“What do you do?” is a question you hear all the time – but how do you quickly introduce yourself without sounding too boring or vague, or perhaps worse, too detailed and specific?

Here’s my tip to answer this question in the easiest, most engaging way possible: Imagine that you’re talking to a 6-year-old. Say it in a way that they would understand. If I say to my kids “I’m a communication coach,” they have no idea what I mean. If I tell them “I help people feel confident and talk really easily to anyone,” they get it.

“Oh yeah, you’re like a teacher,” they say. “Yep, I help people feel confident when they speak.” That’s something they can grasp! Sometimes people spend 10 minutes describing what they do, and you still don’t really understand.

Conversely, if you just say “I’m a lawyer” – it doesn’t give me any insight into your specialty or what your day is like. If you say, “I’m a divorce lawyer, and I really take pride in helping people navigate difficult transitions in their family life,” now I could maybe recommend you to someone! I get a sense of your personality – and it could spark a longer conversation.

An “elevator pitch” is your chance to invite people in, not just to understand what you do, but to want to learn more about you. Your introduction should be the right combination of honest, clear, and specific – AND super simple.

The best way to practice introducing yourself, it turns out, is not by repeating those lines at networking events. It’s actually by talking to your kids or imagining yourself at the front of a kindergarten classroom on career day. How would you get a 6-year-old inspired to be your customer?

Imagine introducing yourself as simply as possible, using language that is inviting and clear. You see, if you practice introducing yourself powerfully,  you’ll continue to have conversations that matter and expand your opportunities in life. It’s that simple.

 

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