The Best Business Tip I Ever Got

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There’s a tip I stumbled on a while back, and have found it to be incredibly valuable — most especially because I’m not comfortable expressing myself out loud… in front of people, even just one person. Like many of you, I start to sweat when someone asks, “So, what do you do?”
I cam across a recent article by Ann Convery and found it addressed this very pressing need, especially if you’re in business… any size business. The article discussed the need for a “verbal business card” a way to answer that question so that your words do as much for you and your business as that paper business card you’ve labored to create.
Think about it. You’ve given a good deal of thought and planning to your paper business card. The colors. The logo. The printing. Now do the same for your “verbal business card” and you’ll be amazed what this can do for your business.
Create your own “verbal business card” by writing down what you do, as simply and plainly as possible — as you might if you were talking to a friend. If there are special terms in your line of work, try and use them sparingly. If your profession is very technical, explain it using simple, straightforward language and examples that non-technical people can relate to. Don’t minimize (Oh, I’m just a…) or over-sell (I’m the greatest, most fantastic…) yourself. Just answer the question.
Now read the answer aloud and ask yourself…
     • Does this clearly explain what I do?
     • Does it use active (-ing) verbs & adverbs?
     • Does it sound forced? Use humor, and fail?
     • Does it sound confident?
     • If you heard this, would you understand it?
As your working on your wording, remember to keep your “verbal business card” short and sweet. The attention span of the average American adult is shrinking fast, and if you can’t get to the point, and get to it quickly, the listener will simply tune out. Your words need to hit on an emotional trigger that goes under the watchful don’t-try-and-sell-me radar of the listener.
Emotion… feelings sell. Data… your story or product features don’t. Remember this.
Once you have the wording just right, it’s time to practice. Even if you feel silly… even if you’re convinced it won’t help… practice makes all the difference.
Memorize your verbal business card and say it aloud until you feel comfortable and the words come naturally. Even though you’ve rehearsed — it shouldn’t sound like you’re reciting for a school play. The idea is to be ready with the right words, but also to be able to deliver your answer naturally and comfortably
You can practice this on others — friends and family — to get the reaction of a familiar person before you try it out on a stranger. Remember to make good eye contact, keep a comfortable distance from the other person and speak loudly and clearly – so your words are sure to be heard over the other noises in the room.
You can use this same technique to prepare answers to other likely questions — including the toughies like pricing and costs. Think about how you want to handle these issues and follow the same technique — write your answer first, then say it aloud. This kind of practice will help you feel comfortable giving answers that someone might not want to hear, and build firmness and confidence into your tone.
With a little thought and planning, you’ll be able to clearly, confidently share what you do with others when they ask… and enjoy doing it.

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