“And What Do You Do?” The Answer: Pt 1

Personal branding reputation management marketing yourself business introductionsI set the scene in my last blog: you’re at a networking event or you’ve been introduced to someone.  You shake their hand, give them your business card and then they ask those five dreaded words: “And what do you do?”

If you’re anything like my clients before our work together, you’ll be hesitantly replying with something that you hope doesn’t make you sound like a big head or an idiot. But wouldn’t you rather reply confidently with something that promoted your personal brand and made you stand out from the crowd?

Well, as my clients can vouch, with my guidance and a bit of thinking time, plus some practice, you can.  So here’s Part 1 of my ‘how to’ guide.  Why only Part 1?  Because I’ve worked with enough people to know that some are comfortable blowing their trumpet loudly and others less so and depending on which you are, how you answer the question, “And what do you do?” will differ.

So Part 1 is for those who are just starting out promoting their personal brand, who know they need to turn up  the volume on their trumpet blowing but aren’t yet ready to give it the full toot; who aren’t comfortable answering the question without including their job title.  If that’s you, get yourself a pen and paper and write down your answer to these four questions:

Q1. What job do you do?
Q2. Who do you help?
Q3. What do you help them do? (think hard not about the specifics of what you do, but the benefits you bring your clients by doing that)
Q4. How do you help them do that?

Now use what you’ve written to fill in the gaps below and you’ll have your answer:

“I help

because I’m a

So an example of my answer would be, “I help business leaders to be more successful just by being themselves, because I’m a personal brand coach.”

Or if you’re happy to leave out your job title, an alternative would be:

“I help


At a recent seminar I gave, someone who’s original reply had consisted of a job title that was so convoluted no-one in the audience understood what it meant, ended up with the much better reply: “I help shareholders to buy and sell businesses by giving them the advice they need.”

The reason you’re stating how and who you help first and your job title second is because as soon as you tell someone your occupation their mind puts you in a box with everyone else they’ve ever met with who does that job.  So you need to get them interested with the benefits you bring before revealing what you do.

Now you have your answer, go out and try it.  I guarantee you’ll feel like a numpty the first time you do (I certainly did the first time I told people I was ‘The Antidote to Yes Men’) but watch and listen to their response.  Because I also guarantee they won’t sneer and walk off in the other direction.  On the contrary, they’re likely to ask you more questions about what you do, which is exactly what you want, because now you can elaborate and promote your personal brand even more.

But if you’ve read all that and think you’re up for something a little more radical, stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog when I’ll be helping the more experienced personal branders among you to come up with your answer!


So what do you say when you’re asked, “And what do you do?”  Or what’s the best/worst answer you’ve ever heard? Leave a comment!  And please help me to spread the word using the buttons below.  Or if you’d like to learn more, check out my other blogs and follow me on Twitter.  Or drop me an email at jennifer.holloway@sparkexec.co.uk Thank you! 

Spark specialises in branding, but not for companies – for PEOPLE, helping clients to market themselves so they stand out from the crowd, building a reputation that enables them to be even more successful just by being themselves.  Spark delivers personal branding to executives and senior managers in Leeds, Harrogate, Skipton, York, Bradford, Wakefield and the Yorkshire area, as well as in London and other UK cities. The company was founded by Jennifer Holloway and her 15 years’ experience in PR coupled with several years as an executive coach means she delivers a personal brand service unlike any other. 

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