How To Powerfully Answer the Question: What Do You Do?

How To Powerfully Answer the Question: What Do You Do? - Introvert Whisperer -You Are More Than A Job Title

At this holiday time, parties abound and with them the opportunity to expand your network is huge.  It’s important that you make a lasting impression with the new people you meet and that impression isn’t just about how you look.


A real lasting impression is based on helping the other person anchor their understanding about YOU to something meaningful.


The problem with most new encounters is they are rooted in a poor response to the time-honored question:  What Do You Do?  We are trained to respond with our job title or a close resemblance of a job title mostly because the vast majority of people respond in that way.  It doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do.


So, what’s the problem with answering with your job title?  Let me list a few reasons:

  1. It’s predictable.  Like I said, the vast majority of people respond with a job title.  Predictable is boring which equates to “forgettable”.  Do you want to be forgettable?
  2. It’s boring.  This could go with the previous one but I’m trying to make a point.
  3. The brain shuts down if nothing interesting is said.  Interesting is something that the other person can relate to and perhaps take advantage of at some point in the future.  It’s the WIIFM effect (What’s In It For Me).
  4. Job titles are rarely relatable.  Job titles are usually made up on the spur of the moment and are often so cryptic that only the insiders can understand.  Job titles are babble.


You can make the right impression, be memorable and be a standout in all of those gatherings this year.  All it takes is a great alternative to using a job title.


Let’s look at how you can craft a great response:



  • What do you accomplish or what results to you obtain?


You probably obtain a number of really great results, so what are the ones you want to be known for?  An example would be if you were a project manager, one of the results you obtain is timely completion of X type of projects or it could be the size of the project or being under budget.



Similar to the previous question but another way to look at the work you do.  Does your project save time, money, make money or reduce workload?  This is where you think in terms of the impact your results have on business or people.


  • Who receives the benefit from what you do?


This is important because this is where your newly acquired friend can start relating your work to them or people they know.  (It’s good to “know people” in this case, YOU)  Does your work impact business owners in the power sector? Or individuals with ambitions? Non-profits?



Now that you’ve got these things in mind, it’s time to add a verb that applies to your work and use these elements to create a seriously powerful and memorable introduction.  Keep it to 1 sentence.  It would sound like this:

“I manage projects for medium-sized factories that cut down assembly time and save the company 50% of labor cost.”

“I show my clients how to lose up to 20% body fat without feeling tortured while they do it.”

These aren’t boring or predictable and will help new people remember you.  Also, when you respond to that inevitable question of “What do you do?” this way, it helps keep the conversation going which is the sign of a good conversationalist.


You will need to write down and practice your response so it starts feeling comfortable and second nature to you.  Then, go to those holiday parties and be the rock star.


Personal Branding starts with how well you speak about YOU.  I want to help you accelerate your success by connecting you with my new book: Elevator Speeches That Get Results.  In this book, I give you simple to follow instructions for creating a “wardrobe” of ways to talk about you – to leave a lasting impression.  Get your copy now. Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.

Brought to you by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – dedicated to unleash your professional potential.



About Dorothy

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is the Introvert Whisperer, Career & Leadership, speaker and author.

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