Crafting A Sound Bite

You're four steps closer to leaving a memorable impression

Iris Randall is an organizational management consultant based in Danbury, Connecticut
You know the old adage by heart: you have only one chance to make a good first impression. But at a networking function, you also have only a limited amount of time to make that impression a memorable one. Thus, it’s important to have a catchy sound bite or tag line–something in your introduction that will help people remember you and your business or company.

“A defining statement can have a major impact on your business,” says Veronica Holcomb, founder and CEO of VJ Holcomb Associates, an executive development and training firm in New York. “Revealing just enough information makes people curious and stimulates conversation,” she says. The following tips can help you create an unforgettable sound bite:

Clearly define yourself. You should be able to tell people about yourself or the service you provide in 20 words or less. Keep your statement simple and focused. For instance, say, “I work with leaders who want to increase their impact and organizations that care about their people,” suggests Holcomb. It’s more engaging than merely stating you are a business consultant.

Say the unexpected. The message should be brief, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be obvious. For example, Nike, one of the world’s largest sports apparel companies, didn’t mention its product in its old tag line, “Just do it.” Don’t be afraid to play around with words. You can always change them if they don’t work.

Use it often. Sound bites aren’t just for business cocktail mixers. Make yours a significant part of your professional persona. Use it during presentations, leave it on your voice mail and print it on your business cards and stationery. The fact that people will associate you with it may result in more business for you.

Update it regularly. Sound bites tend to get stale quickly due to repeated use. They should always reflect your current mission, so be prepared to freshen them up as needed. Look to new sources for ideas and be creative. Also, don’t be afraid to check out how your competitors develop and use theirs.

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