There’s an endless number of tough professional questions out there that at some stage you may be required to answer.
These can range from:
- Why don’t you resign as things went so badly on this project?
- Why should we offer you this position when we have so many better qualified candidates?
Hopefully you won’t face these questions too often, though I can help if you have an urgent need to deal with them.
But there’s one question which is bound to come up far more frequently than these ones.
It’s a question many find amazingly difficult to answer well.
It’s the question some people actually dread?
It’s the “WHAT DO YOU DO?” question.
Equally challenging for others is the related question: “WHAT DOES YOUR ORGANISATION DO?”
Whatever you do – and whatever your organisation does – the questions come up so often that everyone needs to be ready for them.
If you stumble through your answer and struggle to think of something useful every time you’re asked, it won’t bode well for your career – or your organisation.
There are two open sessions on dealing with this challenge coming up on Wednesday 20 February 2019 in London.
These – and other options for helping you give a great answer to the “What do you do?” and related questions – are outlined towards the end.
But first here’s some early guidance.
YOUR TIPS FOR GETTING IT RIGHT
As with all tough questions, being ready to deliver a great answer to the “What do you do?” enquiry is a learnable skill.
Some key points:
- What most people typically want to know when asking the question is: What can you or your organisation potentially do for me? So you need to put the “What’s In It For Me Factor” at the heart of your answer and indicate how you or your product or service helps people
- Focus less on the detailed features of the products or services you provide, but instead make clear the benefits. (So if you help people give great answers to the “What do you do?” question, you could emphasise how their career and business will progress so much more smoothly if they can effectively show how splendidly useful they can be every time they’re at a business meeting.)
- Have a range of simple pre-prepared examples that you can choose from in order to show the questioner the successful outcome of what you do – so they can effectively picture the results in their mind.
If your answer fascinates or enthuses the enquirer, it may be just the start of a longer conversation – which could end up leading to a sales talk appointment, a business deal or a fantastic new opportunity.
But to make this happen, your initial answer needs to be powerful and succinct.
This is why it’s often referred to as an “elevator pitch” – which enables you to deliver your answer that sticks in the time it takes in the lift to go from one level to another.
But do beware the term “pitch” in this context.
Most people don’t want to be “pitched at” when their involved in a first-time encounter with you in an elevator or elsewhere.
What they do want is an interesting, useful and memorable answer which can enable them – if they have the need now or in the future – to follow up and ask you more.
So rather than actually “pitching” in the elevator, it’s better to focus on getting across a potentially useful MESSAGE.
YOUR MESSAGE IN 60 SECONDS
When I work on helping individuals, small groups and large audiences on this challenge, I call sessions on this subject “Your Message In 60 Seconds”.
This message they work on doesn’t have to apply to the “What do you do?” question – though it can.
What it does apply to is all those situations where you need to get across a point in a short space of time – a challenge that occurs evermore frequently in our fast-paced world.
If you plan, prepare and practise for it, it’s amazing how you can get across an effective, powerful and memorable message in just 60 seconds.
One organisation for business leaders asked me to make a video for their members about “Your Message In 60 Seconds”.
And they helpfully ran a timer on screen as I did it to help show that it really can be done.
Watch the results here:
Sessions on “Your Message In 60 Seconds” cater for two different situations.
One is where you need to give a formal talk in a short space of time – such as where you have to stand at a networking meeting and announce what you do – sometimes with a timer and a system for gonging you off if you take too long!).
The other is for those occasions where you need to get across a point in a more casual conversation, but where there’s an obvious time constraint (such as being questioned in that lift).
YOUR 60-SECOND MESSAGE OPTIONS
If you and/or your colleagues could do with some guidance on the content, structure and delivery style of your mini-presentations or short professional conversations here are some options:
- One-to-one or small group sessions on your premises – or in telephone or Skype calls
- Master classes for up to 15 people – where everyone works on their own or a collective short message which your organisation regularly needs to convey
- A keynote address at your conference which can, if you’re up for it, involve a lively onstage “makeover” on a few 60 second messages that everyone in the audience can learn from and utilise.
OPEN SESSIONS IN LONDON
There are also two rare open sessions on “Your Message In 60 Seconds” on Wednesday 20 February 2019 in Central London.
There’s a pre-lunch 10am to 1pm session which focuses on mini-presentations where participants need to stand before a group to convey their message in the form of a mini-presentation.
The post-lunch 2pm to 5pm open session focuses on more informal situations where participants need to get across a brief message more casually to one or a few people – face-to-face or over the telephone.
The investment cost is £167 for a place at either the pre-lunch or post-lunch session – or £239 for both.
No VAT is involved.
There’s a discount early bird offer for those who book during November 2018 which is £143 for a place at a single session or £191 for both sessions.
For bookings or enquiries for any of the above options, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 44 (0) 7944 952835
There’s more about “Your Message In 60 Seconds” here: http://www.michaeldoddcommunications.com/get-your-message-across-in-60-seconds/
All the options listed above help you get a powerful message across in the time it takes to make a piece of toast.
Here’s a guy whose knows about making toast on time who can help you.
By the way, what do you do???
And what will you say the next time someone asks???