I like what Ford Harding calls the Stern Elevator Speech - before you get scared, it's not stern (being named after someone called Stern) and it's not a speech. In fact, it's less than the 140 character Twitter speech :-)
I use variations of similar introductions, without necessary getting into a spiel about what I do. It's great to get business development opportunities from social occasions.
Some weeks ago I took my kids to one of their friend's birthday party. Got talking to one of kid's father.
Turned out that he was a promoter of a niche manufacturing firm. Then he asked me "So what do you do?"
Me: "Oh, I help organizations set up HR systems and process." (I say that because saying "I'm a HR Consultant" makes them think I am a headhunter, and the conversation goes into a different direction and too much effort goes into making them come around to what I want them to remember. Saying "Am a strategic HR and OD consultant" would ensure another round of clarifications)
When you are trying to build a business relationship, choose to let the person do most of the talking.
"Really?" he said "What kind systems and processes?"
Me: "We work a lot with small and medium enterprises, and because they can't usually afford to set up large HR departments, we develop their recruitment, compensation & benefits system, Performance managment systems so that they can get the most suited talent to come and work for them"
After a couple of minutes he said "I heard what you said. We are also facing a lot of talent challenges in our business. Competition has gone up, and we are losing people to them. Do you have a card on you so that I can call you later?"
It was a social occasion. I did not want to be the one making the 'sales approach' and seem pushy. It was the elevator speech that made he CEO ask for my card.
He called me back, too. Last week.
We had our first meeting today.
Update: And if you think you in HR, Finance and IT don't need to know all this stuff. Here's some advice. Tom Peters thinks if you want to get anything done [and implementaion is paramount to Tom], then you are in sales.
Another interesting article by David Perry and Kevin Donline on How to make your Job Outsource Proof. First thing to do:
Whether or not it's in your job description, finding new business is everyone's responsibility. Cash Flow is the lifeblood of every business looking to grow, prosper and create a stable environment for its employees. So, even if you're in accounting or information technology, what one thing could you do to bring in more revenue? If you're not sure, buy your company's top sales superstar a cup of coffee and ask. Then take action to help bring in more money--and make sure your boss knows about the time you've put in.