Thursday, July 19, 2018

What’s Your Mission? Your Personal Mission Statement

Every day you are missing key chances to sell yourself and your business better.

Whenever someone asks you, “What do you do?”, you are being handed a golden opportunity to build your brand. 

But most people answer that question modestly, almost reluctantly. “I’m in insurance,” they say, or “I work with a tech startup.” Unsure whether the other person is truly interested, most people respond as tersely and noncommittally as possible.

The inevitable result: having received such a dull, unimaginative response, most people promptly lose all interest in what you do. Congratulations! You just blew a chance to acquire a new customer, partner, fan or friend.

If you care about what you do, be enthusiastic about it. And make other people feel just as excited as you are.

So when someone asks you what you do, instead of mumbling the simplest, blandest answer you can, respond with something bolder, more personal, and more memorable!

I remember asking the question of one entrepreneur, who were applied very boldly,” I’m the second biggest steel fabricator in the Ottawa Valley.” It was brash, it was memorable, and it sparked a great conversation. Who knows how many steel fabricators there are in the Ottawa Valley? Doesn’t matter. That hint of verve and audacity was the cue that this person was worth talking to.

There’s a school of thought that says your opening line should be a short commercial, such as: “I sell payment solutions for e-commerce companies.” That’s clear and concise, but it’s not very personal, or likely to grab the interest of anyone who is not entrenched in e-commerce.

Remember the medieval stonecutter, who when asked what he was doing, answered with great pride: “I’m building a cathedral.” Why not, then, say, “I’m involved with a company that’s reinventing e-commerce.” That sounds a lot less like a commercial, and more like a great cause that many people would be interested in learning more about. That’s how you start a great conversation.

I call these Personal Mission Statements. As a business person, you should prepare identifying statements and other talking points that demonstrate why you’re an interesting person creating new value in this sorry world.

Again, these are NOT commercials. Few new acquaintances give a fig about your “value proposition.” No one wants to be propositioned without permission. But everyone is interested in hearing innovative stories about people doing important and interesting work.

How do you create value for the world? Are you an inventor, are you a pioneer, are you working on leading-edge projects? Do you have a track record of helping people solve problems? Are you on the lookout for potential partners, allies, referrals, resources?

Think through all the interesting things you do, or you’re trying to do. Pick out the best parts and incorporate them into the opening sentences of any business- or career-related conversations. Don’t try to sell yourself; get people interested in your vision, your projects, and your dreams. Once they're intrigued, a fruitful conversation can begin. Afterwards you can decide if they're possible prospects, or, more likely, potential partners, resources or allies.

So many people struggle with their "opening line." Don't think of it as a marketing trick. Just share your light with the world.

Don’t hide that light under a bushel. If you’re doing interesting stuff, it’s a crime that more people don’t know about it.


Exercise: Just Three Questions

1. What are the most interesting things you’re working on right now?
2. Why should any of this matter to other people?
3. How can you convey your vision and mission to other people in just one sentence (your Personal Mission Statement) that will whet their appetites to learn more?


2 comments:

Sam Davis said...

Hi, Thank you for sharing usefull article

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