Tell Your Story So They 'Get You'

"So... what do you do, exactly?"

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The dreaded cocktail party question. Apparently the length of time it takes for this question to come up in conversation is directly related to where you are. In the US it is one of the first things anyone wants to know about you. In Ireland, by comparison, it comes up only after you have fully discussed the weather and what you'll have to drink. 

Not being able to properly describe what you're doing is a missed opportunity. You don’t need to be a master orator, but you do need to be able to tell your story in a compelling way. Your message should be on point whether you’re describing your business online or in a conversation.

Here are two easy ways to tighten up your message and tell your story to strangers and prospects…

1. Make Your Tagline Work

A tagline is your chance to describe your business and its benefits online or in conversation. It functions as a slogan and its job is to describe what you are doing in one line so that people 'get it'.

A good tagline takes a bit of work but you don’t need to hire a creative type. This is something you can do yourself. Start by answering three questions:

1.    What does your business do?

2.    For whom?

3.   What benefits does it offer those people?

Write those answers down and delete any unnecessary words. Don’t focus on what your product/service does, but rather think about the benefits that it offers your target audience.

For example if you have an app that automatically cleans toilets, your three answers will be:

1.    An app that automatically schedules your toilet to be cleaned.

2.    For busy professionals who don’t like cleaning toilets.

3.   More free time and less time with their arm down the toilet.

Now delete… until you end up with something like: “An app that cleans toilets, so you don’t have to.”

Be clear, be concise, and be honest. Convey the benefits.

2. Get your pitch down

If your tagline is doing its job, then it works as a one line answer to describe your business. Beyond that, you need an elevator pitch - a couple of sentences to describe your product, its benefits, the value and why it is unique.
Normal humans are not naturally good at pitching but a few simple rules can help fix that. If your granny can understand it, then your pitch works.

  • Lose the jargon and industry-speak 
  • Don't tell lies
  • Honesty is refreshing
  • Speak like a normal person in plain English - the people you are pitching to are normal too 
  • Drop the BS and overused terms like 'disrupting' or 'revolutionizing,'  no one believes you anyway
  • You don't have 'secret sauce' so stop saying you do
  • Be unique – instead of describing your business as ‘The Uber for XYZ’ just explain what it does
  • Authenticity is powerful