Why is it so hard to say what you do?

Hands connecting jigsaw pieces

The introduction or ‘elevator pitch’. Those one or two sentences you prepare for opening networking conversations or adding to your website or materials. On the face of it such a simple thing, but the cause of massive frustration and soul-searching.

I’m on a course at the moment about selling (in an authentic non-pushy way). So many of the people there are really wrestling with their intro. Including me!

I think it’s harder for ‘heart-centred’ businesses, and those where you’re not delivering a well-known function, like plumber or accountant: you’re delivering you, and your individual jigsaw of passion, experience and skill.  

The process of working on an introduction stirs up a lot of internal stuff. The fuzziness and self-doubt that you’ve been working around gets brought to centre stage. It can be hard to be selective about what you say when you’re a multipassionate person with an urge to contribute all you can.

Plus, of course, not everyone is good at being concise or marshalling ideas into order. And some people may have blocks around the very idea of introducing themselves to people.

Here are a couple of tips for working on an intro.

  • Don’t keep pushing too long so that you dig yourself into the ground and get stressed. Then you lose perspective and just end up shuffling words around without capturing what you need to. It’s a process: let it be messy and take time.
  • See it as the sign outside a restaurant. It’s not trying to give the whole menu, but to get people to come in and take a look. Give a glimpse of you but aim toward the diners you want to attract. What sort of food are they looking for? What sort of dining experience do they like? What are they hungry for?
  • Give the listener/reader something that grounds their uncertainty. You can sprinkle a little pixie dust, but it has to be on top of a layer that anyone can understand, and that you can stand firmly on.

If all this sounds familiar, you might like a new pdf product I’ve made to help. It’s called You can say what you do – untangle the introduction for your heart-centred business. It talks more about why intros are hard and the process of creating them, and gives a fill-in-the-spaces exercise to get you to a draft version. Find out more here.

 

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