It takes some forethought and practice to know how to describe yourself.
I once had a meeting set up by a friend who knew I was starting a new venture. He knew someone who was generous and who had some experience similar to mine and arranged for us to meet. I prepared what I had and was very excited to impress this stranger. I had great ideas, plenty of experience to validate my approach, and some written explanations and examples. I shared them all.
Finally, I stopped my “presentation” and looked expectantly at him. He said, <direct quote>, “You have been talking for 20 minutes and I still don’t know what the hell you do.”
Ouch. But a really, really good ouch.
I went home and Dave took one look at me and said, “Something just happened to you…and it is good.” He was right. I had asked some questions of my “benefactor” and he had headed me in a good direction. I gathered up a flip chart, post it notes, an easel and a myriad of colored markers and pens and my journal while Dave reserved a suite room for me at a hotel in a town an hour away. I stayed two nights and three days. I created and defined and practiced and read and came back with an elevator speech and a list of services I provided.
It was the first time I had heard of an elevator speech and it was the spark I needed to launch a successful coaching and training business that has taken me to some very interesting places, learning some very interesting lessons, and meeting some very interesting people. It was the start of significant growth for me, professionally.
All from a failed attempt at describing myself and what I do.
I sent a note of appreciation to the man (whose name I honestly don’t remember) and a bookmark with a quote on it with:
It’s never too late. Are you in your third third? Make it your BEST third.