The Perfect Intro

You know those 90s John Hughes romantic comedies where the protagonist is trying to win over an impossible love? She confides in her male best friend, and the story concludes when she realizes that her soul mate was there with her all along? That's how I feel about many of my smart entrepreneurial friends. I seek answers from the most famous people, but it's my friends who often hold the answers.

Take a recent personal branding exercise I put myself through. I was trying to rethink how I present Futureforth and explain what I do for a living. Too often my answer to, "so what do you do?" is rambling and incoherent. 

I do many things. I write articles like this, I write a personal newsletter, I teach people how to network better. I teach companies and coach people how to use digital marketing. I lead private, improv-inspired workshops to improve corporate communications and culture. That's a lot to explain after I've just shaken hands with you for the first time.

Clay Hebert's "The Perfect Intro"

This challenge inspired me to revisit the content of one of the smartest guys I know, Clay Hebert. A couple of years ago, Clay published an ebook called "The Perfect Introduction". He also has a keynote presentation by the same name.

Clay estimates we meet three people per day, one thousand per year, and eighty-thousand in a lifetime. He explains that the people we meet deserve a better introduction. I agree!

Three myths about introductions are:

1. It's about you. No, it's about who you help and why. When somebody asks you what you do, they are really asking how you can help them.

2. It should be 100% complete. Completeness is for resumes, it should be interesting.

3. It should be 100% accurate. Our desire to be accurate forces us to use boring words. We need to make them want to learn more.

Clay provides the template for anyone to create the perfect introduction. He recommends stripping away buzzwords and industry jargon. He suggests you strive to keep it simple and interesting.

I help - who it is you help - achieve a result.

He includes several examples of this in his book and presentation:

  • I help people see their possibility. - Todd Herman
  • I help people paint their future. - Shirley Harvey
  • I help students learn life arts through martial arts. - Nang Walzog
  • I help people make words work. - Joanna Wiebe
  • I help entrepreneurs lead their tribes. - Judah Sellner

This method is genius because it allows the person you're speaking with to lead the conversation. She will end up asking you for more details. You can shape the chat based on her questions. Aim for intrigue instead of information.

Answering with your perfect intro makes you sound confident and confidence creates credibility.

So you're probably wondering what mine is. Maybe you've already noticed how I have added it to  my about page and to my business site. I based mine off of the one word that tops every personality assessment I've done: Communication. Reach = communication.

I teach companies how to reach their people.

If you're trying to reach new customers, I teach you to do this with strategic content marketing, networking effectively and social media. Trying to reach your employees to improve your communication and culture? I achieve this by teaching your team to use improv to improve.

Next time I'm trying to solve problems, I'll consider my friends first. I bet you will find yours holds the answers you're seeking.

Watch Clay's keynote for more inspiration and ideas on creating your perfect intro. Leave a comment with yours. I'm excited to see what you come up with.

Thank you for sharing.

"I consider myself to be quite good at networking, and this course gave me quite a few new tools for my toolbox! I put Dave Delaney's approach to the test in selecting and attending a conference less than 2 weeks ago, and I landed a new client. Now that's an amazing ROI! Thanks Dave!" - Lesley Antoun.

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