer. While it was good that they were willing to get up and speak, they would benefit greatly from taking some time to figure out the message they want to convey and then practicing it so that it comes smoothly. This is one of those occasions when the “10-second commercial” actually is helpful.
  • Skipped Past. These folks I had a hard time understanding. When the microphone landed in their hands, they immediately passed it to the next person without taking a turn. Maybe they were unbearably shy maybe they didn’t feel like it was worth the trouble. Whatever their reason, the impression they gave was that they didn’t feel they weren’t part of the group — not really a good way to get what they might need from that same group.
  • Skipped Out. If I think the previous group hurt themselves by not choosing to take their turn, this group was a complete self-sabotage. These folks actually left the meeting as soon as the host introduced the introductions part of the proceedings. Now, I know that everyone has the occasional scheduling conflict, but when the introductions started, we were still well within the advertised time for the event. By leaving early they missed out on even listening to see if anyone else was a good possible connection for them.
If we are attending a networking event which has a “pass the microphone” segment, it behooves us to prepare ourselves for the opportunity. The more clear, concise, and to the point we are, the better our chances of a good result will be. If we aren’t sure of such an opportunity, this would be a great time to contact the organizer to find out the details.
Is our performance in such introductions going to result in someone rushing up to us with checkbook extended? Not likely. But it may result in people being interested enough to let us start the process of creating a great relationship.
Which might result in the checkbook being extended sooner than we think.

Photo credit: Michal Zacharzewski