How to Answer “What Do You Do” Effectively

Whenever you go to any type of networking event, gathering or even just to the grocery store, there is a chance that someone will want to know what you do for a living. You’ll need to explain what you do effectively within 60 seconds or so for anyone asking to still be interested in what you do after asking. That is where a prepared elevator speech can come in handy.

To prepare your elevator speech, answer the following questions. It can help if you answer them on 3 x 5 cards or if you use software like MS Word or Trello to help you organize your answers. You want to be able to mix and match the answers you create into an easy to edit (on the fly) elevator speech that you can use anytime it comes up.

Who Are You? – This is simply your name and maybe a random fact related to your audience and business as well. “Hi, I’m Jane Smith, and I help businesses build a consistent brand.”

 What Do You Do? – Add more of what you do, remember to frame it from the audience’s perspective. If you state “I’m a graphic designer” no one really knows what that is. You could create websites, you could develop logos, create videos – there is so much that could happen under that “graphic designer” label. Be very specific about what you do concerning the benefits you’re providing someone.

 Who Do You Do It For? – Knowing who your audience is will also help tremendously when preparing your elevator speech. You want everything you say directed toward them so it’s important that you can name who they are within the elevator speech. “Hi, I’m Jane Smith, and through my company Graphics XYZ, I help lady-bosses build regular content for their blog while designing beautiful matching graphics.”

 Why Do You Do It? – You might want to add in something about your why. Right now, just answer why you do it. “For years I suffered from an in-consistent brand that lacked aesthetic appeal.” “I saw that many other female bloggers had the same problem.” Whatever your why is, try to describe it in one sentence.

 What is Your USP? – A USP is a unique selling point or proposition. This requires that you understand who your competition is and how you’re different. Adding into the elevator speech what differentiates you from the competition is a must. “For years I suffered from an in-consistent brand until I discovered, through my company’s unique program, how to end brand in-consistency once and for all without using clunky software or spending tons of money on freelance designers.”

What’s Next? – Always provide some way for them to contact you. Make a freebie offer right there in person. Give them your card with a QR code leading to a landing page just for people you meet in person to take you up on an introductory offer.

Finally, you want to create a hook to bring them in as well as put it all together in a conversational manner. You don’t want to sound robotic or overly prepared, it should seem as if you’re simply talking but that you know your stuff and what you do. You can use this speech many times in many ways throughout your business - including on sales pages, in marketing literature, and in conversations you have with others at any event.

Developing Your Elevator Speech and Bio Workbook .pdf