How do you answer “So, What Do You Do?”

I’d have to say, next to asking your name or how you’re doing, one of the most popular questions you hear when networking is “So, what do you do?”  Knee jerk response is generally to say what your job title is, what you ARE, so answers like “I’m an accountant” or “I’m a house cleaner” are the norm.  It not only can end the start of a conversation, but it leaves the asker of the question to fill in the blanks and really decide what you do according to whatever experience or stereotype they may have already.  Would you want that?  I’d think not.

So how should one answer the popular “What do you do?” question then?  Instead of saying what you are tell them what you DO.  So instead of accountant, why not tell them how you specialize in relieving stress for business owners by taking care of their numbers instead of them?  Or for the house cleaner, why not tell them how you specialize in helping people to make their homes a healthier place to live?  Much more compelling and leaves less to imagination!  This can also springboard naturally into a great conversation about your company and how you’re awesome at what you do and why your a better choice than your competition.  It would be natural for someone to ask more information about what you do if given a statement like that!

To come up with ideas of what to say to answer this question take a moment to make a list.  List the ways you make your clients lives easier, how you add value to their business or personal life by what you do.  Stumped?  Why not email some of your regular clients that love you and ask them?  Added bonus of that is you could end up with a testimonial to use in your promotional material.  Or ask your teenage daughter/son what they think you do – clarity can often come from someone close to you!

So the next time someone asks you what you do think about your “list” and answer their question – don’t tell them what you are, tell them what you DO!

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This entry was posted by Anna Kouwenberg on Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 at 12:03 pm and is filed under Networking. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.


  1. Leanne Enns says:

    Love it! I think often times, people confuse what they do for who they are.

    • Anna says:

      It just blows me away how many people miss such an easy opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competitors! If you have an answer pre-planned for just such a question you stand out and look very professional.