3 Simple Guidelines to Say What You Do with Maximum Impact


“The Perfect Elevator Pitch. 6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch. The Key Components of a Powerful Elevator Pitch…”

You know it’s in your best interest to have a short speech ready in case you bump into an influential person in your professional sphere, right?

“Jein”, as the Germans love to say.Yes, it’s a good idea to have a so-called “Elevator Pitch” ready in case you bump into that person (6 playful Pitches by Dan Pink). However, it’s much more important to take the time and energy to articulate what you do when meeting the other 99%.Here’s why…

Here are 3 reasons why it’s in your best interest to say what you do (& why) with everyone you meet:
  1. It gives a clear, confident and positive picture of you. It other words, you make a strong personal impact. It also shows that you care about your work – something which people are inspired by.
  1. By taking the time to share and engage with others it shows that you value their opinion. This creates positive energy for the interaction. After all, you have no idea what possible positive outcome may result.
  1. It offers your help to them or someone they know who might benefit from your know-how or services, even if there is no clear or immediate benefit.

In this post you will learn how to it in a human way for maximum impact.



If you start to act strategically in your human interactions, others will feel it. It can reflect badly on you if you are strategic about what you share with whom and with how much energy.

So how can you say what you do and what excites you about it without coming across as salesy or work obsessed?

Here are 3 guidelines (+ tips) to do it as your authentic self:


1. Keep It Simple.

“Well, it’s kind of hard to explain…you wouldn’t be interested…it’s a little complicated…”

Have you ever heard this?  Have you ever said this?

I have. And there was no excuse for my laziness. Do you want to know a secret?

People’s lives are complicated enough. No one wants a step-by-step handbook. So give only enough information to inform and hopefully interest them. If they want to know more, they’ll ask.

*Note – it’s only as complicated as you make it sound. So keep it simple.

Tip: Descriptions are more interesting when they’re active – so use verbs to describe what you do.


“I’m a 5th grade science teacher.”


“I teach 10 and 11 year-olds about science and nature.”

Which one is likely to get a genuine follow-up question?


2. Speak from the Heart.

Nothing has more impact than the real excitement. If you are passionate about what you do, others will feel it. If you’re not, they’ll feel it too.

Even the best actors in the world cannot consistently fake authenticity.

*Note – if you want to make a positive impact on someone, you don’t need to convince her to like what you do, just that you like it. So speak from the heart.

Tip: If you’re not excited about your job or current role, talk about something that does excite you (e.g. interesting project at work or goal you’re working toward). Say in your own words what is meaningful to you.

Positive energy is motivating and contagious. Negative energy is demotivating and toxic.

How do you want to leave them feeling when you say goodbye?


3. Lead with the Benefits.

Explain who you help, why it matters to you and how you do it.

It doesn’t matter if they can’t personally benefit from what you do because they might know someone who could. Or they might remember you when they have a need in the future.

Again, don’t worry about choosing the right benefits to highlight – say which ones are meaningful to you and how it helps others.

Coming back to our 5th grade science teacher, let’s give it a try:

“I help kids develop a basic understanding of the world around them. A lot of 10 year olds don’t know why the leaves on a tree are green or why a bee flies from flower to flower. By recognizing the beauty and purpose of nature I hope they develop a desire to live in harmony with it”. 

You could do the same for a financial planner who helps people understand the importance of investing and the basics of saving so they feel secure about their future.

*Note – how you help others and make a positive difference in the world inspires others. So lead with the benefits.

Unlock CreativityTip: Of course some jobs are more colorful than others so you might need to engage your creative thinking skills to do this.

If have any doubts about your creative thinking skills, take this quick ‘Creativity Quiz’:

As a team or group leader, how often do you need to switch perspectives to hear all sides, consider all arguments?

When problem solving, how important is the ability to generate ideas?

In these times of cost-cutting and over-stretched resources how important is it to be “resourceful” in your job?

Switching perspectives, generating ideas, stretching resources – your answers to these questions show you just how creative you are in your job.

For more on this, see Unlock Your Creativity for Your Best Performance.



Nothing is more powerful than authenticity. If you speak from the heart, others will hear and feel it.

If you don’t, they might hear your words but they won’t feel them.

Simplicity and benefits help them feel your words too.

If you approach your private and professional human interactions with this mindset and everything else will take care of itself.

Don’t forget the wise old adage: What goes around comes around.

Therefore, take the time and energy to articulate what you do and why you do it.

And don’t be selective about who is listening.

For F2F or virtual help crafting your “Elevator Pitch”, contact me here.

Please share with me below what you enjoy most about what you do?


  • Tim

    Reply Reply May 8, 2015

    What’s the 1 thing you’d like people to know about you?

  • Neil Nash

    Reply Reply May 27, 2015

    Great advice, Tim! I wholeheartedly agree.

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