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So, What Do You Do?: Perfecting Connecting® Starts at the First Meeting

Have you ever wished for an “Instruction Manual” that told you how to really connect with anyone you meet? Do you wish you knew what to say to a new contact to make an impact and get their attention? Well, if you’re like the hundreds of professional people I have talked to around the world, then you’re probably shouting “YES!”

First let’s deal with introductions. Think about how many times a day you get asked, “So…what do you do?” Did you know that first impressions are made in the first 17 seconds of meeting someone and if you don’t capture their attention in that first minute, you may have lost the job, sale or potential lead before you ever really got started?

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Having a defining statement, or as I like to call it, “The 17 Second Drill,” that tells your prospect what you do, how you do it, and what differentiates you from anyone else who does what you do, is the most important marketing collateral you need if you’re in a career transition. I like to call this the verbal resume. A well written resume may get you into the interview, but if you don’t have a strong defining statement, you won’t get the job.

I recommend to people that you actually sit down and type out your “drill” and practice it in front of people who know you well and will give you their honest feedback. Before you sit down at your computer and start writing, consider my 5 C’s for Connecting criteria for creating your powerful introduction.

1. Clear- Be sure to let people know what you do. What is your expertise, what are you known for? You want people to be intrigued but not confused. Watch industry buzzwords, technical terms and abbreviations that don’t translate from industry to industry. Establish your credibility and track record right up front.

2. Concise- Follow the KISS rule. Keep it Short and Simple. Remember the rule of 7; the first 7 words you say, the first 7 mannerisms and physical gestures (eye contact, hand shake, tone of voice), and the first 7 inches from your shoulders up (your face), is what people will remember the most about your first meeting.

3. Catchy- Be catchy enough to stand out. How do you do what you do? Why do you do what you do? Why do you love it? What are you most proud of? What is special about the way you do business? What makes you stand out from your competitors? If you can come up with a defining statement that people can remember and will be able to easily repeat to others, than you’ve just developed the most important marketing tool you will ever need. Remember, you’re branding YOU!

4. Connect- Use common words and examples that people can relate to so you can connect and immediately establish a rapport. If you can give an example or a recent accomplishment or result of your work that will immediately make a connection for the listener and play a movie in their mind, this will result in them clearly seeing what the benefits and outcomes are of the work you do and how you might be able to help them.

5. Communicate- Pay attention to your non-verbal communication, deliver your “drill” with as much enthusiasm and passion as you can muster and remember to inform your face! Make sure you follow-up your drill with an open-ended question to keep the conversation going with your prospect. Any question which starts with the word “Tell, What, When, How and Who?” will not allow the listener to respond with “Yes or No” which can derail your connection.

Here are a couple of examples of great 17 second drills;

“Since 1987, I have generated six figure revenue streams for hundreds of industry experts who use public speaking as a marketing tool.”

“For the past 10 years, I have been helping people in the mid to low income bracket, achieve their dream of home ownership as a mortgage lender.”
“Since 1992, I’ve been empowering the next generation as an elementary school teacher working with intercity children.”

“For the last 4 years, I worked for the largest healthcare system in San Antonio teaching people how to behave in front of food as a clinical dietitian.”

So, now that you know how to captivate a new contact in the first minute of meeting them, be sure to check in next week to learn how to connect with people who are different from you. We’re going to provide you with an “instruction manual” that will tell you what you need to know about personality differences and what clues you can look for and questions to ask to accelerate your ability to establish a connection with anyone, even in your first meeting.

© Sarah Michel. All Rights Reserved. For more information visit

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