What Not To Do / Copywriting  / What Not to Do When Talking About Your Business
What Not to Do When Talking About Your Business - by Meadhbh Hand

What Not to Do When Talking About Your Business

Talking About Your Business Main Aims

When someone asks you about your business, does how you answer depend on who is asking? Whether you’re talking to someone at a networking event, a potential client or your flummoxed eleven year old nephew your answer shouldn’t really change all that much. Your answer should be understandable, simple and memorable. You want your listener to walk away with a clear idea of what benefits your business brings. You want your business to be the first one they remember in a month’s time when they’re talking to someone who needs what you offer.

What Not to Do When Talking About Your Business

Don’t go into too much detail. You know what they say, no one wants to know how the sausage is made. And as the copywriting saying goes “don’t sell the sausage, sell the sizzle.” I’m a writer, but a surprising amount of my working week is not spent writing (unless emails count). Instead, I’m learning, listening to my clients and to their clients, reading and researching. My best work happens when I’m out for a walk figuring out what it is I need to write when I’m back at my desk. My clients don’t need to know this, they don’t care. They just want to see a document about their business with lovely memorable language in it.

Don’t use jargon or complicated language. Don’t assume that your audience will know what you’re talking about. Use the language that your audience uses. Remember your eleven year old nephew (fictitious or otherwise). There’s a story in our family of my then five year old brother asking my Dad when he was going to “get a real job, like a builder.” My brother couldn’t understand what it was that my Dad did in work all day so in his mind it wasn’t a real job.

Don’t make it a monologue. Keep it relevant. Talking about your business is a listening exercise too. Ask your listener if they know of another business that does something similar or how they would search for what you do online. Every opportunity that you have to talk about your business can teach you something about how the rest of the world perceives it.

My first failure

I still clearly remember my first networking event when I had just started my business. As we went around the room introducing ourselves, I said that I was a copywriter and immediately sat down before my shaking legs gave way. A wasted opportunity. The few people who approached me afterwards thought that my business had something to do with trademarks and copyrights! I hadn’t explained in language that made sense to a room full of potential clients. In fact, once I figured out a better way of communicating about my business, some of the people in the room became clients (and still are!) and the others referred work to me.

My second failure

Although I had found a way to explain what I did (write web content, write articles for LinkedIn and blogs) in the early days I often forgot to mention the value of what I did to the businesses I worked with. I started to include a statistic about how regularly updating a website’s blog increased the number of visitors by 67% (according to HubSpot) when compared with websites that weren’t updated, people began to take more notice. And to ask for my business card. And to arrange meetings. And to become clients.

Summary Conclusion

When talking about your business remember to keep your answer understandable, simple and memorable. Don’t just think in immediate terms as if the person in front of you is a sales target. Think of it as an opportunity to educate someone about why what you do matters to the people you work with.

I know you will learn from my failures.

Top Tip

An easy way to break down what you do into something memorable is to phrase it in the following terms: “I do X for Y so that Z.” X is what you do, Y is your ideal client, Z is the result for their lives/businesses. For example, for my business “I write blog posts and LinkedIn articles for small and medium businesses so that they can connect with more of their ideal clients.”

Remember to use language that your clients use. If you’re a fitness instructor you probably know all about the benefits of what you do for resting heart rates and metabolism. Your clients probably think in terms of sleeping better and not getting out of breath running up the stairs.

Watch the listener’s body language and listen to their questions. The questions they ask will help you to improve on how you describe your business in the future. Those questions will help you to develop great content for your website and social media channels. If you keep getting the same questions again and again you’ve definitely got a topic worth writing about.

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