First Impressions

Immediately make a great first impression by introducing yourself with a sound bite. Use the sound bite to create a solid connection with important new contacts quickly.

Your sound bite is your verbal business card. It’s the introduction that tells others several things:

■ Who you are

■ What you do

■ The specific benefits you can provide

Here are some examples:

“I’m Dr. Delicato, DDS. In my chair you have no pain, no drugs, no anxiety—just healthy teeth and a radiant smile.”

“My portraits let you preserve those beautiful moments of you and your family and treasure them for life.”

“I bring delicious, hot, healthy meals to your door at your convenience and at your price.”

A sound bite is a vital tool that clearly announces that you’re a prepared, focused, and articulate professional who can help people. When you create your sound bite, make it come from the heart.

Try following these steps:

  1. List what you do. Write the first thoughts that come to your mind. Don’t worry about their length or complexity. Be descriptive and concentrate on getting information down.
  2. Focus on the value you provide to customers or clients rather than the process you use. Explain what you deliver. For example, if you sell 1,000-count Egyptian sheets on eBay, don’t tell people, “I sell sheets on eBay.” Instead, say, “I help people sleep like royalty in the most luxurious sheets.” Ask your top customers for feedback on your pitch.
  3. When you complete your list, circle each descriptive word.
  4. Transfer all the circled words to a separate sheet of paper and place them in the order of their importance to the customers or clients you want to reach.
  5. Review each word to see if it is the most descriptive and colorful. If it is not, substitute a more graphic, illustrative, or hard-hitting word.
  6. Work all the words on your list into a lively sentence or two. Make sure that it’s clear, describes what you do, and is attention-grabbing. Stress the problems you can solve and the benefits you can provide. If possible, make it witty and clever, but not at the expense of clarity.

Practice your sound bite aloud. Try to recite it in less than 30 seconds. Then, when you can do that, knock off another 10 to 15 seconds. Experiment with differing rhythms and intonations to develop a flowing rhythm. Recite your sound bite to others and get their input on the content of your message and your delivery. Present your sound bite with passion and enthusiasm. When you believe your sound bite, others will too. Vary your sound bite. Make minor changes so that it will sound natural and convincing and be appropriate in different situations.