• Learn How to Build a Powerful Personal Brand That Will Differentiate You and Allow You To Compete in the Global Marketplace.
  • How to Communicate Everything You Do

    A lot of people have trouble communicating what they do.  You might run into this problem already or it will be a challenge in the near future.  The reason why I believe everyone will encounter this issue is that our jobs no longer completely define us.  Everything we do, whether it is inside or outside of the workplace, is becoming more visible online.   Yes, a blog is something you “do.”  And yes, working out at a gym is an activity that you do as well.  But what happens when you go to a networking event and introduce yourself to someone else?  What do you say to them so that they remember what you do and want to connect with you to deepen the relationship?

    I’ve been challenged with communcating what I do because I do so much now.  I’ve learned how to condense it and articulate my introduction, so it’s effective and is said confidently.  Today, I’m going to teach you how to do just that.

    What you shouldn’t do

    If I wanted to be real obnoxious, I would recite my entire biography to the opposite party, when introducing myself.  I would say:

    My name is Dan Schawbel and I’m the leading personal branding expert for Gen-Y.  I am the author of Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success, which is due out on April 7th.  I have a blog, magazine, awards, online podcast series and I write articles on personal branding for leading blogs such as Mashable.  I’m also a social media specialist with EMC Corporation, a leading technology company.  I interview successful business people, speak to colleges and organizations and do some side consulting for individuals looking to build their brand and stand out from the crowd.  

    Without going any further, it seems like I just coughed up a summary of my resume to the person at the networking event.  If I were them, I would discount me as being self-serving, bragging and obnoxious.  They would probably still be nice to me, but not want to take it anywhere else based on my introduction.

    Goals for your introduction

    When introducting yourself to someone else, your goals should be as follows:

    • To get people interested enough in who you are and what you do so they want to continue the conversation and, at least, exchange business cards with you.
    • To promote your own business, the company you work, while positioning yourself.
    • To come off the right way, so that you aren’t condescending or bragging to the opposite party.
    • To make them want to ask you questions about what you do.  They might even be interested in your services or recommend you to their peers!

    Steps to building an effective introduction

    I think almost everyone can tighten up their own introduction and make it something of remark and special.  Aside from having an introduction that is too long, many people sell themselves short by only mentioning one thing they do (letting that define them).  An introduction is a chance to capture someones attention.  Here is a process I’ve developed in order to help you communicate everything you do:

    1. Write down your bio straight from your memory, without looking at your website or resume.
    2. Take your bio and break it down into bullets, listing the most significant activity to the least.
    3. Circle the top three (or four) items listed (this could be your day job, your blog, etc).
    4. Write down a single sentence which captures all three (or four) major items and make sure it reads nicely.
    5. Recite your introduction ten times, so that it get’s in your memory stream.

    Example)  My name is Dan Schawbel and I’ve written a book, publish a magazine and author a blog on the topic of personal branding, and I help people effectively brand themselves online using web 2.0 technologies.

    My situation might be unique because everything I do is somewhat connected to the topic of personal branding.  This allows me to use four items instead of three.  Plus, I’m able to wow the listener because I do a lot in addition to a full-time job.  Based on this introduction, people may even assume that I do more than I’ve actually listed here.  The point is that you don’t want to give them too much and you don’t want to give them too little.


    What is your introduction?  

    Leave yours in the comment.  I’ll give a free copy of Personal Branding Magazine to the best 3 introductions.


    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in Career Development, Marketing, Personal Branding, Success Strategies
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    19 comments on “How to Communicate Everything You Do
    1. avatar
      krissy knox says:

      My name is Kristina Knox and I fundraise to fight cancer,while taking care of my husband who was diagnosed with two cancers — and I’m an author of several blogs which I really enjoy writing for.

      krissy knox 🙂

    2. avatar
      @gcrush says:

      My name is georgette and I am a self expressing earthling sharing an artistic adult playground via online through creative photographs, video, and by playful social networking for our website bohocrush.com. Ever hear of twitter?

    3. avatar

      I’m Steve Woodruff, and I help pharma clients and best-in-class vendor/partners establish new business relationships. I’m the walking eHarmony of pharmaceutical training and marketing.

    4. avatar
      Possicon says:

      My name is Sheriff Shittu, am a Web Developer and Strategist. I have developed sites for Satisfied clients which include Federal Universities. I write blogs on how to effectively use the web for business at Web Trends NG. I also train people on Development.

    5. avatar
      Aloha Lavina says:

      Hello, I am Aloha Lavina, a doctoral student studying culture and creativity in Southeast Asia. I am a teacher and photographer, and I am passionate about learners’ passions.

    6. avatar

      I keep it simple…If you over think it, it will show. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

      One thing to keep in mind as you craft this “short pitch” is to keep in mind that the person you talk to doesn’t care about what YOU have done…instead all they care about is WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR THEM. So be sure to communicate that in your initial introduction pitch.

      “My name is Scott and I help individuals, authors and professionals get the most out of their social networking and marketing activities and by doing so help them generate higher profits and more worthwhile connections. What is it that you do?”

      The simpler the better…what are your thoughts?

    7. avatar

      Hi, I’m Mark Olson. I create marketing and communications for organizations that are in transition, whether they are new companies entering existing markets, existing companies entering new markets, or new companies creating new markets.

    8. avatar
      Sarah says:

      Hi, my name is Sarah and I help local businesses with promotions, guerilla marketing, and alternative networking. How can I help you or your business?

    9. avatar

      My comments:

      I think your introduction is your headline and should be one succinct sentence vs. and…and…and…

      That being said, the succinct sentence should:
      Use words that encourage a reaction and curiosity
      Use an active voice that encourages the listener to satisfy their curiosity by asking…*tell me more”

      My name is Craig Campbell…I create corporate recruiting strategies for Fortune 500 companies in technology, retail and hospitality

    10. avatar
      reinkefj says:

      Hi, I’m fjohn. Don’t ask about the F; school kids are mean. In real life, solve complex difficult customer-impacting problems technology problems. In my spare time, I blog, run several alumni rings, publish Jasper Jottings weekly, and just explore the tech space. I’m at a lull in a diverse career during which I wrote a book, did some good works, and explored what I want to be when I grow up. I just like helping people as fellow human beings should. http://krunchd.com/reinkefj

    11. avatar

      Great post, Dan, and much needed info for many folk. One of the hardest things to figure out is the good ol’ elevator speech, and you’ve provided a nice formula.

    12. avatar

      Hi, I am Doug Caldwell. I am flattered that you want to know what I do, but tell me about your interests/passions as I can explain better from your viewpoint….That was very interesting, I (aware of, passionate as well, most interested, no little about and most curious so tell me more, etc…..). My role in your interest/passion would be to facilitate omg surprises. Putting the WOW into a learning experience as a trainer, instructor or facilitator in your field…Oh, what does omg mean; that is your Oh My Gosh! surprise I/we can really our success.

    13. avatar
      yinka olaito says:

      what a great instruction to follow. i always thought along this line. Sometimes I wonder whether i am not trying to impress someone. With with a short introduction like below, I have come to like me for being me. I am yinka olaito, I help individuals and organizations to achieve premium value in their brands through adequate positioning of their brands to those who can pay premium…

    14. avatar
      Erik Florida says:

      My name is Erik Florida, I am not from Florida, it’s actually Irish. I am an engineer by day, a student, web designer and entrepreneur by night and weekend. I am in school for a Multimedia and Visual Communications degree, while starting a web design company with my brother. I am passionate about design, business, marketing, and the Web.

    15. avatar

      Storyteller, learner, and teacher. New media producer and educator.

    16. avatar

      I’d love anyone’s feedback on my quick pitch:
      “My name is Phil Gerbyshak and I’ve written a book, publish management and productivity articles daily and frequently speak to groups and work with people looking to improve their lives and their careers by connecting them to the people, ideas and information they need to compete in the always on world we live in.”

    17. avatar
      Adriana says:

      and what about if I work for several companies? web marketing company, crafts company and my own graphic design studio

    18. avatar
      Stan Dubin says:

      I’m an author, publisher, blogger, father and husband…not necessarily in that order.

    2 Pings/Trackbacks for "How to Communicate Everything You Do"
    1. […] How to Communicate Everything You Do. Can you condense your personal message into an effective introduction? Some valuable ideas from Dan Schawbel at the Personal Branding Blog. […]

    2. […] always have a lot of projects on your plate.  How are you able to manage everything and when someone asks you what you do, how do you respond so that you aren’t talking about yourself for an […]

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