What do you do?

Robert de Niro

Hi – What do you do Robert?

I was reading a book by Michael Port called Book Yourself Solid and in it he gives some really interesting advice about answering the question:

“What do you do?”

This is probably asked of you a few times week when you meet new people and it might typically arise at a networking event.

Your typical answer is to use your normal industry label “I’m an architect, an accountant, a solicitor, a financial consultant, a life coach, a banker, an insurance broker, a PR consultant, a social media consultant“.

While this is helpful as it does wrap “you” in a nice simple understandable package, Michael Port argues that this is possibly doing you a big disservice.

Once you mention that “label” you are bunching yourself automatically with every other person who might use the same label to describe themselves. For example if the person has had a poor experience in the past with a “wealth advisor” then the minute you mention that you are a “wealth advisor” they mightn’t like you very much and will politely shuffle away from you!

Imagine Robert De Niro answering the question by saying “I am an actor“!

Michael’s simple suggestion is that instead of using the typical label why not describe “what you do” in a much more descriptive way.

Michael’s suggestion struck a chord with me as I know when I am asked the question “what do you do” I certainly don’t want anyone to put me in the same category as any of the people working in our general area – I am totally different and I bring vast business background and a particular skill-set to the table.

So instead I might say: “Working with a great team I use my considerable experience to make businesses and organisations more successful by first making sure their proposition is presented in the best possible way and then getting as many people as possible to hear about them” …. I could even go simpler with “I work with a really talented team to make businesses and organisations better“.

Oh.. how do you do that?” and then you tell them!

What do you do?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

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