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7 Better Ways to Answer "What Do You Do"

Make it a Teachable Moment

You are educating the other person on the subject of you. 

So instead of just saying your title, explain something he or she might not know about your work or industry. 

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7 Better Ways to Answer "What Do You Do"

7 Better Ways to Answer "What Do You Do"

https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-better-ways-to-answer-what-do-you-do

themuse.com

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Key Ideas

Categories And Stereotypes

To the question 'What do you do'? we usually give one-word answers, that allow people to categorize us and create stereotypes. For example:

  • I’m in sales. They think: You’re a pushy, sweet-talking charmer.
  • I’m a lawyer. They think: You’re the argumentative type.
  • I’m an accountant. They think: You’re a numbers geek.

Talk About How You Help People

Start your next response with “I help people… because it usually takes the stereotype away from your job title.

For example: You can say you're a copywriter or you can say you help companies tell compelling stories about their brands.

Tell an Anecdote About Your Job

Tell a story about something that was fun or inspiring to you at work.

It will help you make connections: the brain activity of the storyteller and the listener mirror each other, despite the fact that one person is talking and one is listening.

Make it a Teachable Moment

You are educating the other person on the subject of you. 

So instead of just saying your title, explain something he or she might not know about your work or industry. 

Be Vulnerable

Make it personal and talk about your journey: talk about your dreams and aspiration,  and about what led you to where you are today, etc.

Be Relevant

Pass on the details about you and your work that are relevant to the person you’re talking to.

Think about what experiences you have that will resonate with the people you’re talking to or be able to help them out in some way.

Be Self-Promotional

You’re doing everyone a favor by being honest about what you’re good at and what lights you up. 

We need more people who can speak frankly about the value they bring to the clients and organizations with which they work.

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An asshole

An asshole is someone who consistently makes the people around feeling humiliated, de-energized, disrespected, or oppressed.

Take responsibility

Some people are so thin-skinned that they think everyone is offending them when it's nothing personal. Other people are objectively treated like dirt everywhere because they're doing something to prompt that punishment.

We've got to take responsibility.

Consequences

Mean-spirited people need someone in their life to tell them they're contemptible.

In the very short-term, it might seem to your advantage to let someone feel like dirt. However, in most situations, we actually need collaboration and should be givers rather than takers. By being an asshole, you might be destroying your organization by driving out the best people, undermining their productivity, creativity, and so on.

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Be a Professional Cheerleader

Charismatic people offer encouragement instead of skeptically listening to people’s goals and ideas. Find ways to encourage people while still holding them accountable:

Charismatic People Bring People Together

Charismatic people have lots of connections and share them regularly. Highly charismatic people are not only great at meeting new people, but also sharing their talent with their connections by introducing people who they know will get along well.

This quality is part of the reason charismatic people are such sought after connections; they spread their social wealth.

Likability is Key To Your Own Charisma

Likable leaders earn the trust of their team members and treat them well, and that makes the team’s performance better.

Teams with likable leaders tend to be more stable long-term because of lower turnover rates and are also better with changes since they are more likely to have employees committing to adopting to new ways.

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“My goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from.”

Rob Hill Sr.
Be authentic

Make choices leading to the life you want to create for yourself. Don't let your past hold you back. 

Your life might not seem to be the best fit for someone else, but it should a life you are happy with. Create a life you love.

How to create an authentic life

Start where you are right now. 

  • Align your life with your own core values - those things that are most important to you personally. Regular meditation will help you discover what those are.
  • Find time to do the activities you loved doing as a child. Join an activity group or take a class. 
Listen to yourself and take action on what you discover.