Time for your 60-second make-over

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Some people love them. Some people hate them. Those 60-second slots  to introduce ourselves at networking sessions are business Marmite.
However you feel about them, they can be important when it comes to making the right impression on would-be customers.
Do well, and you might make a lasting business-client relationship.
Do badly, and you pass up a chance to impress.
Here are my top 5 tips to ensure you make the right impression:

1. Say who you are and what you do.
You’d be amazed how many people forget this. It’s worth saying it up front, and reminding people quickly at the end.

2. Talk about what you can do for potential customers.
So many people talk about themselves and list their products. Would-be customers want to know how you can help them – sell the benefits.

3. Create a way to be remembered.
Taking something visual along is a good tip. Will you be the bloke with the hi-vis vest or the woman with the hula hoop? You’ll stand out from the crowd.
Creating a verbal hook for the end of your speech is also a good technique – something which plays on words in your industry always goes down well.

4. Write it down.
If you don’t want to write down the whole 60-second speech, write bullet points. You will forget things, otherwise. It’s useful to have something to pull you back into the flow if you feel yourself getting lost.

5. React to things around you.
Think about the audience, the location, or if something funny has just happened. Don’t be afraid to work a little of that in at the last minute – it’ll make your 60 seconds seem fresh.

Don’t worry if it feels daunting – most of us felt like that until we became used to doing it. I certainly did!
Practise makes perfect. So even if you have a few stumbles on the first few occasions you speak, you will improve.
Remember, there’s always someone new at these events who won’t have seen your 60 seconds before.
You can make a great first impression on them, and change the way the rest of the group sees you, too.
It’s time for your 60-second make-over!

Maria Williams is a copywriter, professional blogger, and PR for small business. Visit www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk.

Could your business help save a rare bee – by networking?

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The Shrill Carder Bee

Gwent Wildlife Trust has set up a networking event for businesses, to help companies make useful contacts while boosting its coffers. It’s also encouraging companies to become corporate members.

Networking In Nature will be staged at Magor Marsh Reserve between 4pm and 5.30pm on April 21. The cost is £10 per person, though it is free for Gwent Wildlife Trust member businesses.

As well as the usual opportunity to network, and a chance to find out about the important work of the trust, those attending will be given light refreshments and a guided nature walk.

The trust’s corporate members include Tata Steel, Cogent, Advanced Elastomer Systems, General Dynamics, International Rectifier, Solutia, Marshall’s Newport, Ancre Hill Vineyard, DS Smith Triwall, Frank Sutton, and Mandarin Stone.

Its corporate memberships start at £250 plus VAT, which entitles members to benefits like  acknowledgement in the magazine Wild About Gwent, and on the GWT website, invitations to talks, and volunteering opportunities. There are silver packages at £500 plus VAT, gold membership packages at £1,000 plus VAT, and platinum membership is at £2.000 plus VAT. Gold and platinum memberships include some staff discount tickets for GWT events. For the full details see here.

The trust works to restore “living landscapes” – areas of high quality wildlife habitat – protects local wildlife, and campaigns on wildlife and environmental issues across Gwent.

It runs externally-funded projects including the reintroduction of European water voles to the Gwent Levels, charcoal production at Croes Robert Reserve near Monmouth, and a project with farmers, landowners, and conservationists to save the Shrill Carder Bee, a tiny bee smaller than a thumbnail which is now only found in half a dozen sites in the UK. It’s vital to prevent the Shrill Carder Bee’s extinction – the loss of one bee species can lead to the loss of more in a domino effect, conservationists say, hitting plant pollination.

The trust’s People and Wildlife Project, based in Ebbw Vale and set up with a Big Lottery grant, is also helping to discover the wildlife on their doorstep in places like the Silent Valley Nature Reserve.

To book your place at the Magor Marsh networking session, call 02921 111 232, or book online at zokit.co.uk.

Maria Williams is a copywriter, professional blogger, and PR for small businesses at www.wordsyoucanuse.co.uk