|I grabbed a coffee on Tuesday with an old contact I knew from back in the day when I consulted mainly to big pharma.After a long corporate career he was heading out into the world of independent consulting (yay) and it was incredibly interesting to hear his first impressions.One of the things he remarked on was the way people introduced themselves.Now if you’ve been on any sort of networking training in the last decade you’ll have been told that you shouldn’t just introduce yourself with your job title. People may not be clear what it means for them, or apparently they may have negative stereotypes associated with job titles like accountant or lawyer.My friend described a situation where he met a guy at an event who introduced himself by saying “I save people’s lives”.What on earth did he do? Was he some kind of superhero. Or a fireman or lifeboat crew member.Nope. He did PAT Testing.(For those outside the UK that means he ran tests on portable appliances to make sure they complied with health and safety legislation).So yes, in a way he did save lives. But that was an awful introduction.No doubt some sales trainer had told him he should tell people about the value and the benefits of his work. But saying you save people’s lives does more harm than good.Firstly, it obfuscates rather than clarifies. Often when I introduce myself I tell people I “help consultants and coaches attract and win more clients” because they might not know what a marketing coach does. So it adds clarity.Saying you save people’s lives doesn’t. It could mean a whole raft of things.
Secondly, by playing word games with your description of what you do you’re sending a message that you don’t talk straight. You’ll twist things to meet your own ends. Probably not the kind of message you want to send.
And finally. Well, it’s just kind of cheesy isn’t it? “I save people’s lives”. “I help my clients sleep better at night”. “I’m the guy to call when you’re tired of thinking small”.
Maybe they work for some people, but they come across a bit sad to me.
And apparently that’s exactly how they came across to my old contact. And probably to anyone else from the “real world” who hears these kind of introductions.
So yes, introduce yourself by being clear about what value you bring to people. But make it clear and straightforward.
And lay off the cheese.