Most business professionals define themselves by what they sell, such as "I'm a Pharmaceutical Rep" or "I sell ergonomic chairs" or by their service offering, such as "I'm a dentist" or "I'm a Life Coach" and so on. Ultimately, we are in the profit-making business, generating profits for ourselves and our loved ones or others and theirs. So what's wrong with this scenario?
In an increasingly competitive environment, the need to distinguish ourselves and what we do becomes even more important. The approach to being distinctive is more about who we are than what we do, because we are the sum total of our experiences. No two people have a lifetime of the same experiences and with this come different perspectives, attitudes and beliefs that fuel our character.
It's our character, or our internal environment that holds the key to how we position ourselves in our market. It's our character that we need to be communicating in our response to the question, "what do you do?". The aim of this is designed to do three things:
- provoke curiosity
- open discussion
The purpose of engagement is to intrigue your listener and create an open conversation loop for follow-up conversation. This is where the listener may ask you to tell them more, or ask you "how do you do this".
It seems almost comical that often our response to this question can often be ill-prepared. We know, that this or a variation on this question is probably the most frequently asked question. at a networking or social event, yet the immediate response can be one of discomfort, panic or an overly manufactured spiel. How well we communicate our mission and how we're different is the door to standing out in the crowd. Being clear about how we add value takes time, self reflection and sometimes an objective third party to facilitate the process.
Let's shift the paradigm from what we do, to who we are and the value we add. Next time you're at a networking or social event, instead of asking "What do you do?", shift the focus of the question to: "How do you add value?" Can you think of a business who does this well - post your vote below.
Kerryn Gamble is on a confidence building mission, she assists professional women, build their confidence capital to address the leadership gender imbalance. Kerryn works with ambitious women to rewire their self-confidence for success on their terms. Kerryn speaks on self-leadership, overcoming self doubt, people pleasing and procrastination. Find out more at kerryngamble.com Email via firstname.lastname@example.org
Kerryn is Vice President of Professional Speakers Australia (VIC, SA, TAS), Founding Director of CORE Potential, creator of Results Roundtable, members of the Australian Institute of Training & Development and International Coach Guild.