What to say when someone asks you what do you do?

You  meet some stranger some day and they ask you, "What do you do?" Do you freeze when that happens? Or do you keep on talking till they just look put-off? Today's article will teach you what to say when someone inevitably asks you that question.


You are in the middle of the airport. You have a few hours to kill. There is another woman sitting next to you. She smiles when you look at her and you get talking. After knowing each other's names, she asks, "What do you do?" 

Do you have an answer for that question? For all you know, she might be writing for a leading magazine, a feature in which will take your business to greater heights like never before. If you get this right, it will be the most important step for your business. 

When I started, I did not know how to answer this question. But now, I know exactly what to say. It did not happen overnight. It took me years to perfect it. And every time I got it right, my business just took a slight turn making my prepped speech obsolete. I had to start from scratch again. I am giving you my process to prepare yours. You can even download my printable worksheet and work on it.

Some guidelines first :

  1. Make it short. No one is going to be happy to sit with you listening to you ramble away about what you do the first time they meet you. When you become friends, its a different story. But strangers will find you creepy and stuffed if you keep on talking about yourself. Anything between 30 to 60 seconds is great!
  2. What do they get? When you talk, rather than talking about what you do, concentrate on highlighting what solution you offer to your clients. That way the person immediately thinks she (or someone she knows) needs you, even without you saying she should recommend you. What difference do you feel when you hear me say, I help small business owners with social media marketing against me saying, I am a small business marketing coach? In the first instance you will immediately think about all the small business owners that you know! While in the second instance you might just nod your head and say, Nice!
  3. Get them interested. If you are doing something unique, do not forget ti highlight it. If you make low-cost fabric bags because you are passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle - say it! It is what you are, and it is what will get the other person interested in knowing you more. 
  4. Keep the line open. Don't forget to include a point of contact for them to get in touch with you if they want to. You never know what the other person might bring to you. So always keep the line open. You can just include a line like, you can look at what I do on my blog - shrutidandekar.com. (Another tip, if you have a website and your brand name is different from your name, get the URL to your name (if available) and redirect it to your website. In my case, if you type in www.shrutidandekar.com you will come to www.13woodhouseroad.com. That way people do not have to remember two different things about you!

Now on to actually preparing the speech.

Step 1 : Write what you do. Write exactly what you do in simple words. No funny titles. If you are a bag maker - write I make bags and not I use beautiful fabric to convert into totes that carry the load on every woman's shoulder! If you have difficulty ask a child. They will find the simplest words for you to use. In my case it will be - I make and teach quilts and am a business coach.

Step 2 : What makes you different. What is it that makes you different from others who are doing (maybe) exactly what you are doing? If you are making bags from old clothes -say it! If you are designing Shopify stores for people who make handmade goods - say it! Read your statement above and rewrite it to include what makes you different. Now, in my case it will be - I make and teach rule breaking quilts and am creative business coach.

Step 3 : Define your audience. Is there a specific demographic that you serve? Mention it. Do you make quilts for babies? Or you might write a blog about easy recipes for busy women - mention it. Help them connect. My speech will now be - I make rule breaking modern art quilts and teach quilters surprisingly easy ways to make complicated quilts. I also train women entrepreneurs to start and grow their home based creative businesses.

Step 4 : Add something memorable. Now is the time when you add just a little bit to your speech to help the other person remember you. I love the look on thew person's face when I tell them I get up at 4 am! It is so much a part of me that now it is a part of my brand. I also use the name of my creative business coaching venture - Passion to Profit because the ringing of those words help people remember them. Now my speech says - I make rule breaking modern art quilts and teach quilters surprisingly easy ways to make complicated quilts. I also train women entrepreneurs to convert their passion to profit by writing a blog post everyday at 4 am.

Step 5 : Add a connection point. Add a way that people can find you. You can either include your website/blog or your email. Or if there is a place where you go regularly (like a weekly Rising Tide Society meeting) you can mention that. I normally say - I make rule breaking modern art quilts and teach quilters surprisingly easy ways to make complicated quilts. I also train women entrepreneurs to convert their passion to profit by writing a blog post everyday at 4 am. If you just google Shruti & Quilting, my website is usually the first in the results! If not you can always find me as shrutinow on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest. 

You're done!!! That is your speech! 

Practice it in front of the mirror - aloud. When you hear it, you will know if anything is not right. 

If you want my printable worksheet, you can download it here

Leave a comment with your version of the introduction speech and I will let you know what you could add to it to make it more interesting.

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