Quick quiz.  For those readers of mine located, as I am, in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, what comes to mind when you think of the town of Leavenworth, Washington?  Lederhosen, perhaps?  Bavarian architecture?  Picturesque beer gardens nestled in an alpine setting?

Love the little town or hate it, Leavenworth is a terrific example of “branding” in action.  Having spent a few days there this past week, one thing’s for sure: this town doesn’t blend in with the crowd.  Out of roughly 210 cities in the State of Washington, none have made as deliberate of an effort to carve out a unique niche for themselves.  Billing themselves as “Your Bavarian Getaway” in all of their materials, they pull out every stop to deliver on this promise, from the omnipresent availability of bratwurst to the alphorn serenades we were treated to each morning in my hotel!

At any rate, this overly roundabout introduction is not actually designed to drive more tourist dollars to Leavenworth, but instead to showcase a terrific book by a good friend and ally of Career Horizons, Lorraine Howell.  In case you haven’t met Lorraine, or heard of her company Media Skills Training, she wrote a pioneering publication in the networking field a few years ago — titled Give Your Elevator Speech a Lift! — that is just what the doctor ordered for those job hunters out there (and I know there are many of you!) who are still struggling to introduce yourselves in a memorable, distinct way.

Having originally written the book back in 2006, Lorraine recently updated the publication to include a number of new thoughts and tips related to “elevator pitch” creation — in addition to adding an extra chapter devoted specifically to the concept of personal branding and delivering successful presentations.  Available for $10.36 by clicking here on Amazon.com, this book is a great addition to the arsenal of any business professional, consultant, or active job hunter.

Lorraine was even kind enough to present a mini-seminar on these concepts to one of my networking groups last week, during which time she emphasized the importance of people asking questions like “What do you better than anyone else?” and “What spins your jets?” to get at the core of their personal brand and how to communicate it.  She even mentioned a special collaboration she’s been involved with at Cornell University, where she’s helping teach the students there how to “pitch” themselves most effectively as they graduate and transition into the job market.  That’s pretty cool and a pretty darn credible endorsement of her work, if you ask me…

So for those of you out there still wrestling with the challenge of introducing yourself succinctly to those around you, and to get a “Wow, tell me more about that!” reaction from the people you meet, this book may be the best ten bucks you’ve ever spent.  Lorraine’s taken her great initial thoughts on the subject, from five years ago, and, without question, made them even better!