I use the word ‘interview’ a lot to describe what I do. But I wish I didn’t. I wish someone could come up with a new word because ‘interview’ is so loaded.
Do you have a similar problem? Mention your profession – accountant, builder, coach – and you see your networking companion glaze over. Or make assumptions about what you do based on experiences they’ve had with other accountants, builders or coaches. That’s unfair. Those other people aren’t a patch on you.
That’s why I’m sharing my vocabulary issues with you. They could help you to solve your own. It’s also why taglines and elevator pitches are so useful. You need them to translate why your brand of accounting/construction/coaching is different. More on taglines later. But first…
Tell it to me straight.
When I say ‘interview’, what do you think of? Some of the job interviews you’ve gone for?
They are rarely jolly things. The panel are trying to see if you are the right fit for a particular role. Are you exactly the right round peg for this round hole? Or are you a square peg, masquerading as a round peg? Be assured Ms Birch, if you are a square peg, we shall find you out. (You might have gathered, some of my job interviews did not go well. It’s probably a good thing I run my own business now.)
Or maybe you’ve been interviewed for the media. You are constantly second-guessing what they might ask you. Or maybe you are wondering whether what you’ve just said really is suitable for publication. Again, the feelings around the word ‘interview’ are mixed.
Boxed in by a blinkered view?
The problem with generic terms like ‘accountant’ or ‘builder’ is the associations people make about them… The time that builder didn’t turn up and let you down. The time that accountant left you behind with their jargon.
It’s easy to become blinkered.
The same thing happens with the word ‘interview’. People who don’t know what I do sometimes assume I’m like a job-interviewer. Someone tunnel-visioned who is bearing down on them, box-ticking their suitability. Or they think of a media interviewer like a Jeremy Paxman, holding their ‘victim’ to account… which is not me either. (My name is ‘Birch’ by the way. Miranda Birch.)
In both the job and journalist cases, the interviewers have their own agenda. And it’s great if you fit in with their agenda and get the job or the right media exposure. But if you don’t, you feel unsettled or defensive.
Enjoy a panoramic view.
My approach is the opposite. It’s less ‘inter’ view, more ‘outer’ view.
I want to help you to broaden your view of your business.
I ask the sort of questions that prompt you to see your company in a fresh way. And I want you to feel enthused by the new things you see about yourself and your work.
When you feel enthusiastic that comes through in the way you talk or write about your business. Suddenly you’re marketing yourself in a more compelling way and you don’t even realise it. It just comes naturally.
This is how one of my clients puts it:
I found being interviewed really interesting. I had never really thought about my work in as much detail before. I had never considered a lot of questions Miranda was asking me. I found that the process of considering those questions did reveal more to me about why it is that I do what I do and why I approach it in the way that I do.
And in terms of delivering a marketable message, it is something that I think will be quite easy for me to take and build on.
Translating it into a tagline.
So that is why my tagline – ‘Stories that change attitudes and reach new audiences’ – doesn’t mention the word ‘interview’. It focuses on what I want you to walk away with when you have a conversation with me about your business.
The ‘changed attitudes’ are partly about the new view you get of yourself and your work. The attitude you have of yourself evolves. The same applies to the attitudes of potential clients – particularly if they come to you with preconceived ideas about your sector or profession.
The second bit, reaching ‘new audiences’ happens when you change what’s going on inside your head and work out how best to say it. That’s when you reach new audiences – new clients, new customers, new contacts.
Do words fail you?
If you’re in a sector where the words don’t do justice to what you really do or the difference you really make, would you like some help? … so you can whittle it all down and describe your value in a few seconds?
Drop me an email now and I’ll get back to you with some thoughts.