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Using Conversation Marketing When Networking

Today I’d like to share about an internet marketing strategy for businesses, called Conversation Marketing, and saw how it can also help job seekers with their job hunt.

I attended a talk by Ian Lurie, President of Portent Interactive, discussing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for online content producers.  Portent Interactive is a Seattle-based Internet Marketing and SEO company, helping businesses practice intelligent internet marketing.

Ian was a great speaker.  His talk was humorous, insightful and to-the-point.  In addition to providing a fun and useful discussion, Ian was also very kind to be sharing with the attendees his concise (a big plus!) and helpful book on an internet marketing strategy, called Conversation Marketing, distilled from his years of experience.

I found this Conversation Marketing not only useful to businesses, but also useful to job seekers, particular in a face-to-face interaction, such as at networking events.  Here are the six rules of Conversation Marketing and how you can apply them to your job search:

  1. Know the Room. “Try to learn the nature of the people with whom you converse.”
  2. When you show up at a networking event, understand the type of audience you have in the room.  Are they knowledgeable in your field and profession?  What’s their purpose of attending this event?  What’s their background and “language” (such as technical, marketing, business, HR, etc.)?

  3. Dress Appropriately. “That’s appropriately, not cool.”
  4. Understand the culture of this crowd and know what is expected.  You should dress AND behave appropriately for your audience, not what you think is cool for you.

  5. Sound Smart. “This rule could actually be ‘Don’t sound stupid.’”
  6. This is achieved by successfully carrying out the first two rules. Then you’ll know what are “good” topics you can talk about.  What defines “good” here is what your audience is most likely to be interested in.

  7. Make a Connection. “It’s great to meet everyone at a party, but you want them to talk to you later on, too.”
  8. The main purpose of meeting people at a networking event is to have follow-on conversations.  Oftentimes the settings of these events are not best suited to in-depth discussion.  Not only the environment is probably loud, most people there are looking to networking and don’t necessary want to be “locked in” to have a long conversation with just you.  Test your listener’s interest and build enough rapport to connect later on.

  9. Brag Modestly. “At a party, nothing’s better than having the host introduce you as ‘The person I told you about.  You have to talk to him/her.’”
  10. It’s uncomfortable for most of us to boast shamelessly about ourselves.  This highlights the importance of having your existing connection introduce you to new contacts.  But if you don’t know anyone, bringing up a concise summary of your core competencies or major achievements when appropriate is a good “modest brag.”

  11. Observe and Adjust. “A conversation is really millions of near-instant observations and adjustments.”
  12. Look for clues for whether or not your audience is engaged and interested in what you say.  The best thing is to listen to them.  Find what business problems they are facing and their professional (or personal) interests.  Talking about topics on your listener’s mind is the best way to build a connection, gain their attention and engage them in deeper conversation.

You might already be aware of at least some of these conversation rules.  But by taking a look at them together and being mindful of how all of them work together is helpful in improving the effectiveness of your “marketing” effort.

Have you used any of these techniques at networking events?  Please share your thoughts and experience.  Also, a big “thank-you” to Ian Lurie.  You can learn more about Ian and his company, Portent Interactive, here.

One Comment

  1. Posted September 11, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I like your advice to know the room many people don’t adjust their message for the audience

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