Closeup of young man not listeningDo you hem and haw when you meet someone new who asks you what you do?

When you try to explain what you do, do you ever feel that your answer lands on deaf ears?

If you go to a marketing event with the idea of sharing information about your business, do you feel like you are either turning people off or boring them to death?

Or do you avoid networking events for any of the above reasons?

Becoming the effective messenger of your own message is one of the most important marketing skills you can learn; and yet this type of communication skill is hardly ever mentioned in the context of a marketing strategy.

Sure, we are told to go to networking events; but unless we have a successful strategy once we are there, a deadly combination of lack of skill, compounded by social anxiety, can scuttle our best attempts to connect effectively with people.

So here is one practical business networking tip that you can apply whenever anyone asks you what you do.

Don’t start the first sentence of your reply with the words, “I am …..” and proceed to list your titles and credentials.

It’s too easy to come across as arrogant or a braggart (and to feel uncomfortable with what you are saying) when you start talking about yourself.

Instead, change the entire focus of your reply from yourself to the people whom you help or serve.

Start your sentences with the words, “I work with …..” or “I help …..”

The rest of your sentences can then include the following 4 elements:

1.  Whom you help
2.  The problem you solve for them
3.  The solution your offer
4.  How the solution benefits them

For example, when people ask me what I do, I say something along these lines:

“I work with people who lack confidence speaking up at networking events, giving presentations, or talking on the phone in order to promote themselves and their business. The result is that both their income and their self-esteem suffer. I help them to develop their own powerful messages, and to gain confidence and ease in sharing it; so that they can attract their ideal clients, and exponentially increase their income.”

Please notice that I say something along these lines. I don’t want to sound like a robo call, so I do not memorize a specific sentence.

Unless you are a great actor, a memorized sentence (or elevator pitch, as it is often called) sounds stilted, inauthentic; and, unfortunately, boring. I’m a trained voice actor, and I bore myself if I use a canned response.

Instead, remember this important business networking tip. If you focus on remembering your 4 key points, you are much more likely to be able to use some or all of them to give an appropriate and effective answer when someone asks you what you do.

Please share your favorite method of answering the What do you do? question, and if my suggestions are helpful to you.