Answering That Question about What You Do

 

“So what is it that you do?”

How often do you get asked that question? Do you have a rehearsed answer that gets people attention? Or do you find yourself struggling each time to find the right expressions to explain what “you do”?

When someone asks what your organization does, do you have a concise explanation? What of your colleagues? Would their description of what your organization does be similar?

The best thing an individual or organization can do for themselves is to think through and develop a script to answer the most basic of human exchanges; particularly the obvious questions about one’s identity and purpose. Here’s our suggestion: take the time and craft an “elevator chat” script.

The elevator chat will serve you (and your colleagues) as a concise description of who you are, what you do and why it matters. It can be developed to sound informal; however, a good script will be precise and capture the essence and significance of your work. Because you take the time to refine the key message(s), this script will be clear and accurate. 

An effective elevator chat will be intriguing and leave your audience curious and wanting to learn more of what you do.

In order to help you craft a sound and engaging elevator chat, here are four questions to prompt your creative process and hone your core message(s).  

  • 1. Answer the question “Why do I care?” Why should someone care and take notice of what you do? Talk about the significance of your work and/or organization – rather than its structure and your duties. In this way, you may establish an emotional connection between you and the person standing before you..
  • 2. Answer the question “What sets you apart?” You should highlight what makes you unique, distinctive – what sets you apart. It may be that you are the first or only one to be doing your work in the area – or perhaps you approach your work in a certain manner from others.
  • 3. Answer the basics. Include relevant details of the what? where? how? when? In order to showcase the explanation of the why? All details should accentuate the why? – the significance of your work.
  • 4. Anticipate the “So what?” question. Your chat should have a strong closing that provides the audience with a way to learn more, become involved, enter into a longer conversation. If you have made an emotional connection in the 30 – 40 seconds of your chat, there is a perfect opportunity to engage your enquirer in another level of discussion. 

Have a business card to hand out; a website URL to share; a promise to follow-up in the days ahead. Be sure to follow-up with your enquirer. Take a few minutes each day to write thank you and follow-up notes.

So, the next time someone asks, “What is it that you do?” – there will be no grimacing, no fishing for the right phrase. Each elevator chat is an opportunity to share what is significant and, perhaps, to make a new connection.