I wanted to riff on something that came up in a recent interview with Carol on women entrepreneurs. She mentioned that so many women have a wishy-washy answer filled with disclaimers about what they do, or what their business does. She said it makes her crazy.

It makes me crazy, too. I want to shake someone who does that, and I’ve seen men do it as well.

Think Cher slapping Nicholas Cage in Moonstruck saying, “Snap out of it!”

Seriously, this has to stop. You are a professional and you have a business. If you aren’t excited about it and aren’t confident in what you do, I can promise you nobody else will be.

When you start

If you’re just starting your business or launching a new product or service, you may have to bluff your way through a bit at first. You might not have your messaging dialed in, and you might not be exactly sure who your ideal customer is.

We all start somewhere. Make your best guess and start testing your messaging on real people who can give you feedback.

When you say what you do, do they stare at you blankly? Do they understand? Do they ask questions?

Don’t get too technical and don’t use industry or corporate jargon. Newspapers are written on a middle-school level for a reason. You should be able to explain what you do to anyone.

When to adjust

If you have messaging that’s been working for one market, that doesn’t mean it will work in another market. You may be doing more or less the same thing, but you will need to adjust what you say to match the words your prospective customers might use.

If you have a track record, you might want to include that to bolster your confidence and credibility. You might say something like, “We’ve been working with customers in the banking industry and now we are expanding our offering to insurance customers.”

You sound confident. You sound like you know what you’re doing. Nice job!

When you nail it

There is a certain energy that happens when you have finely tuned what you say, and when used in conjunction with confident body language and vocal pacing, the effect is stunning.

You will vibrate like a tuning fork when you land on the right wording and tone. The person you are talking to, if they are interested in your thing, will lean in and ask you to tell them more. They’ll ask how you do your thing, if you work with people like them, if you could talk to their spouse or sister-in-law, etc.

But you probably won’t be able to get to this point alone, and certainly not within a reasonable amount of time. You will need to workshop it out loud with someone. You will need to notice what your voice sounds like, what you feel in your body, and how it lands for the other person.

I did a session with a client earlier this week. She has been in business for nine years, but her focus has shifted recently, and we needed to adjust the way she was talking about what she does to fit a certain networking opportunity.

For maybe 15 minutes we kicked around ways she could talk about her work, and then we landed on the perfect language that was in her style and would resonate with this audience. The top of my head felt like it was on fire. I started yelling, “That’s it! That’s it!”

She’s not as crazy as I am, but even she had to say she felt grounded and confident. She said it felt right and true in her body. She said she should make a 30-second video for the home page of her website.

That thing you do? Own it – and own it big.