Can You Describe Yourself in Three Words?

Last week I was asked by a potential client to describe what makes me different from everyone else… in just 3 words. I blew it. And I’m so annoyed with myself for that.

I was in the car when the phone rang, the baby was crying, the traffic was jammed and I wasn’t fully present. I probably shouldn’t have taken the call but when the name flashed up on the screen I couldn’t help myself. I really want to do work with this woman! And in my eagerness I may well have stuffed up any chance of that!

We hear all time how important it is to have an elevator pitch and to be able to explain what it is that we do for a living. I’ve heard it said that men are better at this than women, but I don’t think this is necessarily true. Maybe it’s tough for women to resist being verbose – it has been said after all that women speak three-times as many words every day as men. But other studies say this isn’t necessarily true either.

In any case, I do believe it’s important to be able to describe what we bring to the table in a succinct and clear way. I just didn’t realise I’d ever be asked for just 3 words! So I hadn’t ever given this much thought. I have now though, so I’ll be prepared for next time. Just like I’m prepared to ask a question at every meeting I go to so that I appear to be interested and to have a view. One of my favorite mentors (a man) taught me years ago to do this, when I was just starting out in my career, and it’s advice I always pass on now to the women I mentor. It works a treat in building a reputation as a do-er.

So how do you come up with just 3 words? I looked back through the feedback and testimonials I’ve received as a consultant and speaker and looked for the common themes. You could do this to by asking people you work with for just one word to describe you. It feels good when you’ve come up with the three – sort of liberating to be able to get down to the essence of who you really are.

For the record, I’m practical, refreshing and real. And who are you, in just 3 words?

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