You know I often speak about networking and how to introduce yourself with some pizzazz. If I’ve heard this question from one person during those talks, I’ve heard it from a hundred – “how do I tell them everything they need to know about me in 30 seconds?”

The short answer is: You don’t.

And the question reflects a misunderstanding about the whole process of networking and attracting clients.

Think about it this way. Have you ever tried to feed a cute little furry creature?

When I was a kid, we vacationed in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, way up in the national forest, midway between Munising and Escanaba. And a favorite vacation activity was feeding the chipmunks that scampered around the resort. (Admittedly, there wasn’t all that much to do at Uno Lodge, Cabin #3)

So how do you feed a chipmunk?

You certainly don’t grab the little guy and stuff a big chunk of something down his throat. No. You put a tasty little morsel on the ground between the chipmunk and you. And you quietly, calmly watch and wait for him to creep up and nibble it. So cute, right?

Then you put another tasty little morsel on the ground, just a little bit closer to you. And you quietly, calmly watch and wait for him to creep up and nibble it.

And then? That’s right. Another tasty little morsel. And you get a kick out of watching him come in closer and nibble it. But you try to stay calm because you don’t want to scare him off.

And you might have to do that several more times … before finally you hold out a tasty little morsel in your fingertips.

The chipmunk has enjoyed every tasty little morsel you gave him. He believes you have something else that he’ll like just as much. And he’s lost his fear of being grabbed, because you’ve been so quiet and calm, watching and waiting.

So he comes right up to you and takes the tender little morsel you offer. He might eat it out of your hand, or maybe he takes it in his tiny paws and nibbles away, sitting right there beside you as if you’re old friends.

Think of your prospects as giant chipmunks.

If you go to a networking meeting, grab them and stuff a big chunk of something down their throat, they will flee. And your chance of getting them to come back so they can hear more of what you have to say is pretty slim.

If you use your 30- or 60-second introduction to spew every detail of your business, what you offer, and how very great it is, you will lose them in the first few words.

But if you put out one tasty little morsel at a time, and wait for them to come closer and gobble those morsels up … you can entice them into wanting more. Asking for more. And ultimately buying more.

Next time you’re networking, keep the chipmunks in mind. And let me know about the success you have.