The scenario is all too familiar – you are at a networking event, tradeshow, or cocktail party and someone asks, “What do you do?” Many people dread this question because they think their answer must be creative or profound. In reality, your answer should try to serve as a conversation starter.
All too often, someone responds and you can see the questioner’s eyes begin to glaze over. So how do you alter this scenario so that your “elevator speech” makes an impact on those asking?
Begin by taking a second to think about who is asking and why. You want to make the conversation about that person… people love to talk about and hear about themselves. And if the person has an issue you can help with, even better! Emphasize his or her needs rather than what you do. Focus on what the client values.
Answer the “so what” before you are asked. Don’t just say, “I sell IT systems” – the response is likely an unspoken “so what?” Explain what your technology can do for the potential client. Don’t just mention features… again, focus on the prospect and what those features can do for the client and how you can help the person achieve goals.
Speak to the person asking, not above him. Use language he will understand – that doesn’t mean to talk to him like a child, but simplify so that what you say makes sense.
Another fantastic way to better your short introduction is by using specific examples tailored to the person with whom you are speaking. Ask questions and then tailor your comments to reflect her response. Tell stories about ways you have worked with clients in the past.
Remembering some of these tips should help you next time you are approached at a gathering.