Preparing the Perfect 30 Second Introduction


30 sec Intro


Imagine you have gone to a conference. There will be lots and lots of professionals, eager to do some networking. No one has the time to actually have a long discussion but everyone is willing to network, somehow.

Or just imagine you are someone looking for a career opportunity. You get on an elevator, and there walks in the CEO of a company you were going to apply at!

There’s a new client you need to network with, preferably for the long-term. There’s a call and you need to make them listen first, you need them to stay. You need to sell your brand. And fast, they have a list of companies waiting for tie-ups!

In situations like these, the thirty second intro comes to the rescue. It’s  also known as an elevator pitch.


First things first, what does it mean?

As the name suggests, it is a short, clear, concise introduction of your brand (personal or company, depending on the situation). While you might consider it as a verbal equivalent of your business card, it is supposed to be much more engaging.

It should have the brevity of an elevator ride: you should be able to give a basic but engaging introduction of your brand in the approximate time-span of an elevator ride.

You have to be prepared because you never know when opportunity knocks, right? It’s almost like a script you rehearse and follow. Almost. We will get to it soon.


Now, what should you include in the short introduction?

This will depend according to your purpose and audience. But the very basics include:

  • Who you are, that is, not just your name but also your clear job title.
  • Chief skills, competencies and chief audience.
  • What makes you unique.
  • An example that gives substance to your claim to be unique. But make sure you don’t go on telling a story. A general example is fine. We will get to the example soon.
  • Perhaps a tagline, a hook to sum it all up.

Even if you are going for an interview, or you want to write a summary for your LinkedIn, you can think of your intro along the lines of these questions, which are essentially variations of the basic outline just laid out above:

  • Who you are, and your current job title.
  • Where you have worked before. Remember, talk about it very briefly, only the highlights.
  • Your chief skills and competencies, your chief audience.
  • What makes you unique. Again, with examples of your accomplishments for substance.
  • What you are looking for and why.
  • Why you are currently in the market.

Remember, it should include all this information but not necessarily in this order. If you can think of a more engaging and fun (but still a coherent order), go for it.


What are some things you should keep in mind?

Now, why is it almost like a script?

Because you will have to prepare this beforehand, and perhaps even rehearse, so you know what to speak, when and to whom. Why ‘almost’? Because you are not going to parrot it. You will have to be mindful about your purpose, and the circumstances you find yourself in. It is not enough to stress the importance of changing the “script” according to who you are talking to. And most importantly, let the other person talk and let you ask questions.

You should be able to elaborate on a detail if you have been asked about it.


Now, an example! Construct something along these lines, which can work for your LinkedIn summary, your networking events, for interviews or maybe even unexpectedly bumping into someone. Remember, look at the context, assess what needs to be said and go for it!

A: I am A. I am currently a lawyer with the firm YXA. Let me know if you ever need my help in anything.

B: There are so many start-ups these days but new ventures take time to gain traction. Some people actually hope they don’t end up doing something illegal unintentionally! I see this a lot. That’s where I see the value of my job: helping people who want to set up their start-ups but aren’t sure in case of how to go about the legal processes and formalities.  I am B, a lawyer currently employed at the firm YXA. We deal with various arenas of law and legalities. Just recently I assisted a group of women who loved to bake cakes together set up a little bakery start-up of their own. If you have any of such requirements where the legalities need to be sorted out, I would be happy to assist!

A is just too plain. B gives the introduction, who is served, and also an example. There are enough details: not too many, which might confuse, and not too few, which might make one sound shady. There is a scope to ask more.

Once you know the structure in your mind, you will be able to create your own unique intros!


Remember, it’s almost a script. Keep the basic outline in mind, but don’t parrot it, and give the other person the time to respond. And don’t forget to hand them your visiting card while parting.

Keep it short, simple. No unnecessary jargon please! Show them what makes you different!

You Name It: Why Getting Names Right Is Important

Getting names right image

What is probably the first thing you would know about a person, be it a colleague, client or candidate?

What is it that defines a company?

What is it that leads to an establishment of personal rapport?

What is that sets a person apart from everyone else?

It’s the NAME!

Making blunders in people’s and company’s names is a very embarrassing error, and sometimes it can cost you business.


  • Getting International Matters Right:

When you are working with clients from all over the world, it is not rare to come across names you have never heard before. Or names which are not common in your country. Or names which mean something really different in your region, which might make you chuckle. It is necessary to have sensitivity in such matters.

Whatever be the reason, if you come across a name which you have not heard before, and have a doubt about its pronunciation, it is best to just ask.  Ask the person himself or herself, or ask Google.

Correct spelling is also something one should ask.

It is not uncommon to find emails addressed to the “wrong” people because of inattention to the exact spelling.


  • The Basics: 

It is necessary to get a name right because if not the first, it is one of the initial steps in ensuring a successful interpersonal interaction.

Clients and candidates alike, all people, feel valued when you remember their names, with their correct spellings and pronunciations. It conveys that you have been listening and paying attention to what they were saying.

Wouldn’t client-relations suffer if you didn’t even remember as basic a thing as a name?


  • Remember, Companies Have Names Too:

While it is one thing to make error in the name of a person, things can go wrong at a whole different level when one makes an error in the name of a company or firm/organisation.

It is always a good idea to double-check the name of the company that is being used in various documents and other paperwork. This can prevent transactional and other administrative goof-ups.


  • Tracking Changes:

While it is important to pay attention to the names and their correct spellings and pronunciations, it is equally important to be updated about the changes.

Updated about names?

Many companies begin with one name, and sometimes as their reach and scope evolve, so do their names.

Some companies have sister concerns with similar names but different businesses. It is a great idea to clarify such things. It is easy to be mistaken about the identity of companies if the logos, mottos and contact details are similar.

Many people also change their names (including middle names, surnames ) due to various reasons. It is necessary to have the documentation up to date in such cases to avoid administrative complications and frauds.


  • A Sign Of Respect:

A big reason to pay attention to names and making efforts to get them right is that it can be considered a very basic form of courtesy.

Repeated mispronunciations, blunders are not only annoying for the person who is at the receiving end but also very disrespectful.

In a professional setting, one is expected to apologise for and rectify unintentional errors. When this doesn’t happen despite repeated attempts at pointing out the mistake, it might come across as mockery.

What to do if you are the one with a “unique” name? Sadly the most common approach people take is to just tolerate the misnomer given.

But fortunately, there are other alternatives, and situation is changing, thankfully. Globalisation has desensitised everyone to a whole lot of hitherto unfamiliar names.

Moreover, the internet is a great tool. For the person who is having trouble with calling out that name, there are exact phonetic pronunciations just a Google search away for at least some names. For the person facing the mini-identity crisis of sorts, there’s the option to send a mail to the entire office clarifying before everyone gets accustomed to making the mistake.

Names are not just empty words, and it is necessary to understand why we should make an effort to get them right.


Humour In The Office: The Do’s and The Don’ts 

Humour in the office edited image


Laughter is considered one of the best stress-busters out there.

It is a great way to lighten up the atmosphere and the mood.

Aren’t people with a good sense of humour, who have jokes for every occasion such saviours?

Cracking jokes and laughing out loud in an informal setting is one thing. Being amongst friends and family, peers and acquaintances gives a certain level of freedom in LOL-ing our way out of seriousness. Even the edgier kind of humour finds a certain acceptability.

Professional spaces have more stringent boundaries and codes of conduct, and this is applicable to all the funny business as well. But that doesn’t mean a complete embargo on cracking good jokes and displaying a healthy sense of humour.

So first, let us see some good things that can come out of using humour in a professional setting.

Information Retention:

Adding humour in presentations, meetings can engage everyone in a better way, and in turn, increasing the retention of what has been talked about. Remembering why and where we laughed a bit during a presentation helps us to look back and actually remembering the whole presentation. Humour can be thus used to make impactful presentations, and more engaging meetings.


Breaking the News:

Putting an otherwise worrying message across with help of humour is a good idea to lighten up gloom. The humour can also help one realise that whatever happens, they will be able to cope, and that things will fall into place.

Sandwiching difficult to convey news between doses of humour is a good idea if you don’t want to send people into panic modes. Note that we are talking about difficult news, not sad news.


Building Relations:

Cracking a simple, innocent but a joke apt to the situation can furthermore help in building and nurturing relationships. A good sense of humour is a delightful way to put to ease a nervous new employee. Humour is a great tool for rapport building. It can also add light and positive vibes in the office space.


But since we are talking about professional contexts, there are some things one should especially keep in mind.


Do Not Try Too Hard:

The main task is to do the job, not trying to be funny. Your office isn’t a platform for practicing stand-up comedy. If you feel you aren’t naturally funny, it’s best to think twice before saying anything which you think might trigger unwanted reactions. Laughter is used to make things easy, not awkward or worse. It is best if laughter comes through an unforced, organic process.


The Right Kind:

The kind of humour and jokes, and where and how you are using them is very important. There are jokes which are simply inappropriate to the situation or are just blatantly offensive. Avoid cracking jokes directed at communities or sections of people. And there are people who can take a joke, and those who can’t. Make sure to keep such distinctions in mind.


Sensible Humour:

Context is extremely important. And so is having a sense how a joke has gone with everyone. Always assess the situation before making any seemingly humorous remark. You don’t want anyone to feel too uncomfortable. Cracking a joke in front of someone who has just been fired ,for example, may not go well, even if your intention was to “cheer” them up. Sometimes, the context demands you let the storm pass. Don’t joke around just for the sake of it.


Humour in the office is thus a tight-rope balancing act of art. Ideally, it should not feel forced and artificial. But once the art has been mastered, it goes a long way in easing stress levels, tension and boredom. Humour, in a professional setting is all about understanding the rights and wrongs.


Say It Right: The 7Cs of Communication



Communication is an integral part  of our professional interactions.

But unfortunately, communication is something that is very easy to mess up. And the worst part is it is very difficult to see what exactly went wrong with the way we communicated: what we say makes perfect sense to us.

The 7 Cs come in handy here. Putting our intended message through these tests is a great way to ensure the message is as well articulated as possible. Be it emails, phone calls, text messages or letters, putting a message through these criteria can make our professional interpersonal interactions much less prone to misunderstandings.

Let us first take a look at the 7 Cs themselves. A message should be: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, courteous. Additionally, it should also be considerate, and credible.

Sounds too obvious? Let us see how things can go wrong if these seemingly basic “filters” aren’t applied.

  1. Clear:

A clear message conveys a specific goal and purpose. Its meaning is well-understood. After reading/listening to it, we know why was it sent to us in the first place. It is not ambiguous.

A: I would like to talk to you about the meeting.

B: I would be glad to discuss with you about the client meeting that took place on the 23rd. Let me know when is a good time to call.

Doesn’t B sound much clearer about the sender’s intentions?


  1. Concise:

A concise message is brief and to the point. There are no unnecessary digressions. There are no unnecessary repetitions. If it can be conveyed in four sentences, it should not extend to ten sentences.

A: I received your email and I must say it was very pleasant to receive your email. As you mentioned in the email, I will send in the necessary details but there’s just one doubt as to what is the day I should keep in mind as the last day to send the mail.

B: Glad to receive your mail. I will send in the necessary details. Is there a deadline I should keep in mind?

A has a lot of repetition, with circular communication. B on the other hand packs in information in just a few sentences.


  1. Concrete:

A concrete message has details and facts necessary to substantiate the message. It does not include empty, generic or rhetorical statements.

A: There was a lot of productive discussion at the meeting. It went well.

B: The meeting saw a lot of discussion pertaining to the pending IT upgrades. A decision has been made to upgrade all the computers from Windows 7 to Windows 10.

B gives a reason why the meeting was productive. A just makes a passing remark.


  1. Correct:

Correctness doesn’t just mean the truth value of facts and details, but also the grammatical structure and syntax of the message. And not to forget proper, readable fonts if it’s a written one. It is a great idea to proofread any written message before sending it in. A correct message also uses appropriate language, and is not wrongly timed.

A: Hello guys, we are having an amazing Christmas party next week. Looking forward to you presences. Detailing will be sent soon.



We cordially invite you to the annual Christmas party. We look forward to your presence. The details shall be sent soon.

A not only uses a very informal, and hence inappropriate language, it also has errors, “you presences” instead of “your presence”; “detailing” instead of “details”. B has a balance of formal and festive. Note how spellcheckers are blind to such errors as in A.


  1. Coherent:

A coherent message maintains direction of the topic and doesn’t turn into a rambling. Much like the clarity aspect, it successfully conveys the purpose of the message.

A: Mr. X from the Accounting department wanted to talk to you about some particulars you had submitted the other day. I don’t know if there is a problem, there is certainly a doubt. He hasn’t talked about that , I am not sure how urgent this is.

B: Kindly get in touch with Mr. X from the Accounting department as soon as possible. There seems to be a doubt pertaining to the particulars you have submitted.


  1. Complete:

It is important to include all the necessary details like date, time, location, names, etc. in accordance to the message. The receiver should feel informed, not confused.

A: Ready for the meeting tomorrow?

B: This mail is a reminder for the meeting scheduled tomorrow, i.e. 10th January 2019, in the conference room, at 11 am.

A just throws in a random statement. Just a general reminder isn’t enough, one must provide the specific details.


  1. Courteous:

A courteous message is honest and civil, treating the receiver as a sensible human being– not talking down in any way. One should be careful it doesn’t have a passive aggressive tone, even while expressing some sort of a disapproval or negative feedback.

A:  I have been mailing you repeatedly to send me the details of the company but I think you have other much more important things going on.

B: Apologies for the repeated mails. I wanted to remind you to send me the details of the company as soon as possible.

Isn’t A much more likely to make someone feel like they have done something terribly wrong?


Be it online or offline communication, it is important to remember that we can’t read each other’s minds, and it is important to be a an empathetic sender and a perceptive receiver.

One Week Into New Year

New Year article image


New Year. Resolutions. Hopes. Looking back at the year gone, and looking forward to the year ahead. Parties, festivities, gatherings give a certain high. The exuberance around the event rubs off on you in its own way even if you choose to stay indoors, and have a quiet time. But what about the week after the New Year?

A point comes when the high spirits begin their descent. The routine stares you dead in the eye. The new year begins to feel not so new anymore.

One week into the new year, and we often begin to lose all the motivation we had gathered.

So, what are the things you can do to keep the enthusiasm and the level of motivation sustained?


Relevant Resolutions:

A reason we often slip up and thus lose the motivation is when we make resolutions which are more or less thrust upon us. The media tells us we should resolve to go to the gym from now on, eat healthy, improve our lifestyles, and be happier. But do we actually assess our own needs? Really, our own, unique needs?

Imagine Mr. X is a classic Gen Z person who texts and emails very well. But he lacks the communication skills needed to talk on phone, and face to face. He has lost some clients in 2018 owing to his inability to maintain client relations and networks. The need of the hour is to polish up this skill-set, not go on making a popular resolution.

If you need to work on your communication skills, a resolution to go to the gym might not really give the sense of accomplishment you were hoping to achieve.

It doesn’t matter if you are a week into the New Year. It’s not too late to think of something new and much more relevant!


Realistic Resolutions:

One of the biggest reasons we can’t keep at our New Year resolutions beyond a week or so is because we don’t consider the reality. The end of the year festive spirit all around gets us carried away, and we make grand resolutions.

Making realistic resolutions can help us fulfil them with much ease, leading to an increased sense of accomplishment, and an increased sense of happiness and an increased sense of feeling meaningful. And thus increased motivation.

For example, Ms. Y has had a problem with punctuality. She makes a resolution to reach office on time from now on. One needs tremendous patience and will-power to hang on to it while the bad habit takes its own sweet time to correct. Chances of giving up are high.

Instead, she can make a resolution to reach office on time at least twice or thrice a week. And then she can increase the number of days as she succeeds. The chances of getting frustrated by failure and giving up are relatively low.

One step is better than beginning to run and slipping and falling on the way.

You can alter your resolution this way, rather than completely giving up.


Something to Look Forward:

Resolutions aren’t the only way to kick start a New Year.

You can make little changes in your working style, your desk, your surroundings to feel like the year is truly new.

We often feel the sense of routine slowly creeping in when we don’t see any ‘changes’, when we don’t see anything new around the office.

“New Year, new me” is a bit unrealistic and even a bit of a cringe. But “New Year, new stuff” can work really well.

Do not underestimate the power of little things to make you look forward to something.

One week into the New Year, but it’s never too late to purchase a dainty little pen-holder, or a sleek looking laptop cover. Retail-therapy need not be about pocket-harming splurges!



So, you have tried everything you could to keep your level of enthusiasm high but nothing has worked that well.

You feel frustrated, and feel like this year is going to be no different than 2018.

Now is the time to look back at the pending things. Sometimes, working itself is the solution.

It’s a new year but that doesn’t mean there won’t be anything unfinished from the previous one!

If you feel nothing has changed, use it positively! Convert that feeling of everything being the same into a feeling of continuity. Pick on the rhythm and continue with it. The New Year can sure give old things a new sense of purpose.

Sign those documents, get onto that next step, continue working like just another day, and hang on to that sense of rhythm! Who said New Year is just for setting new goals? You can always rework on some old ones.

New Year is a wonderful excuse to begin everything anew, to get into good habits and getting rid of the bad ones. Setting workable goals, or reworking old goals, and finding something meaningful to do would ensure the motivation levels stay high beyond the first week. It’s a new day, a new year and a wonderful opportunity to find new solutions to age old problems!