I’m horrible at networking except in those weird circumstances where it doesn’t matter to my own work. In other words I can talk about my DayJob all night long but once the subject of what I actually DO outside of the DayJob approaches I clam up.
Case in point. Years ago I was working as a Florist and a woman paused in front of my display, she had on a UMaine hockey hat. It looked as though she’d had it for years. I nonchalantly said, “Did you go to UMaine or are you just a fan of the hockey team?” She smiled, touched the hat, said, “Both, why?” We then launched into a conversation about UMaine, dorms we lived in, frat parties etc… It turned out she worked for a local company and was involved in the higher up aspects of its running.
I ended up scoring a great deal of business for the company I work for but could have easily have turned the conversation to what I DO, and perhaps turned that conversation into business for me. But you see back then I didn’t have the words. It wasn’t that I lack passion or drive or ambition it was simply that I lacked the words.
I’ve done a lot of reading about elevator pitches, guerilla marketing, punk marketing (worst book ever) and other assorted crap that tells me how to market myself. Heres the real deal: People feel it when you do. You can’t fake being authentically excited about what you DO outside of your DayJob. When people feel that real excitement, they smile, lean forward and listen.
In the past when I talked about bookbinding, something I truly enjoy, I got that response. I wasn’t able to follow it to excited discussion. Why, I’ll never know. Recently I’ve been talking about the eZine, art journaling, my classes and art; people seem to get it. Even if they aren't into art, journaling or the internet they listen.
All the stuff I’m interested in is converging into one big amalgamation of excitement and love. It shows when I talk about it. People can see and feel my excitement about all this STUFF. The best thing is that I can talk about it; I’m finding words to describe what I’m doing.
My DayJob boss could tell you this is probably due to me spending time in her office telling her all about it. I think I may have told her I was practicing my elevator pitch on her, I may not have. Hopefully she does not mind my using her in such a manner.