I recently launched a free tool, called the One Word Formula, to help creative humans talk about their work.
If you sometimes feel awkward or uncertain when entering social situations, this is for you. It is a tool that will both help you feel good when you share your ideas and help you build better connections with the people you meet.
Let me tell you why this is the case.
Everyone attending a party or event wants to find someone they can connect with.
One ice breaker I like is the question about how you came to be there, something like “ how do you know the host,” or “how did you learn about this event.”
This offers a great place to start to get to know someone. But the conversation usually comes back to the question of “what do you do?”
This is where the One Word Formula comes into play. You can use your one word to begin to share your story and to do so in a way that invites interest and connection.
Let’s look at different ways people approach the question of “what do you do.”
1. Be shy: stumble because of being awkward about sharing details about what you do
2. Overshare: use the question as a jumping off point, taking over the floor
3. Invite a conversation: share details about one’s work in a way that creates a space for conversation
The one word technique helps you take this third approach. With the one word you share just enough to establish what you do and what your project focus is, and then open the floor to the possibility of an interesting discussion.
So what is this one word formula?
The formula goes like this.
I am a [state your creative title], and I am working on a project about [state your topic].
People then know what you do (one possible avenue of conversation) and the topic you are interested in (another possible avenue of conversation).
If you are in a room full of creatives, you can talk about your process or mutual friends or inspirations.
If you are in a room full of people who are not filmmakers/painters/dancers/fill-in-the-blank creative practice, the topic opens the door for others to comment on and engage with you further.
I designed the formula from the perspective of meeting people outside of your creative pursuits, so I was thinking of the one word as the topic that would open up conversations with those that do not know anything about what it is you do. But the one word works in any context.
This way of introducing your work creates an opportunity for conversation, and given that people are looking for ways to connect, this is a gift.
Because when you shy away from sharing anything about what you do in response to the question, “what do you do,” you are essentially putting up a wall. It is hard for the other person to continue a dialogue.
And when you dive into talking about your project and your work, it rarely leaves room for a back and forth dialogue.
Having the One Word Formula at the ready will help you create a space for dialogue and the possibility to learn more about your topic, find potential partners, viewers, funders and more.
Best of all, you’ll have better connections and feel less intimidated by the question, “what do you do.”
Advance story telling tip
You share your story every time you talk about your work, not just when you write about it in grant proposals and on websites.
The One Word Formula is a great way to start tracking what aspects of your story people get most excited about.
Try this the next time you are out in a social situation where you are meeting new people. Take a notebook and write down the words and phrases that spark the most interest when you are having conversations. These words can be used in marketing messages when you get ready to launch your project.
If you need help identifying your One Word, click here to download your copy of the One Word Formula.