What’s your defining sentence?

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We hosted (along with Jeff Garrison) a very laid back networking event last night.  Basically, we opened the doors from 5 – 7 pm, people showed up with a couple bottles of their favorite beverage (we provided ice and coolers) and everyone hung out, met new people and chatted.

It was excellent — 100+ people showed up and mingled.  A good time was had by all and I'm hoping some new connections were made.

But, as I watched the room I got to thinking.  If each of these people only had one sentence they could utter…what would they say?  Would they fall into the rut of describing their job.  "Hi, I'm Bob and I'm a financial planner."  Or would they have a sentence at the ready to tell us how they're different from all the others in the crowd?

The goal is to pique someone's interest.  To get them to say "tell me more" or to ask a question.

As you might know — my self-intro would be:  "Hi, I'm Drew.  We help businesses create authentic love affairs with their customers."

What would your sentence be?

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26 comments on “What’s your defining sentence?

  1. Hi Drew –
    That’s an excellent question and I need to give it some thought! Your post made me think of something I heard recently: If you’ve got only a brief moment, make it a surprise. (That’s from Ken Burrows at UNC-Charlotte.)

  2. Drew,

    As usual, your post is solid and serves as a good heads up for people who shouldn’t be caught off guard by an opportunity to share what makes them unique.

    I work for a pretty creative fella named Hugh Weber (who is the founder of Deep Bench and Dude To Dad) and he came up with a solid self-intro that we use when discussing what we do – We build teams of creative extremists who help underdogs become overachievers with a “Work. Play. Do Good.” approach.

    In our minds, that’s a little bit more engaging than “I work for a research and strategy firm.” It’s certainly accomplished that goal in the past and I’d say that it would be wise for anyone reading your post to take your advice and make good use of it.

  3. Jay Heyman says:

    Drew,
    here’s the sentence I’ve been using lately to define my ad agency. “Hi, I,m Jay. My ad agency knows how to make your business conspicuous.”
    (Well that’s actually two sentences, but then again, so were yours.)
    Best,
    Jay

  4. Leigh says:

    This one certainly made me think. I like how it reminds us to not only be unique, but do it in a way that is helpful and engaging to those around us. And for me – quite a challenge with the ‘one sentence.’ Brevity of text is not my strong suite.
    My name is Leigh, and I make the kind of baby clothes that parents want to put on their little ones every single day (and save for the next baby).

  5. Jann Freed says:

    Drew–Sounds like it was a success! Hopefully next time. My sentence might be: I am passionate about helping people live and lead a quality life for the rest of our lives.

    Thanks for all you do for the people in our community to make us better leaders–people. J

  6. Bart says:

    Hi Drew,

    nice post, but i’m not really sure I digg your self-intro. Why talk ‘we’ when you’re introducing yourself? I want to talkabout YOU, not the anonymous THEM. Then the use of the terms business and customer. I’m not a big fan of those either: it’s all people! And between people, you certainly don’t CREATE an authentic love affair.. Lastly, I don’t think people should SAY they’re authentic (or describe anything as authentic for that matter). It should just BE authentic. Whenever I meet someone that tells me something or someone is so authentic (or truthful, original, funny, etc) I tend to be extremely cautious..

    So even though I like the general idea, I think your intro could be a lot better and have way more impact. So why not strip the corporate BS and go with something more human? Maybe something like:

    – I can make people fall passionately in love with you/your brand
    – I can make people hug your company
    – I can turn business relationships into passionate love affairs

    (just shooting out of the hip to spark some ideas)

  7. Bart says:

    @Leigh, why not go with “I give people shining eyes”

    (if only so you can refer people to Benjamin Zanders amazing Ted Talk: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/benjamin_zander_on_music_and_passion.html)

  8. Tracy says:

    Nice question! My first inclination was to think of how I could get my love of cheese, soccer, and fuzzy animals into one sentence without someone thinking I had lost my mind. I guess the more straightforward approach would be:
    “Hi I’m Tracy. I create innovative fundraisers to help people support their favorite cause without spending a dime.”

  9. Great question and actually (as sad as this sounds) it reminds me of Dr. Laura (the radio psychologist) she always says, “I am Dr. Laura and I am my kid’s mom.” Now don’t go assuming I am a fan of hers, I can take her or leave her (actually I don’t even know if she is still on the air, assuming she is though). I just like that she doesn’t boast about her job/ profession other than telling you what her name is, it seems as though she prioritizes her children, and that impresses me.

    As for me … I don’t know what my one liner would be, I will have to think on it some because I would want it to be unforgettable!

  10. Tom Porter says:

    Thanks to both you and Jeff for hosting the networking event. I made two terrific contacts that I never would have made without the event. By the way, I really like the loosy-goosy, no name badge approach.

    My sentence? “I’m Tom Porter and I promise (cross my heart and hope to die) I’ll change the way you look at your company, your customers and your brand!”

  11. My name is Scott and we help businesses make a great first impression.

  12. Drew,

    I teach small businesses and sales professionals to significantly increase their life time earnings.

    Not flashy, but compelling.

  13. Jessica,

    I like that…I think I’ll be borrowing it from Ken too!

    Drew

  14. Mike,

    First, I have to agree, Hugh is a pretty creative fella. I might have even said darned creative!

    I like your defining sentence. Tell me, how do people react to being classified as underdogs? Is it just that they’re not #1 in their market? Anyone take umbrage with it? (Not that I think it means you should change it, it just means they weren’t a good fit.)

    Drew

  15. Jay,

    How do people respond to that? I like it…it’s short and makes a promise that you know you can deliver on.

    Drew

  16. Leigh,

    Nice…what’s great about your sentence is that it automatically begs the next question…what makes parents want to do that?” Which allows you to talk about the benefits of your work.

    For someone who doesn’t excel in brevity you did excellent!

    Drew

  17. Jann,

    I’m curious, why did you choose not to use the word sage-ing?

    I think that’s a word that you could really own. I like your current sentence and it certainly speaks to who you are and your passion. I just wondered about the sage-ing word.

    Drew

  18. Bart,

    Thanks for jumping into the conversation. I have to tell you, your commentary about me had me laughing out loud. If there is ever a human being that has never been accused of corporate speak — you’re talking to him. I am sure many of my bosses before I went out on my own wished I did use a little.

    I say we because when I work, I am a we. I own a very collaborative company. No client of ours ever only works with or benefits from the smarts of just one of us.

    As for business and customers, we chose those words carefully. Our clients are businesses, not a single person. And they have customers. I am using their language.

    I respectfully have to tell you, I don’t see a bit of corporate BS in the sentence. How many businesses do you know that talk about creating love affairs?

    I will also tell you…I’m going to do a little informal survey to see if others react the way you do. I appreciate you raising the issues.

    You didn’t tell us…what would your defining sentence be for your work?

    Drew

  19. Bart,

    If Leigh were to use the shining eyes line…how would anyone have any idea what she did or sold?

    What gave you the clue/idea that her product generated shining eyes? (I hope for her sake they do!)

    Drew

  20. Tracy,

    Not only is that a great sentence (although I would have loved to see your cheese/fuzzy animal one) but it is going to get me to go visit your site to see if you can help my daughter’s high school!

    Drew

  21. Babysitter,

    Actually, like Dr. Laura or not, she’s done a nice job of branding herself. I wonder how many people who do not listen to her radio show (where she does always introduce herself as her kid’s mom) would associate her with that sentence?

    I guess I’m wondering if she uses it in enough diverse places that it’s universally recognized.

    Drew

  22. I think that’s a word that you could really own. I like your current sentence and it certainly speaks to who you are and your passion. I just wondered about the sage-ing word.

  23. I’ve always thought about what could be the defining sentence that I could put in my social network sites. I believe this once sentence can tell exactly who you are.

  24. paul says:

    thank you for the info Leave a Comment

  25. wow I love your blog, its fun to read and we can learn something, you look like a great match maker..:) good job, thanks for sharing this.

    1. Hi Racho,

      Thanks for commenting and I am so happy that you’re enjoying the blog. Keep coming back!

      Drew

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