What You Do in Ten Words or less

Today’s Market You Mondays tip is how to tell people what you do in ten words or less when you are networking and meeting with people. It’s a big challenge and worthy of your time. When you effectively communicate what you do in ten words or less, it helps build your personal brand.

To get started ask yourself a few questions:

1. What do you do best that benefits other people?

2. What do you do to make their lives easier?

3. Think of your best clients. What are their problems and how have you helped them?

What you do is not your title or your profession. Most people tune out when you use your title to tell them what you do. Titles such as designer, accountant, coach, artist, chiropractor, speaker, consultant, therapist, counselor, financial services advisor, CPA and many others do give people an idea of who you are. Your job is to explain to them how you do what you do in a way that is relevant to them and distinctive from other people in the same profession.

This is one of the most important tasks you need to complete this month. Spend some time brainstorming words, phrases, outcomes that could describe what you do.

It’s always a great idea to ask your clients what results they’ve gotten by working with you. Take their words and add to your list.

Coming up with what you do in a phrase that resonates with people takes time so give yourself several rounds of brainstorming and editing. Keep narrowing your content until you can get it into ten words or less. The benefit is that when you meet new people, they can learn a lot about you in a few seconds.

I’ve changed the words I use several times over the last few years. What I’m most happy with right now is “Translating Business Challenges into Opportunities.” Most of my clients are experts in their field who have a great reputation, however, they are not getting the business results they want for themselves. What I do is explore with them what they do best, listen to client stories and then find the words to describe what they do. Often clients don’t realize the gold mine they have in their business or they are looking at the benefits from their point of view, not from their clients’ perspectives. Once we discover that nugget, we create opportunities that result in revenue growth.

People tend to talk about the process of what they do, not the results. Start thinking in terms of the results you provide. Write down what your clients say.

At first, you may write a page or several pages. That’s fine, don’t stop. Each time you look at it again, keep paring away until you get to the essence of what you do.

You’ll want to be able to use this in several ways depending on the situation. You will want flexibility so you can use your phrase several ways while networking. You can use it as a tagline and to create a short introduction or a 30-second commercial. Your goal is for people to ask you more about what you do or even better set an appointment with you.

Make sure to use action words and benefit-oriented words. Words that Sell: More than 6000 Entries to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas by Richard Bayan is a great tool to help you get started. I find his books to be very helpful.

Next Monday, I’ll share more tips about what to say when people ask you what you do. I’d love for you to join my Market You Mondays community on Facebook and add your comments and ask questions.


Kathy Garland specializes in translating business challenges into opportunities that result in business and personal growth. She speaks frequently on business growth and leadership topics. Join her conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.