Most great networkers go to great lengths to be certain they always have a business card at hand. I am known to pack cards in my wallet, suit-jacket pocket, shirt pocket, note folder, briefcase, glove compartment — you name it. I’m certain there’s always one within reach. Yet the thing that a lot of us forget, or avoid at all cost (and it can cost business) is preparing a verbal business card.
What is a verbal business card? It’s a short effective answer to the all-important question: “What do you do?” It’s most effective when it’s short and concise, one sentence. You want it to be clear, express your passion and state the benefit of your work (inspire interest). Why? Because sometimes at a networking meeting, in the time it takes to shake a hand, one sentence is all you have time to say. There’s nothing worse than listening to someone stumble or ramble pointlessly when describing their business at a breakfast meeting. Stumbling is painful, rambling wastes our time. So, I recommend that everyone sit down and come up with a list of several concise one-liners that will work for you.
One of mine is:
I help people attract business by coaching them to be more dynamic communicators.
Some tips for coming up with your statements:
- Keep it one sentence.
- Keep it simple and direct.
- Say what you do. What is your business verb? (Sell, Coach, Assist, Design, Heal?)
- Choose the words to fit your audience. Avoid jargon or far-out concepts unless the group will understand them.
- Express your passion when you say it, and Have Fun!
Next you’re ready for the longer explanation. This happens when they ask you for more. Keep it under two minutes. Lincoln gave us a powerful example with the Gettysburg Address. It’s very powerful and memorable; it’s less than two minutes long. You’ll use this one for around the table introductions.