Have you ever been to a networking event where you meet people, ask what they do and they give you a long rambling explanation or a very obscure description. You are then confused and ask them to clarify, and then they say this: Basically, I do [something you can understand].
Some people can just give you their job’s title, such as chief counsel at xyz industries, and you can understand what they do. And some people have easy to understand professions such as doctor, accountant, insurance sales or real estate development.
Also, describing yourself as the “senior” manager or vice president does not help explain what you do.
But take for instance someone I met recently. He started off by telling me where he works (a company with advocacy in the name, but that doesn’t actually advocate). Then, he told me they work with individuals who are looking to ensure their access to financing (or something like that). Then he said: “Basically, I sell insurance.”
Generally, when you start a sentence with basically, you are about distill the essence of something to its most UNDERSTANDABLE part. Like a structural engineer who tells you that basically, she works to make bridges safer. Or the content strategist who tells you that, basically, he works with companies to find the most relevant information for their customers.
So before you go to your next networking event, or write your about page on your website, ask yourself: what is it that you do (or your company does), basically?
If it’s basic, it generally makes sense!
Media trainer Brad Phillips has a great suggestion for improving your elevator pitch: start with the why. Here’s a link to the post on the Mr. Media Training blog.