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University of Massachusetts Amherst

Family Business Center

Making Yourself Unforgettable in Seven Seconds

by Shel Horowitz

You have seven seconds to make a first impression -don't squander it by saying "I'm president of XYZ." Sasha ZeBryk showed FBC members how to create a punchy and powerful introduction that gets you "remembered, recalled, and referred."

ZeBryk captured everyone's attention at the May meeting at the Log Cabin. Her brief talk was peppered with examples of memorable introductions versus traditional ones. "Which would you remember?'I'm a desktop publisher' or 'I make you look great on paper?'" 'I clean houses' or 'I put more weekend in your week'? 'I design websites' or 'I can take your business around the world and keep it open 24/7'?" (With this last example, she draws a circle in the air with her finger.)

Designing this kind of "Technicolor introduction," as she called it -FBC Director Ira Bryck labeled it "your Sasha speech" -is a simple three-step process:

  1. Create a visual picture in the listener's mind.
  2. Include the end benefit -the result you achieve for your clients or customers.
  3. Put your listener in the picture.

Don't be afraid to include "attitude" -gestures, tone, and posture -in your message. A massage therapist says, "I rub people" (pause, snap fingers) the RIGHT way!"

Keep the focus not on yourself but on what you achieve for others. "You want to be careful about verbs like 'sell' and 'own' -you're creating pictures that are about you, and not about what you can do for people. The objective isn't to sell on the first impression, it's to create 'how do you do that? Tell me more!' Be aware of preaching, teaching, and selling. In those seven seconds, we can help people understand what we do. And the quicker we do it, the fewer words we use, the more they'll remember it."

So how does Sasha introduce herself? By using one of several benefit-driven seminar titles -for example, "I help people move through the fear to the fun of being in front of an audience…I'm in the purpose, passion and power business."

And if you come up to me at the next Family Business Center gathering and ask me what I do, I won't tell you "I'm a copywriter." Instead, you might hear, "I make the world INSIST on learning why YOU'RE special."

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