Did you know in Europe it’s rude to ask someone what they do? This is probably because they have a few more centuries experience than North Americans regarding horrible answers. You see, if you don’t answer this question properly, you’ll end up with unintended confusion.
For example, here’s how cynics interpret the answer to, “So, what do you do?”
Answer A Cynic’s Interpretation
|I’m a Lawyer
|Strange, you seem like a nice person.
|I’m a Teacher
|You must be new since you still seem sane.
|I’m a Motivational Speaker
|Clearly you’re starved for attention with a knack for clichés.
|I’m a Used Car Salesman
|Interesting, I don’t smell cheese.
|I’m a Financial Planner
|Ha. I saw your car. How’s that working out for ya?
|I’m a Realtor
|Putting your college degree to good use I see.
|I’m a Multi-Level Marketer
|Oh, isn’t that a pyramid scheme?
|I’m a Doctor
|When’s it too soon to talk about my prostate?
To avoid confusion and cynics looking down their disrespective noses at you – take a page out of marketing professionals everywhere. Lead with value!
First – Think of Yourself as a Brand
If a BMW had lips and answered the “So what do you do?” question with, “I’m a car,” how appealing would that be? Instead, your be-lipped BMW would use the tag line, “I am the ultimate driving machine.” That’s better and more valuable to the listener.
Second – Lose Your Features Addiction
Since a speaker, author and consultant wrote what you’re reading, when I see a person put Speaker, Author, and Consultant under his or her name I get nauseous. (Oops… I’m made myself gag.) Do you have any idea how many speakers, authors and consultants put the "Speaker, Author, Consultant" under their names? A gazillion! Lose your addiction to what you do and refocus attention on what you deliver. Question: “So, what do you do?” Answer: “I help companies reach BIG GOALS in half the time.” That’s intriguing value.
Third – Its Only Valuable Memory that Counts
If you said, lawyer, teacher, motivational speaker or any other profession, the chances are your listener will remember you based on their cynical interpretation. Why leave it up to them as to what they remember? Burn an image into their memory that oozes value. Let’s revisit better answers to the question, “So, what do you do?”
I help corporations avoid painful lawsuits.
I teach 8th graders how to speak and read in French.
I open conferences with a Big Goals in Short Order presentations.
I help people find affordable and dependable cars.
I help people reach their financial goals.
I help families find the home of their dreams.
I help people achieve simple wealth and simple health.
I am a doctor and I don’t want to check your prostate.
Sure, it’s easier just to answer with __(insert your job here)__. But who needs to give the cynics, or Europeans for that matter, any more ammunition than they already have?