Be Prepared to Collaborate!

Collaborate DC is an event that offers great opportunities for those that are prepared to learn and share. The amazing lineup of high-profile speakers, workshop moderators and roundtables will draw a crowd of movers and shakers that are eager to form partnerships and alliances that will drive future business.

However, this isn’t a time for “star-gazing” but rather a time for telling your personal story and sharing your big ideas in a concise but compelling way. Some people call it your “elevator speech,” but to me that seems to convey more of a “pitching” approach that can often be a turn-off.

In a networking environment, it often is best to start with a question such as “What motivated you to attend this event?” which can help you gauge the personal agenda of who you are speaking with. Having this frame of reference you are in a better position to speak about WHAT you do, WHO you do it for, and HOW it benefits them. In your brief conversation if you can quickly identify how you can help someone else realize their goals you open the door to future opportunities because you are seen as a resource rather than a salesperson trying to close a deal.

I must admit that when I had my own company, I was more often in a mindset of gauging “Is this person a qualified prospect?” Now that I’m retired and serving as a SCORE volunteer mentor and counselor, my personal agenda is discovering how I can help entrepreneurs and business owners achieve their dreams. If you’re looking for FREE resources that can help you be successful, visit and for a wealth of information that can accelerate your business growth.


Len Johnson has more than 40 years of experience providing award-winning marketing services for corporate, nonprofit and government clients. When he sold his business in 2009, Len benefited from the advice of a SCORE counselor who helped frame the financial details of the transaction. Upon retirement, he began his tenure as a SCORE volunteer mentor.

By Len Johnson


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