I was at a charity event this past weekend, and during the course of the evening I met several people. After a while, I realized that almost all of the conversations included some element of the question, “what do you do?”
As I was working on this post (which was originally going to be all about performance measurement–that will have to wait), I started thinking about this question from a different perspective – actually perspectives. This question, and the answer, can take on the cliché Harvard Business School case answer, “it depends.” It depends on who you’re talking with, the context of the conversation, the desired outcomes and probably more. Probably more importantly, however, is how clear are you in describing what it is you do. When you’re telling someone about your company, do you describe the value of what you offer or are you describing your company using terms that require an advanced engineering degree to really understand it?
If you’re hanging with your techno-pals, talking about the latest breakthrough your highly complex technology will address, use the language they’ll get. If, however, you’re trying to convince a customer to buy or investor to invest, consider using language that best communicates the value of your offer in a way that just about anyone could get.
How have you been successful communicating across your entire network of friends, colleagues and business partners?