“What do you do?”
In our society this is the first question we’re asked, after “What is your name?”
The real question is: “How do you answer this question?”
Do you tell people your title: clerk, programmer, driver, teacher, sales rep or receptionist — or do you answer more descriptively?
Too many people respond to this question with a bland, unimaginative job title or standard industry classification (SIC) code.
To set yourself apart from the crowd, cast your profession in its most ennobling light and focus on the benefits of your work as they accrue to others!
Consider Ruth Blumert Walker, longtime receptionist for the Oakland, California law firm of Donahue, Gallagher, Woods and Wood, who has since retired. When asked her occupation, Walker proudly proclaimed to all who asked: “I’m the Director of First Impressions.” Indeed she was!
Walker knew that people dreaded going to a law firm. They usually arrived due to a problem, and their visit was costly to boot. Walker understood the key role she played in their experience, and her moniker showcased the power she possessed to make a difference.
Why not replace your official title or occupation with a more descriptive tag line? An effective “tag line” casts your skills in an ennobling light, sharing pride in your chosen profession. People respond affirmatively when you tantalize and enthrall them with an interesting or compelling tag line. Furthermore, you’re sending a message you have a strong sense of who you are and what you do and are thus deemed more hireable.
Consider the following:
- The residential realtor who describes herself as “putting people into their dream home.” What a powerful statement she is making.
- The commercial credit specialist who smiles and tells strangers who ask that he is “giving credit where credit is due.”
- A commercial airline pilot informs people who ask that she is “shrinking the globe to reunite families and loved ones.”
- A midwife proudly proclaims that she is “bringing new life into this world.”
In each case these professionals are sharing some of the magic of their profession with their listeners. And listeners respond accordingly. It’s a powerful conversation opener, whether in a networking event, a job interview or just during casual conversation.
Whatever your profession, you can create a “tag” line to showcase the results of your work and cast it in an ennobling light, showcase the solutions, outcomes of benefits you provide.
Here are some more examples to stimulate your creative juices:
- Past President’s Distinguished District Governor Cassandra Cockrill DTM, who introduces herself as “an evangelist for better thinking, better listening and better speaking!”
- The Internal Revenue Service agent who tells people who ask that he’s a “government fundraiser.”
- The Gardener tells people “I Turn the World Green…one garden at a time.”
- The Dietitian who declares “I Teach People How to Behave in Front of Food.”
- The Voice Coach who proclaims she “Gives Voice to the Timid.”
- The Telephone Customer Service Representative (CSR) who tells people she “has a special calling.”
- The Plantronics headset saleswoman who says she helps people “Use their head… not their hands. “
- The photographer who smiles as he tells people he “Gets paid to shoot people for a living.”
- The executive assistant who calls herself the “Presidential Gatekeeper.”
- And even the motivational speaker, Craig Harrison, who tells people he’s “a motivational magician who turns listeners’ aspirations into achievements.”
It’s your turn! Look anew at your occupation or profession and identify its outcome or the effect its commission has on people. Now create a descriptive tag line to excite others about what you do, and what it can do for them!
Use the power of language to create a compelling tag line that gives you pride and infuses others with excitement too.
Tag, you’re IT!