Thursday, August 02, 2007

What You Do -- Once More, With Feeling!

This is an article that I will be submitting to Let me know what you think!

Who are you?One of the most challenging questions we all receive in any networking opportunity is the seemingly obvious, “So, what do you do?” Well, of course, you know what you do, but communicating it to others in a way that doesn't make them stare at you blankly can be a bit more of a challenge. The trick, of course, is to elicit some sort of emotion from your listener. The other trick is that you must continue to work on your presentation. You may even need more than one!

By the way, you'll recognize those who have chosen not to work on this. At a networking event they're the ones who say things like “I'm a real estate agent” or even the (slightly) better “I find people homes”. Bo-o-oring!

The first step in the process is to ask yourself why people would buy from you or engage your services at all. I'll give you a hint: It's not the widget you sell – it's what your customer gets from the widget you sell. Take for example our long-suffering real estate agent. As I said, “I find people homes” is a start, but I think we can get a bit more emotional than that. What images does the word “home” evoke? Magical family gatherings around the holidays? A safe, warm place to hide when the storm is raging outside? How about a source of light and laughter that your children will carry with them no matter where they go?

Any one of these would get my interest more than "I'm a real estate agent”.

To make this truly effective, you've got to use it and let it evolve. Personally, as a Web programmer, I know for a fact that even a whisper of the technical jargon with which I deal on a daily basis is enough to make my audience's eyes glaze over. So, I made it my goal to be understandable when dealing with technical topics. My path started with “When you're dealing with the Web, I'm the geek who speaks”. Not particularly “emotional”, but it was at least fun. With a little work, I came up with “Clearing up the Confusion on the Web” -- not bad, but not what I would call a real “grabber”.

Hearing Scott Ginsberg speak one time really brought things into focus. After hearing him talking about personal branding, I decided to push the envelope a little. From that point on, when someone asked me what I do, I told them that I am the international superhero known as “The Webmaster”! And what does such a champion do?

I rescue people from their own websites.”

Since I've adopted that phrase, it never fails to get a laugh. The best thing, though, is it also gets folks to ask for more. And, really, in a networking situation, what more could you ask than to be memorable and to arouse people's curiosity?

So, put in a little effort. Be brave. Pull out the emotion -- whether laughter, worry, or curiosity. The worst that can happen is have that other person look at you and say “Huh?” But at least they're talking with you!

So, what do you do?

1 comment:

Jacki Hollywood Brown said...

When I read the phrase, "I rescue people from their own websites" I added your blog to my daily reading. I built my own website (and yes, I need rescuing) and I manage another website as a volunteer but I have a superhero that rescues me on that website.