What’s that thing you do? ONE thing.

You’re at a networking event… meeting… conference… cocktail party… and it happens.

“So, what do you do?” the networker asks you.

“Um, well I’m a consultant / L&D pro / social media expert…” you say.

Slash happens. And I get it. You have a lot to offer and a lot of interests. When you’re at an event, all those slash titles can be hard for one person to take in. A more effective approach, decide how you wish to be known and communicate that one thing – not everything. It’s confusing to the listener.

What’s the one thing you wish to be known for and and your best, most relevant story, that demonstrates your expertise to the audience who needs to know about you?

When I coach my clients on effective networking, we work hard on creating a dynamic brand-driven sound bite that gets attention, without overwhelming the listener.

Picking one thing can be tough, but it’s important. As one of my client’s said, working through the exercise, “It’s like my whole career – skills, experience, knowledge is summed up in this one project. It just doesn’t feel right.”

That may be true, however, in networking, and asking your friends, etc. “who do they know, who…” it is important to be clear and focused. Sharing ONE story helps people get an idea of what you can do for someone. It also helps them easily share your story with their connections. And your network becomes your personal sales force.

Challenge: Create your sound bite. Be focused. Share a benefit-driven story that demonstrates your expertise. Tell how your network can help you best.

Want step-by-step help to network like a rock star? Check out my book, Rock Your Network® and rebuild your network in 5 minutes a day online or off.

© 2018 Wendy Terwelp | Wendy Terwelp speaks about social networking, F2F networking, personal branding, and career development. Want raving fans, referrals, and even happier, more engaged employees? Book her here: https://www.knocks.com/speaking/


Your Career Brand: Who Are You? Employers Want to Know.


The legendary rock band The Who posed the immortal question: “Who are you?” They aren’t the only ones who want to know. Potential employers and network connections will ask you the same thing and you need to be ready with an answer that makes you look good and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s what typically happens at networking events. I was the keynote speaker for a group of financial leaders, primarily Chief Financial Officers (CFOs). Before my presentation, individuals were asked to introduce themselves briefly. The introductions sounded like this:

“Hello, I’m John Smith, and I’ve been a CFO for 25 years…”

“Hello, I’m Mike Miller, and I’ve been a CFO for 17 years…”

“Hello, I’m Fred Jones, and I’ve been a CFO for 22 years…”

While I’ve changed the names and varied years of experience, the introduction phrases are real. If an employer wanted to hire one of them, they’d sure want to know more information.

Sometimes when we’re in a group or working with fellow professionals, colleagues or students, we fall into the “group think” mode: “Well, John said his name, title, and years of experience, that’s what I should do.”

Instead, think about what sets you apart. When all things are nearly equal (like years of experience, education, job duties), it’s your personal brand, who you are, that sets you apart, and those are the reasons an employer will hire you.

As one Staffing Industry CEO told me, “Companies want to know what kind of contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.”

Not only do your achievements with quantifiable results set you apart, soft skills do too. One Labor Relations Director told me she hires for attitude over skill every time. “You can always teach a skill, but never an attitude,” she said. And she is not alone.

Here are some questions to ask yourself in order to help you identify your differentiators:

• What makes me a star? Translation for employers: “Why should I hire you?”

• What are my greatest strengths? If you’re not sure, go on an Attribute Treasure Hunt™. Survey your closest friends, family, and colleagues and ask them what they feel are your greatest strengths. Then ask them what three words come to mind when they think of you. Their feedback will give you a great head start on identifying your brand attributes and differentiators.

• What are my top five greatest achievements of all time? What are the skills, abilities, and values used to achieve them? What’s the common thread running through each?

Answering these and similar questions can help you identify your personal brand. By knowing who you are, what you want, and what makes you unique, you will be able to clearly communicate your goals and unique value to people in your network and to potential employers. (For more questions to help you uncover your brand and other job-getting tips, check out “Rock Your Job Search™”.)

As for my group of finance executives, luckily, my presentation was about how to create an effective sound bite (elevator pitch). Needless to say, attendees took action. I look forward to hearing about the personal branding action you take next and your results. Go get ‘em!

® 2011 Wendy Terwelp | All rights reserved.