Creating Your Verbal Business Card - June 2013

Creating Your Verbal Business Card

It’s likely you hear these phrases frequently in your professional life—whether you are at a meeting, a networking gathering, or even an interview:

“What do you do?”
“Tell me about yourself.”
“What are you looking for?”

Do you have a clear, concise, and compelling way to respond to these questions?

Your goal with your Verbal Business Card is not to have people say "Thanks" and walk away.

You want people to feel interested and compelled to ask you questions about who you are and what you do.  You want to spark a conversation, build a relationship, and exchange information.

The biggest mistake people make with their introduction is trying to say too much! The purpose of your Verbal Business Card is NOT to tell your life story or even your career history. You don’t want to answer all of their questions with your introduction. You want to finish your introduction in a way that leaves an opening, an invitation, for further conversation. This is the element of your introduction that inspires people to talk with you or reach out to you after the meeting.

You can use this same information and philosophy wherever you introduce yourself.

  • The summary of your resume.
  • Your LinkedIn bio or other online profiles such as Twitter,, Google, or your professional association’s site.
  • This is also the answer to “Tell me about yourself” in an interview.

In fact, it is very important that the information you are sharing in all these places is consistent. Think of this as your brand--it communicates who you are and what you want to be known for.

Although the form of your Verbal Business Card will be different when it is said verbally or in writing,  it should be a consistent message that’s clear, concise and compelling. That is what makes you competitive and sets you apart from the pack.

The best way I’ve found to help people develop a powerful Verbal Business Card is to help them identify their own “Claim to Fame.” Here are a few questions to get you started in uncovering your Claim to Fame.

  • What are you known for or what do you want to be known for?
  • What is it that an employer needs to know about you in order to want to talk to you about job opportunities?
  • What does someone need to know about your accomplishments that would make them comfortable referring you on to someone in their company or to another colleague?

Your Claim to Fame should allow people to see ‘why you’ are the right person for the job rather than another person. It should highlight what sets you apart and makes you unique in your field. 

As you can see, having an effective Verbal Business Card is very important. And yet, most of us just wing it when it comes to introducing ourselves in meetings and online.

Now What?

Whenever I finish a presentation I like to ask “Now What” or “What are you going to do with this information?” So I ask you the same question.

Most people dread working on their Verbal Business Card. As a result they never take the time to identify their claim to fame or craft a powerful introduction. Instead, they carry on being uncomfortable every time they introduce themselves!  Therefore, they do not get the message out that they need to in order to move their job search forward.

I encourage you to set aside some time on your calendar, right now, to work on this so your next introduction will be Clear, Concise and Compelling (and Comfortable)!

Can’t wait to hear and see these introductions!