People aren’t interested in what you do until they know who you are.

If you go to networking meetings to sell, you won’t be interested in this. If you’d like to have fun meeting people and building real relationships, you will.

Fun tip 1. Expose yourself

Step out from behind your business persona and expose the real you! People do business with people they like but how can anyone like you if you just spout a sales pitch? If you want to be remembered as interesting, charming, funny, passionate you need to BE those things. Truly passionate people never have to ‘say’ they are passionate – they demonstrate it in the way they behave.

Fun tip 2. Never ask “What do you do?”

There are a million and one ways to open a conversation and the more you know about a person the easier it is. Before pitching up to an event find out who is going to be there and check them out on line. Then you can start with a ‘real’ question (like WHY they do what they do). If you can break the ice with an on-line conversation before meeting someone face to face (get a good on-line profile picture so that you are recognised) then you’re way ahead of the game.

If you meet a complete stranger, stay personal. Start by paying them a compliment, ask them who is the most interesting person in the room, what are they expecting from the speaker, what is the most interesting thing they’ve heard so far, who do they want to meet. Listen to the answers and have a proper conversation. Don’t jump in with a sales pitch.

Fun tip 3. If someone asks what you do, don’t tell them about your business

Tell them the MOST interesting thing you do that isn’t about your business (if you can’t think of anything, get a life!) If they insist on knowing about your business, ask them why that is so important. Ask them questions about themselves. If they go into a sales pitch, interrupt and ask different questions (its not rude – you didn’t ask to be sold to). Get them away from business and find out who they really are.

Fun tip 4. Be prepared to be dazzled

Everyone you meet is so much more than their business and they are also standing in their own acre of diamonds – their circle of contacts. If you do all the talking there is no chance that you will ever discover who they are. By showing a genuine interest in people and discovering common interests and values rather than trying to sell to them you could find yourself drawn into that circle and who knows where that might lead.

Fun tip 5. Make people feel comfortable

When you are completely comfortable with yourself you stop thinking about you and give 100% of your attention to others. This makes people feel special and they relax. If its all about you it’ll never work. People mimick our posture and facial expressions so if you are relaxed and having fun, they will be too and they’ll always be happy to be around you.

What do you think? Will you abandon your elevator pitch and expose the real you?