A practical examination

Do you manage to listen attentively the whole time other people are speaking even if you don’t find the subject very interesting?  Do you concentrate fully and take in everything that is being said or do you find that afterwards you can’t remember much and wish that you had paid attention properly or at least feel guilty because you didn’t?

Well, if you don’t listen carefully, it’s likely that you’re very far from unique. Most people find it very easy to take in their favourite TV programme or film but show them a documentary on a subject that they’re not passionate about and they’ll probably fail to recall much of the content. You can have a similar problem when you try to read a ‘heavy’ book; following the plot (if there is one!) will be much harder than keeping track of the latest top ten thriller.

With this in mind, it’s a fair bet that when you come to present your business in detail at a networking meeting, you won’t find everybody absolutely enthralled by what you have to say.  You’re going to have to make it different and interesting.  One way of doing this is to provide a practical demonstration of your skills or services.

This idea seems to have taken off amongst members of the groups we have visited recently. One of the most unexpected events was a demonstration of acupuncture techniques (by an acupuncturist of course!) using another member rather than a dummy. This was a risky strategy in a way because almost anything could have gone wrong but thankfully, nothing did and the ‘patient’ was impressed that the procedure was painless and left him feeling very relaxed.

A less adventurous , but still important, set of tasks was implemented by the owner of a cleaning company who showed her audience exactly how the mirrors in the meeting room should be cleaned.

Another interesting idea is to actually give your listeners something which they take away and use to their advantage. We saw an accountant do this recently with a worksheet to enable members working from home to use a model which would show exactly how they could maximise their tax allowances. The prospect of saving some money certainly compels attention and most people present went away with something to think about.

Perhaps what you do is not straightforward or easy to understand. The best example of a practical exercise seen recently has to be a neurodevelopmentalist actually donning her gymnasium outfit and showing the club members the exercises which help to retrain brains.

So when it’s your turn, give some thought to how you can achieve maximum impact. Your business may not be one that easily lends itself to the approaches mentioned and perhaps it’s not practical at all but there’s definitely a way to present it in an interesting and attention – grabbing manner ,so it’s well worth giving this plenty of thought beforehand.