Helping Professional Networking

Nick RiceOnce again, I came across a very interesting blog post that I would like to share with you. Entitled, “What do you do?,” it was written by Nick Rice, both Director of Marketing for EOP Architects, and CEO of his own Marketing Consultant business- Nick Rice Consulting. So, we have his title, but what does he do? In his own words,

“I help professional services firms: attract more clients or constituents, clarify their marketing message and value, be seen as an expert in their field, and demystify complex issues.”

The point I’m trying to make is the same point Nick Rice is making in his blog post. When somebody asks you what you do, you would respond with your title. I’m a doctor, I’m a lawyer, I’m an Agricultural Specialist, a Certified Marine Explorer, a Consultant. But this simple one word answer isn’t answering thequestion. However, it’s a shortcut…it gives individuals the basic idea of what it is you may be doing as a profession. But when you give them your title instead of a brief description of what you actually do, you’re leaving it up to their imagination what you may do.

“I’m a doctor.” Okay, so this person is a general practioner and has his own office somewhere. He treats patients with colds and warts and sends them somewhere else when he evaluates a larger problem. This is your mind deciding what to think about this person, all behind the scenes, hidden in your subconscious. This person is really a specialist who treats a disease many doctors won’t even consider treating because of its high risk. People travel from all over the United States to be seen by this “doctor.” Creates a different type of feeling about this person, doesn’t it?

I would encourage you to read the post by Nick Rice in order to get more of a feel of what I am talking about, as he explains it so well. But the point I, and he, I suspect, is trying to make is this: Next time you’re asked “What do you do?” Give them a brief explanation of what you actually do, instead of a two or three syllable title. This will eliminate their tendency to stereotype you by your profession, as well as perhaps stir some conversation about your professional role.

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3 thoughts on “Helping Professional Networking

  1. Erica, great synopsis. And you’re absolutely right. Don’t answer with your “title”. There are too many negative stereotypes associated with most professional service titles or perhaps more importantly, your title is meaningless to most people outside your organization.

    When people ask me what I do, I say, “I work with successful professional service firms that struggle to attract more clients.” That gets attention. I see it in their eyes at social and networking events. It also begs to be understood deeper. Most people follow up with, “How do you do that?” or my favorite is, “Hold on, you need to talk to so and so…” and they bring over someone that’s right in line with my ideal client.

    Thanks for the mention. Great blog by the way.

  2. Erica, this is great – thanks for bringing this post to my attention. So often I’ll hear someone introduce themselves with a one word title – “generically” as you put it – when they could be doing themselves and others so much more justice! I vary mine depending upon the day, but lately I’ve been going with, “I explain online marketing in easy-to-understand terms and help small and medium sized business owners use the web to find new customers.” Like Nick says above, more often than not this leads me into great opportunities to talk about my business – or at least into fun, lively conversations at networking events.

    Great blog – keep up the great posts!
    Caroline

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