Who Are You? (In Less Than 30 Seconds)

Who Am I?  The eternal question that has been asked throughout the ages will not be answered here today.  Sorry to disappoint.  I will, however, address what most people mean when they ask the question, “Who are you?”  It is usually translated into, “What do you do?”

I don’t care what you do for a living, sales, business, non-profit, ministry, human resources, etc. because everyone has something to sell.  It may not be a widget, but it’s something!  Maybe it’s an idea, an opinion, or a message you want to get across.  Whatever it is, you need to be able to describe it quickly and in a way that people can easily remember it.

No matter what you do or where you go, people who are interested in you will want to know what you do for a living, and here are two quick speeches you can prepare that can increase your word of mouth referrals.

Elevator Speech
An elevator speech is for when you meet someone and they ask you what you do.  The idea is to be able to say your speech while in between floors on an elevator.  The goal here is to keep it simple and highlight the points you want them to be able to remember and share with others.

Here is mine:
I do GPS offender monitoring.  I work with law enforcement agencies and court systems to create virtual jails using GPS technology.  Now they can incarcerate non-violent felons and misdemeanor offenders at 1/2 to 1/3 of the cost.  Our goal is to help them save money while continuing to keep their communities safe.

The goal is to give them enough information to be able to tell another person what you do for a living.  If you give them too much information they won’t even try to remember it.

Another goal is to generate interest and have them ask you for more information.  Sometimes I simply respond with, “You know those ankle monitors you see on the bad guys in TV shows and movies?  We make those.”  It usually generates interests and gives me an opportunity to tell them more.

If someone shows interest, I usually hand them a business card and ask them to share the information with anyone they know that we could help.

Voicemail Speech
This is a 20 second description of what you do if someone asks.  It is also a 20-30 second voicemail describing what you do and why they should call you back.

Here is mine if I call a court:
My name is Johnny Walker and I am the Business Development Manager for Gryphex, a GPS offender monitoring manufacturer.  Our goal is to work with courts like yours to offer alternative sentencing options utilizing GPS monitoring at a fraction of the cost of traditional incarceration.  I would like to borrow 10 minutes of your time to learn more about your current issues and needs to see if we might be able to help.  You can reach me at 404-5xx-xxxx.  I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.

You need to write yours down and practice it.  I would recommend that you have 2-3 different variations of your voicemail speech so you can leave a different one each time you call.  It doesn’t have to be vastly different.  In fact, you want it to contain the same basic message, you just don’t want them to feel like you are reading off the same script every time you leave a message.

Knowing how to describe what you do in a clear and concise manner will help other’s understand when and why to call you.  Just because you know what you do every day doesn’t mean you can articulate it well.  Write your elevator and voicemail speech down and practice them so you will be ready the next time someone asks you what you do.


About Johnny Walker

Johnny Walker is an executive coach, and corporate facilitator and speaker. As a licensed channel partner with Integrity Solutions, and the author of Foundational Core Values training, Johnny offers concrete processes that enable your people do what they do best, more often, more consistently and more effectively. Visit www.JohnnyWalker.Co and www.FoundationalCoreValues.com for more information on how he can help you and your team make it to the next level of success!
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34 Responses to Who Are You? (In Less Than 30 Seconds)

  1. Mind if I reblog this?

  2. Reblogged this on HarsH ReaLiTy and commented:
    This guy has a text book style of writing I used to mimic for money in college. Great motivational stuff if that is your thing!
    Note: Comments disabled on this thread, please comment on his article.

  3. David M. Green says:

    I am DaPoet says it all as far as I’m concerned. No one needs to know what I do for a living for my job is not who I am by a mile. 🙂

    • Good words. Bring who you are TO the job!

    • bernasvibe says:

      I agree! Although my quick intro on who I am /what I do is, I love having a job I love helping others become 1st time homebuyers; folks who more than likely would NOT become homeowners without the assistance of my organization. I’m a people-loving social butterfly ..Johnny Walker love your bog and you’ve gained a new fan!

      • Great intro! Shows your heart and what you can do for them and their friends!

      • bernasvibe says:

        Your comments mean a great deal; thank you! People tell me all the time it is the perfect job for lil ole me…and its a great feeling to love what I do from 8 – 5! I’ll be checking your site out from time2time..so keep UP the good work you put in here..It is appreciated

  4. shanesbookblog says:

    This is Great advice! I was able to get a lot out of reading it…things that will stick with me because of how well you wrote this post. Thanks for sharing this with the WordPress community…..i am actually looking for a part time job at the moment and the 30 second window to explain myself is not only a great idea but it is also very informative and catchy. The next time someone asks me “what do you do for a living” I will be prepared to anwser the question with enthusiasem and effectiveness while quickly covering the important information and i will attempt to only anwser the question in a way in which they will remember it and so it will stand out. Thanks agin ~Shane

    P.S. I also subscribed and Liked your page! You cover some very interesting topics and they are actually very helpful and well written

  5. Amanda says:


    I love what you are doing! Great blog post. I started an elevator speech several years ago and really struggled with it. Just now I took another try and it came out seamlessly. Here it is:

    “I do holistic personal branding for individuals who are looking to create a joyous life that is consistent with their true nature. We start with uncovering our true values. Then we synthesize how these values bear influence on our lives. Finally we create a holistic brand signature that upholds our values and leads us to a life we have always dreamed of living.”

    I would love to know if you think this is clear enough? I am going to reblog your article. I think it is great.

    With love, Amanda

    • Amanda, I love it! You don’t want the intro to tell everything, just enough to give them an idea of what you do and to get their attention.

      My only suggestion: change “our” to “your.” It immediately places them in the path for you to help them! It personalized it.

      Great job!

  6. Pingback: Who Are You? | mysignature.tv | in the making

  7. Nicolette E. says:

    Found you through O.M.! Love your article!

  8. Garr! If I knew completely who I wanted to be and wasn’t still in college this would be so helpful…what’s an interesting line for college students?

    • I do coaching with college students as well as executive coaching.

      But to answer your question, just be honest. What’s wrong with saying, “I’m not sure exactly what I want to do for the rest of my life, but this is where I am going to start my journey….”

      I love the fact you don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Personally, I think that places you on a much quicker path to true happiness!

      Let me share a secret with you: we adults don’t know what we want to be when we grow up either. Some of us just know what we want to do right now, while other adults don’t have clarity on that.

      You are well within the boundaries of normal in this area.

      So, stop worrying and just enjoy the beginning of your journey! I am confident you will be just fine.

  9. amyhasken says:

    Funny…I wrote up a post last week that is sitting in my drafts that is similar…based on the topic of “who are you”. I like your post 🙂 I will be posting mine soon…so look out for it. It’s called “Identity crisis” but I have two blog sites…I will be posting it in my group blog site that I started with a couple of my friends: http://www.toeachourown.com I think opinitated man would like that site too 😉

  10. Good advice. I am an Innocent Bystander.

  11. Found you through O.M. Love your blog. My “quick” response is one of two things:

    I’m a human “being,” not a human “doing” – a daughter of the Lord Most High who serves wherever she’s needed and in whatever capacity.
    A missionary cleverly disguised as a homemaker and author!

    I’m new to this whole blogging thing. As soon as I can figure out how, I’ll be following yours. \o/

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