Top 3 Worst Answers to 'What Do You Do' You Need to Stop Today

conversation skill entrepreneurship networking skill development wdyd Oct 30, 2020
3 Really Bad Answers to 'What Do You Do' You Need to Stop Today, The Radical Connector, Networking, Business development, how to get customers, how to make money in business, marketing tips, sales tips, conversation skills, new entrepreneur, online business


Have you ever walked away from a conversation with someone, cringing so hard over what you just said about your business??

Or worse, told someone what you do only to be met with a dispassionate and distant, "Cool. Interesting."


‚ÄčTelling others what you or your business does in a clear way is the very first step in connecting with your perfect client. Yet, this is where newbie entrepreneurs often get tripped up the most!

Let's take a journey together into the top 3 worst answers to what do you do you need to stop today so you can start telling others about your business with confidence.


You are brilliant, creative, driven, and really good at what you do. So, why can't you get this simple question right?


There could be a few reasons why you're tripping on your words:

  • You're not confident or crystal clear about what you do and the problems your business solves

  • You are not sure who your perfect client is

  • You are feeling pressure to sell yourself and trying to sound super fancy and professional

  • You are being kicked in the butt by impostor syndrome


Nailing down how you talk about what you do is one of the most important ... no ... THE most important first step in connecting with your perfect client.




Clearly and accurately telling others what you do and then gauging their reaction allows you to quickly recognize a potential perfect customer, and for them to recognize you as someone who can help them.

Do they light up and say, "I need you!" when they hear what you do?


I spend a lot of time working through this process with entrepreneurs until we not only get it right...we get multiple versions so that folks can be prepared to talk about what they do with anyone, anytime, anywhere. 

Here are 3 points to keep in mind when you talk about what you do . . . 


1. Ditch the Robot 

You probably know the standard formula everyone is taught, "I help A get B so they can C".

It's the most common (read: basic) way new entrepreneurs are taught to introduce themselves and it can be effective and help with clarity ... there's just one problem.

Because it's a formula, whenever you say it, you sound like a robot repeating a line of code ... an unenthusiastic, memorized, standard formula.

BOOOORING and is the universal cue that someone is about to give you their "elevator pitch".

(We'll save why you need to ditch the elevator pitch for another day.)

Remember that you are human, having a human conversation with another human. You are not a walking, talking version of your website or live-action piece of marketing or sales copy.

You don't need to sound like a perfectly polished advertisement when you talk about your business. In fact, the more human you sound, the more relatable you'll be! (Which is the goal, btw)

Bad What Do You Do: "I am a catalyst for transformational business growth for purpose-driven entrepreneurs."  


Better What Do You Do: "I teach first-time entrepreneurs how to get customers and make money."

2. Don't Run On...and On....and On....and On

It's really tempting to want to get all of the information about what you do out in one breath. You do a lot of super cool things and you don't want to miss a thing.

Also, you want to make sure the person you're talking to knows how awesome you are and all of the badass things you do!

I get it. 

Take a breath. Pause.

You want to give the person you're talking to one simple element to grab onto and relate to.

If they relate to what you're saying and want to know more, they will ask you.

You don't need to rush the conversation and drone on and on for five minutes straight in order to get it all out. 

A conversation is like a tennis match. It only works if both players are hitting the ball back and forth.

You say something, they'll say something back. They'll ask a question, you'll answer, and vice versa.

Everything that you would have normally crammed into your first "What do you do" answer will come out in the course of a natural, back and forth conversation.




A Quick Exercise:

Take a moment to answer out loud what you do. Seriously. Out loud. Go on, I'll wait ...

Now ask yourself:

  • How many points did I try to hit?
  • How long did I talk?
  • Did I use more than 15 words? 

Try again, and this time break it up into one single point or theme in under 15 words.

What's the most important piece of information you want them to know? 

Next time you're telling someone what you do, try using this simpler version and let the rest come out during the natural flow of the conversation. 

3. Be Clear and Relatable

When we're telling someone what we do for the first time it's easy to go on autopilot and start using technical lingo and industry speak that they may not understand.

It can also be tempting to cover up our own nerves or insecurities by using overcomplicated words in an attempt to sound fancy or "professional". 

Or ... and this is my least favourite experience when talking to others ... you attempt to set yourself apart to such an extreme that you say something so vague and convoluted that it tells me absolutely nothing about what you do. 



Me: What do you do?

Them: I'm in e-commerce.

Me: Ok, um, like you provide payment processing services to online business owners?

Them: No, I design and sell social media content planners online.

Me: Oh, um, cool. (Well, nooooow I feel dumb!)


People don't want to feel dumb and they don't want to risk offending you by not understanding you.

Also, let's be honest, nobody wants to work that hard to unpack what you just said so that they can get an idea about what you do.

If you are not clear and relatable right off the bat, people will generally not ask you any follow-up questions. This means you'll never get the chance to go into more detail as I mentioned in the second point above.

When you tell others what you do remember to use clear, relatable language a 13-year-old would understand. Plain language that's not overly technical or complicated. And also tells folks exactly what you or your business does in a way that they can relate to.

Bad What Do You Do: "I have an eight-step biz dev process to engage ideal prospects in a streamlined client acquisition process, ensuring higher ROI and faster conversion rates." 


Dude. No. 

Better What Do You Do: "I teach entrepreneurs exactly what to do to build their business and get paying clients." 



If you're constantly tripping on your words or confusing the heck out of the world when you tell them what you do, here's the top 3 worst answers to what do you do you need to stop today:

  1. Ditch the Robot: Stop pitching and talk to others in a clear, relatable way ... no elevator pitch.
  2. Don't Go On and On and On: You don't have to cram all your brilliance into one long-winded answer to, "What do you do?" Start with one main point that someone can latch onto and ask follow-up questions for a back and forth conversation.
  3. Be Clear and Relatable: Nobody wants to feel dumb so don't make them work so dang hard to understand what the heck you do. Use clear, simple, relatable language that anyone can understand. 

The next time someone asks you what you do remember these three steps and have a fun conversation connecting with another fabulous human! 

Watch my YouTube video on How to Network Less to Get More Clients here



Find out exactly why you're not growing and discover simple consent-based marketing and sales skills for attracting fabulous new clients!