How a Chablis Wine learned me something about Networking.

Chablis - good wine

Chablis - good wine

I recently received a personal invitation to take part in a wine tasting event.
As I did not know anything about wine before, I decided to go for it.

Do I remember the wine? No.
Have I learned how to taste? Yes.
Do I want to talk about that? No. Maybe a little at the end.

Today I want to pin-point a valuable lesson that I learned at the wine tasting event. It’s about networking and having a 6 second pitch to present yourself.

Who are you, what do you do and why are you here?

So there I was. Amongst many others. Privileged to take a seat on the “master table”. As a result, people truly believed I knew something about wine. Some of them even figured I had to be a professional wine guy.
Nothing is a bigger lie however.

While tasting and discussing the specs of the wines, the woman next to me fired a question.

Who are you? Are you professionally into wine? What brings you here?

I was puzzled by this question. It came as a surprise. It shouldn’t have. Here’s why.

Be ready for networking

regardless of whom you talk to, consider the network effects.

regardless of whom you talk to, consider the network effects.

I started to explain who I was and what I did for a living. As I was doing so, I realized the woman I was talking to didn’t understand what I was saying at all.

I failed. I didn’t take my target group into account. I was unable to briefly explain my activities in the words of my audience. Yes, my audience was completely different to the one I’m used to talk to. So, why would I do an effort anyway? This audience isn’t important to me…

True. The lady next to me presumably won’t bring me a lot of future value. But here’s the thing. In networking, it’s not only about the direct relations. The power of the network is in second and third rank relations. So every encounter can be crucial: an easy-to-understand pitch is important.

The importance of a 6 seconds elevator pitch

Lesson learned: before you go to a networking event, prepare. Think about the kind of people who’ll be present and how you want to present yourself. Next time, before I enter a networking event, I will be prepared. I will prepare a 6 second elevator pitch that easily explains who I am, what I do and why I am at the event.

I believe 6 seconds should be sufficient. Most people don’t have a longer attention span after all.

Finally, I believe that to overcome being puzzled by a question, you might try the “ask before you being asked” approach. I don’t have any experience with this approach. But I believe it’ll work. I’ll try it next time.

What I’ve learned about wine?

Did I only learn something about networking? No, not at all. Being a part of the tasting event gave me an opportunity to distill ways to taste wine. I learned some of the vocabulary to talk about wine. For those with interest in wine and wine tasting, my tasting sheet is below.

In for a discussion over a glass of wine?

Touch me. The conversation doesn’t have to be about wine.

Wine tasting sheet (front) with my notes from the night.

Wine tasting sheet (front) with my notes from the night.

Wine tasting sheet (back) with my notes from the night.

Wine tasting sheet (back) with my notes from the night.

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