This week’s blog post is derived from the response I received from a recent attendee at one of my talks. She had been very enthusiastic so I asked her what she had learned specifically. This is her reply:
Things I took away from yesterday:
- That it’s OK to be on the quiet side at networking events – I am surrounded by [male] ‘chest-beaters’ all justifying their own existence and who talk at people rather than to them!
- To be specific about what I am looking for in a referral – something that I need to work on …. It’s not all about [a type of target she mentioned during the course] … and that this may vary depending on my audience.
- And to stop apologising for being an accountant, which I often do and a close friend tells me off regularly for it. This must come across in my ‘first impression’ but won’t be a good impression to make on someone. I can stand out from my peers by being me and being proud and positive about my profession! I definitely need to work on the impression that I leave people with ….
She added: “Your presentation yesterday was very engaging and entertaining.”
Just to amplify her 3 key main points:
1 – I had explained that introverts are often more effective networkers than extroverts. The latter tend to talk too much whereas introverts are better at listening to what other people are saying. If you listen more effectively you can ask better questions and learn more about them. The more you learn the better you can focus the stories you tell so that they resonate. This will help you and your stories to be more memorable.
2 – It’s too easy to sound like ‘just another accountant’ when you talk with people such as bankers, lawyers and fellow attendees at networking events. This means they are unlikely to remember you or to refer business to you. You can ensure such conversations are more worthwhile if you can be more specific about the referrals you seek. This means talking about the type of people you want to meet in terms that are memorable and distinct.
3 – Absolutely accountants should be proud and positive about being an accountant. If you’re not giving a positive impression why should anyone believe that you are the right accountant for them or for anyone they know?
All of these points are also addressed in my Successful Practice Programme, come up in my other work with sole practitioner accountants and in my talks at conferences and seminars.