What Should You Be Saying When Others Ask “What Do You Do?”
By Yvonne Weld Platinum Quality Author

Small talk is society’s way of cutting the silence, of filling the empty void that makes many of us nervous. When faced with a situation involving just us and a stranger or someone that we are not well acquainted with, it is our innate reaction to talk about the weather or news events as opposed to feeling comfortable sitting in silence. How many times a day are you asked, “So what do you do?” If you are like most, your answer is usually confined to a simple professional answer, “I am a self-employed ___________”. In most cases this is the end of the conversation or you then ask “and you?” But let’s face it, do we really care and did the person asking the initiating question care? The next time you are faced with this question, take the time to find an answer that makes them care and create enough interest to keep the conversation flowing.

As a small business owner it is important to talk to anyone and everyone about your business because let’s face it, anyone could be a potential client and the person asking could know of potential clients. When answering the question “What do you do?” I am not talking about starting an hour long conversation where you get into the meat and potatoes of your job and start relaying a grocery list of your skills and capabilities. Rather I am talking about giving them something to be interested in talking about and something to make them spread the word about you. When looking for that interesting factor, think back to when you first started your business. What excited you and drew you to start this business? What makes you stand out from the crowd and makes others excited to hear about your business?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Provide a hook or a reason for potential clients to remember you and your business. Paint a picture for the person that is asking. Imagine a person selling a cloth that provides a streak free shine every time. They explain to the person that they no longer have to lug bottles of glass cleaner and paper towels, but simply dampen the cloth and rub and the cloth does the rest. I guarantee the next time that person is lugging glass cleaner and paper towels they will think about that cloth.

2. Give them a reason to ask more. Imagine the questions when you hear of a person who just opened a massage therapy business that utilizes water but the patient never gets wet. What part of your business is most likely to make people ask questions?

3. What makes you stand out from others like you? I am a virtual assistant who provides bookkeeping services. I also provide administrative support and many people choose to work with me because they only want to deal with one person to assist them as opposed to both a bookkeeper and an administrative assistant.

4. Ask a question that will provoke an emotion. This will enable the person to think of you every time that emotion is felt. For example, ask “have you ever felt overwhelmed by the unorganization present in your home? I am a personal organizer who not only organizes things for you, but also provides you with tools and resources to improve your own organizational skills.” The next time someone is feeling overwhelmed and is in a state of chaos I am sure they will think of you.

Always, always, always keep in mind that although the person you are talking about might not be your target client, you can never be sure what fifty people they know. Truly talking about your business can make the difference in truly creating a thriving business.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvonne Weld is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business and is the owner of ABLE Virtual Assistant Services. For more information about The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business and how you can protect your business from unexpected absences due to injury, sickness or even death, visit the Web site at

Yvonne Weld is the owner of Canadian based ABLE Virtual Assistant Services and the author of “The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Thriving Business”. For more information visit

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