Out of Your House and Into Your Community

Last week I shared how I revisited my definition of my Brilliance.  Here’s a funny story about what happened next.

Building on my revision, I wanted a snappy new way to introduce myself.  After two days of reflection (admittedly I was doing this work part-time, not all day long), I dreamed up a bright, shiny elevator pitch for connect2 Corporation. That evening I went to a women’s networking event in New York City.  Their format for networking was for each woman in our group of 8 to introduce herself and ask for any help she wanted, within a seven-minute time limit. (Excellent format, by the way.)

So when it was my turn, I said my name and that I wanted to test market my new intro on them.  They all gave me friendly nods of agreement.  I introduced myself with my beautiful sentences, read right directly from my journal.  Then I asked my mini-focus group what service they thought I provide.  They all guessed differently, and none of them were right.  What surprising and valuable news! 

Then I said, “Okay, forget about that.  Let me try my ‘old’ one out on you.”  Again, they nodded in agreement. 

Off the top of my head, I gave them my tried-and-true description*.  They totally got it right away. Again, surprising and valuable!  To test them further I asked, “If you could spend a whole day with me working on your business, how would you want me to help?”

Their responses varied.  “I’d want you to help me figure out my Brilliance! … I’d want you to help me get systems in place so I could spend more time doing what I love to do! … I’d want you to help me set up a team!”  Amazing.  These are all services I provide as part of the Brilliance-Based Businesswoman’s Success System,TM which none of these delightful strangers had ever seen. 

Long story short, I brought to that introduction all sorts of well thought-out vocabulary words that made perfect sense to me.  But it turns out that as intellectually crafted as my words were, they weren’t well felt-out.  Worse yet, they didn’t make sense to anyone but me. 

Three lessons learned here, for all of us trying to articulate our Brilliance:

  1. A newer way isn’t always better.
  2. Get out of your head and into your heart.
  3. Get your heart out of your house and into your community.  Only after testing it with your target market will you know what language communicates with them most effectively.

How do you introduce yourself?  Do people immediately understand the value of what you provide?  If I might be in your target market, I invite you to set up a quick Connection Call to test your language on me.  I’m good with giving constructive feedback – like my SIQ says, I’m “lovingly honest.”


* Tried and true version actually varies every time I speak it.  It’s something like: “I’m a management consultant for women entrepreneurs whose businesses are based on their ideas and creativity, what I call a Brilliance-Based Business.”


  1. Stef

    I think I'm going to use that Mark Twain thing in my tele-summit call later this month.

  2. Julie Punishill

    Thanks for helping me refine my language today! Now we'll see how it tests.

    • Debra Woog

      My pleasure, Julie! Let me know what you learn!

  3. Stef

    OMG now I'm going to go look up that Twain quote. One of my favorite writers!

  4. Stef

    It took me FOREVER to articulate what I do in a way that my target market understands, particularly with a white paper specialty.

    On the one hand a situation like this would be mortifying — on the other hand is the way you handled it, which was brilliant. Agree so much that a newer way isn't always better and would add that SIMPLE is nearly always the best way to go. It takes really owning your brilliance and all that goes with that to be able to speak and write simply, yet at a level of sophistication that resonates with your ideal audience.

    You, my friend are nailing it — love this post!

    • Debra Woog

      Thanks, Stef! It really is a journey. And it's always fascinating to me how hard it can feel to come up with Simple that WORKS! Reminds me of that Mark Twain quote about he wrote a 10 page letter because he didn't have time to write a 1 page letter.