Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

How many times have you been asked, “What do you do?” The typical response is “I’m an X” and maybe we embellish a little with how we do it, or what we consider our unique value proposition (UVP) to be. These introductions may be at a networking meeting (one on one or in front of the group), a training workshop or when introducing ourselves to a new contact in business or in pleasure.


These introductions can get quite tedious, when you’ve heard four times at that event, “I’m an accountant, I do tax returns and BAS statements for business owners” – all a what statement. Yes, the question is answered, but did it trigger anything but, “oh gosh another one?”


How could the accountant, or you more importantly, have handled the question differently? There is a famous TED talk by Simon Sinek “Start with Why” which is worth viewing. It is key to note that we are triggered by emotion and gut reaction, so your introduction must spark emotional interest. By addressing the why and how more than the what, we can elicit interest. This can be done other ways like communicating a short story where you’ve helped a client, but if in doubt (and to keep it short) this approach is great.


Lukas Gilkey has a less known video on the ‘Elevator Pitch’. Elevator pitch gets its name from being a ‘sales pitch’ that you’d do in an elevator if you met the Chief Executive of a target company while catching the lift. It must be short and do enough to grab attention. Lukas also focuses on the Simon Sinek “Start With Why” approach but concludes with a question, which is such a different approach, and can only encourage further engagement! Being different and passionate definitely stands out at an event.


An example of the why, how, what with a question to encourage further conversation may be: “Clients love that I can restore clarity and passion for their business, by addressing barriers in their way, through providing quality tailored business advice. How are you feeling about your business?”