“And What Do You Do?” The Answer: Pt 2

Personal branding reputation management marketing yourself business introductions So you’ve read my introduction to the dreaded question, And what do you do?” and you’ve read how you could answer the question if you’re just starting out in personal branding.  But if you’re someone who really wants to tap into the power of your personal brand, perhaps you’re ready to be a bit more radical, to deliver a reply that really gets people thinking – then this blog is for you!

As anyone who’s read the excellent book The Jelly Effect will know, to be really effective at selling yourself, your communication need to focus on the benefits you deliver – the after-effect you will leave people with when they work with you.  There’s a whole process the book takes you through to determine what those benefits are, but for those with less time to spare, here’s my take on Andy Bounds‘ words of wisdom.

Get yourself a pen and paper and write down the answers to these questions:

Q1. Who do you help?
Q2. What do you help them do? (think hard not about the specifics of what you do, but the benefits that brings to your clients)
Q3. Why is that important in today’s world of business?
Q4. How do you deliver those benefits? (now you can put a few specifics about what you do)
Q5. What are some great examples of when you’ve done that?

And here’s how those answers fit together to form your reply to the question, “And what do you do”:

“I help

  Using me as an example, I might say, “I help business leaders to get the right people saying the right things about them.”

Then stop…say no more…not a word….and wait for them to ask you more.

“So what is it you do?”  Now you reply with your answer to Q3.  This is about adding a bit of context to make the listener understand it’s relevant to them, so in my case it might be: “Well, you know how ‘people buy people’ and they can only do that if they know what they’re buying into? I teach people how to define and promote what I call their ‘personal brand’.”

If they’re like most people, the listener will then ask, “How do you do that?” which is when you go into a bit more detail with your answers to Q4 and Q5.  A good way to lead into that is to ask the person about their experiences in the area you work in. So I might say, “In essence your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room…so what do you think they say about you?”

When they answer I use that as the basis of talking about how I can help them find out specifically what’s being said (I offer a personal brand 360), define what it is they want people saying (another service) and teach them how to promote that (another service) all the while giving examples of how I’ve done that with clients.

This is very different from how we’ve been taught to give our answer ie state your job title and the company you work for, so it may feel a little odd at first replying in this manner.  But keep trying it out, adapting what you say based on what gets a good (or not so good) reaction.  I promise you’ll be more memorable than the other people your listener meets that day!


If you’ve enjoyed these musings, or have followed this advice and want to share how you got on, don’t be shy…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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