At a recent networking event that I attended, I observed a very common situation unfold in a normal conversation. During an initial introduction the most simple of questions was asked… What do you do? What ensued was an awkward attempt by the individual to give a clear and concise response to what is a very common, but not always easy question, to answer.
Now, I will be the first to admit that answering that question for me has been a challenge in the past, and in some ways continues to be, as I expand my personal and professional interests. The key insight I took away from observing that interaction was how critical it is that I am able to articulate “What I do”. After all, if I can’t even explain it to myself, how are others (especially clients and potential clients) ever going to know?
It’s important that we take the time to reflect on capturing the answer to that simple question on an ongoing basis on both a personal and organizational level. When developing our response we should be thinking about the following:
- What – The primary things people can expect to receive when dealing with you
- Who – Who you typically work with and for
- Why – What is the need, purpose, or problem that you are solving
- How – What makes your process or approach unique and desirable
- When – Are there typical scenarios (timing, season, business cycle) that are most applicable
This will not only help current and potential clients to better understand us…but it will also help to avoid really awkward conversations at networking events.