I was at a writing retreat last weekend, and I was astonished and delighted that no one I met – not one soul – introduced themselves by their job title. Some of the authors defined themselves by genre, but most just gave their name and the conversations revolved around their passions. While not a traditional pitch, it was a very engaging way to meet new people.
Traditional pitches are killer when you have a project – a film, a script, a novel. But what most people need on a daily basis is simply a way to convey who they are without over-relying on what they’re called.
We use job titles like masks; they’re never the full picture, but boy are they easy to slip on. And they protect us. But you don’t connect with others by remaining behind a mask; you connect by being authentic, by being yourself.
So who are you?
I am not disputing that your job title is part of who you are, but it’s not the most engaging thing about you. Here’s a quick questionnaire to get you thinking:
1) The thing I love most about what I do is _______________________________.
2) What I do best is _________________________________________________.
3) My friends ask me to help them with _________________________________.
4) I have many great qualities, but my best is _______________________________.
Now, I am not saying you should hold out your hand and say, “Hey, I’m John Smith and my best quality is loyalty.” Instead, I want you to look at your passions and realize, hey, I’m a Vice President at a widget company, but I’m also an inventor and tremendously loyal friend. So when someone asks, “What do you do?” you can answer, “Well, the job title is Vice President of Widgets, but what that really means is that I’m the person who sees what our customers need and creates the widgets to solve their problems. That’s what I most like about the job — not just the creativity and chance to invent, but the relationships I’ve been able to develop with our clients. I get to be their go-to guy, it’s awesome.”
Wouldn’t you want to talk to someone like you? I sure would!