We all know the routine in networking events, professional association meetings, conferences, and anywhere else we meet people we don’t know. It might start with a little small talk, but very quickly one person will ask the other, “So tell me a little bit about yourself,” or “So, what do you do?” The response I get most often can be summed up in one word: B O R I N G.  If you want  me (or anyone else you meet) as a potential client or referral source, is that the impression you want me to walk away with?

I didn’t think so. But  most people still stutter and stammer and finally come up with the incredibly original, “I’m an attorney,” or “I’m a consultant,” or “I’m a _________ (fill in the blank).” How do you develop a great “tagline” that people will remember you by? And why should you have one, anyway?

A tagline should pique the listener’s interest enough – without giving too much detail. A GREAT tag line prompts your listener to ask, “Really??? How do you do that?” And that’s just the opening you need to talk about yourself without seeming to hog the conversation.

Every firm, organization, and even individuals should have a concise mission statement that you can turn into a tagline. If you don’t, answer these questions:

  1. What do you do?
  2. How do you do it?
  3. For whom do you do it?
  4. What value do you bring?

After you get your answers, distill them into a short Mission Statement – I love ones that are eight words or less. Be creative when developing it.  Be humorous. Use a little “tongue-in-cheek,” if that’s your style. When people are around people they perceive as clever with a good sense of humor, they think of them as more intelligent, more likeable, and more confident than the average person. I don’t know about you, but I’d like others to think that about me because people buy things from people they like, respect and trust.

As a gift, here are a few tag lines, most of which are applicable to almost any practice:

  • “I help people win.”
  • “I help companies build a better future.”
  • “I give clients more time for their money.”
  • “I offer clients unique solutions.”
  • “I offer clients peace of mind.”
  • “I help my clients hang on to their money.”
  • ”I keep my clients out of prison.”
  • “I help entrepreneurs innovate and accelerate.”
  • “I look beyond the numbers for my clients.”
  • “I help my clients uncover possibilities.”

Just a few – not all great – but at least enough to help you get the picture and get started.  How did I find them?  Google, of course (well, except for the “prison” one – I made that up).

The next time you meet someone who asks, “So what do you do?” WOW them with your snappy tagline. Ignite their curiosity. Get them to ask you, “How do you do that?” Once they do, they won’t be likely to forget you.  And that’s how you build good contacts.






1 reply
  1. Nancy Fox says:

    Laurie, this is a great suggestion and better approach for the old “elevator speech.”
    To your point, I actually created something for clients called The Tanecdote Formula – which takes the memorable tag line idea (which you clearly and enticingly demonstrated) and pairing it with a quick story/example of how this tag line
    helped a client/created a desired outcome.

    The Tanecdote Formula always generates interest/ opens up dialogue because people want to explore how they could benefit too.


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