The first words you hear out of a person's mouth impact your initial impression of him or her. Consequently, first impressions are crucial. Make a splash with yours.

Prudently Prepare to Avoid Panic

High pressured situations can leave people tongue tied. Your likelihood of success in attempting a new or challenging endeavor (e.g. marketing yourself in a few short sentences) is increased when there is no risk involved. That's why we practice before game day. Practice helps the skill become second nature, and it prepares you for the unexpected. 

Consider the following. If you had to swim in a 1/2 mile open water race in a few months and you would receive $1,000 if you finished and $8,000 if you placed, would you prepare or wing it? 

In these races, competitors are periodically (hopefully accidentally) kicking those swimming alongside of them as they jet to the finish line. If you haven't swum for years prior to race day, those uncomfortable distractions are likely to derail you. Conversely, consistent practice would help you cross the finish line with grace and power regardless of interruptions and obstacles.

Iron Out the Wrinkles Now

Apply this principle to your business. Let's say you just wrapped up a Fortis Program workshop series with a company, and you are on the hunt for new clients.

While perched on the bleachers at your kid's baseball game, you suddenly notice that seated next to you is the CEO of a business you have been eyeing. As the pitcher launches a ball towards home plate, you anxiously turn to the CEO to give a pitch of your own.

Do you want this potentially game changing pitch to be off the mark? If it was unrehearsed, there is a higher change that you will strike out.

However, if you prepared well, the boisterous crowds, the bird poop bomb that just landed on your shoulder, or the expected soda shower provided by the excited fan behind you will not throw you off your game.

Iron out those inevitable wrinkles now so that you hit a home run when you unexpectedly find yourself chatting with a potential dream client.

Time for Action

  1. After establishing a connection through light conversation, you want to share specific details with the potential client. Who are you, what are you passionate about, and how do you help people? Write that down. Play with the wording until you are able to share this information clearly and concisely.
  2. Rehearse this script out loud several times. Practice makes perfect.
  3. When it starts to roll off of your tongue, request the assistance of a loved one and give them your pitch without looking at your cheat-sheet. Ask for feedback.
  4. Next, try it on a stranger who inquires what you do for a living. If the opportunity arises, go to a networking meeting and share your message.
  5. Warn people to put their sunglasses on because you are about to shine a bit brighter!