A Failed Opportunity and A Learning Lesson … Is Your Message Clear?
Updated: Jan 12
Photo Credit: www.BigStockPhoto.com
“It is still not enough for language to have clarity and content… it must also have a goal and an imperative. Otherwise from language we descend to chatter, from chatter to babble and from babble to confusion.”
When people ask you what you do for a living, what is it that you tell them? Do they understand it well enough to send a referral to you who could benefit from what you do — a truly viable prospect? Can you express it with clarity?
I was put to the test when the check out person at my local pharmacy asked me about my job. She had heard me say how much I love what I do for a living in answer to an earlier question she asked.
Sooo….I thought…. “How can I describe what I do in a way that it will click with her? Also, there were other people in line behind me and around me who were going to hear what I said. I wanted to make it simple, easy to understand, and interesting.”
I began by saying I was an Executive Coach and got a blank stare. Way too simple and way too ambiguous. It’s a title, not a way of describing value. I knew I needed to say more, but my normal “elevator pitch” was probably not going to cut it either. But that’s what I went with … and I got another blank stare …. In this situation it just did not seem to work — it was too “jargony” and “buzz-wordy.” It rang with an emptiness.
I wasn’t getting anywhere and left the store disappointed in my failure to explain to this kind, inquisitive person what I did for a living.
Missed opportunity? Who knows … there were a number of people around me, and none probably truly understood what I did for a living.
Sitting in my car, I realized she taught me an important lesson. If I could frame what I do in a way that resonated and made sense to her, it would likely apply to just about anyone. Remove the fancy words, make it simple and clear!
Next time I see her, I’m going to first thank her (and tell her why I’m thanking her), and I plan to say this….
“I help people FIGURE OUT what they need to GET BETTER AT in order to become the BEST that THEY can be …. in their job and in their personal life.”
I then take them through a series of steps designed to enable them to become better at those things. My clients then get better and better. They get promotions, they earn more money and they come to truly love what they do for a living.”
Andy Robinson, Executive Coach
"Helping CEO's and executives maximize their influence and impact."