One of my favorite bloggers lately, Penelope Trunk, just posted about first impressions and thinking about this in a business context reminded me of a quote I once heard: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” Assuming the person you’re giving a first impression to is still standing in front of you after they take in your visual impression (or even if they’re running away) the first words out of your mouth (or that you yell as they flee) need to be crafted for maximum verbal impression.
In real life I’m probably not the kind of person you’ll hear quoting Einstein but isn’t the whole purpose of this blog is so I can leave a digital trail of little cerebral crumbs that showcase my brilliance? Duh. I picked this quote because so many of the professionals I meet are amazing at what they do but seem to struggle in the face of no holds barred personal questions such as “What do you do?” Hard hitting, right? Well, it can be if you aren’t prepared so let’s keep it simple.
The first thing you need to do, before you even open your mouth is GET EXCITED. Visualize the words that motivate and inspire you and put that energy behind the tone of every word you’re about to speak. Forget the word pitch and start thinking in terms of icebreakers. What is an interesting aspect of what you do that grabs in a way that encourages a “tell me more” response? This is your hook in the fish’s mouth so lead with your most unique business or personal one-liner. You’ll want to craft at least one line after this that mentions your position and maybe a recent accomplishment, but dance carefully on the information/bragging line. After this, revisit your work philosophy or mission statement in a toned down way and close with and open-ended offer to help your target in some way. Here’s mine:
“I’m one of the few bloggers effortlessly quoting Einstein and using the word “duh” in the same breath and I am the founder of Modern Marketeur, a consultant spin commentary on social media, sales and marketing that’s been doubling viewership daily. I feel successful everyday and aim to take the edge of the usual How To chatter. What part of your business is struggling lately?….no….wait!…come back!…. why are you fleeing??!!”