Monday, May 28, 2007

What do you do?

One of the things that people define you by is the work you do. Often the first question someone will ask you after you are introduced is “What do you do?” For many of us, especially WAHMS, it is a difficult question to answer. The truly daring among us will say “I work from home.”, actually admitting that we have a job and don’t just do home duties.

While there is nothing really wrong with the answer you have given, there is nothing really right about it either. Firstly, it gives your new acquaintance no information at all about what you actually do. There is no opening for conversation.

An introduction to a new person is an opening to spread the word about your business. It is the opportunity for some gentle self promotion. When you work from home you become invisible in the work force so you need to make the most of any opportunity you are given. Think about the conversation as an arena of possibilities. You can’t get to them unless you open the door first.

So what can you say about the work you do? “Oh, I write articles for newsletters” or “I am a freelance photographer”. Those statements aren’t bad because they at least open the conversational door slightly, but why hesitate? Throw the door open with a real description of what you do. “I illustrate children’s books and specialise in fantasy images of dragons.”

Within that statement are at least 4 possible topics of conversation.
1. Illustration
2. Children’s literature
3. Fantasy stories
4. Dragons.
There you have four different ways to promote yourself without becoming a walking billboard, as well as four opportunities to develop a worthwhile conversation. This is how you will be remembered after the meeting is over.

Have a think about what you do, how you do it and why. Can you condense it into a concise sentence or two? Try to define what is special or good about the work you do. Think of the parts of the job that interest you.

Now let me open the door to my promotional arena and ask you “What do you do?” I would love to know.

1 comment:

Blog Author Ann Clemmons said...

Hello Ann, My name is Ann without the "e" I'm a southern American children's picture book writer! I as you, have recently returned to the world after rearing a child. I've written for children for years but only recently pursued publication.

I really enjoy reading The Tall Poppy! Keep Writing- My blog is entitled:

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