Ever been tongue-tied at a networking event?
Somebody asked, “And what do you do?”
And you said, “I’m a freelance writer.”
So far so good.
But then they followed up with… “So, what kind of writing do you do? Who have you written for?”
And everything fell apart.
You didn’t know what to say.
How can you prevent this problem?
You need a “me” speech
I was introduced to this concept by IJ Schecter, author of 102 Ways to Earn Money Writing 1,500 Words or Less.
What’s a “me” speech?
It’s a short script about yourself. It tells what type of writing you do — white papers? blog posts? — and what types of clients you do it for. National magazines? Trade publications? Small businesses? The Fortune 500?
If you have a specialized industry you cover, it talks about that too.
I had developed a “me” speech over the years. I just never thought of it as that. But that’s what it is.
If you don’t have one, you should write one.
Networking happens everywhere
Even if you think you will never go to an official networking event, you should write a “me” speech.
You never know when an opportunity to find a client will appear — at a family dinner, in an elevator, at a professional conference. Be ready to take advantage of that moment.
Also, writing the speech helps you clarify what you’re doing, and the types of clients you’re looking for.
What are you looking for?
I remember being flummoxed the first time a networker asked me who my ideal client is. The question made me realize they weren’t small businesses anymore. Which is what that particular room was full of.
I needed to find new networking groups where my ideal clients were hanging out.
Once I did, I was able to get much better-paying gigs.
When you crystallize what you’re looking for, that helps people in your network find it for you. It also helps you ask for it with confidence.
What’s my “me” speech?
Right now, I’d say “I’m a freelance writer specializing in business. I write and ghost business books, and write for big companies in Seattle and around the world.”
My “me” speech has changed a lot over the years. Remember to review and update your speech now and then, as your career progresses.
Homework: Write your “me” speech. Then, practice saying your “me” speech out loud, to make sure it’s conversational. You don’t want to sound like you’re reading your resume, or making a sales pitch. It’s just a short spiel to describe what you do.