Unsure how to respond when asked, “What do you do?” Here are some tips to help you answer that dreaded question.
The question “What do you do?” is one of the most commonly asked questions when meeting someone new, so you have something – anything! – to talk about. But for a lot of people, myself included, this question is usually followed by silence and a small panic attack at how to accurately explain what it is that I do all day.
I constantly find myself fumbling over explanations (“I manage client accounts”, “I organise social media pages”, “I write press releases”) hoping these responses will be good enough. But when I’m met with blank expressions, I know that I haven’t given a sufficient answer.
Let’s face it, what we ‘do’ is part of our identity. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be able to answer this question in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves.
The default answer to this question is usually your job title, especially if you’re proud of the status associated with your job. But responding to this question with a label e.g. Account Manager doesn’t really help to answer the ‘do’ part of the question. Instead of answering with a label, try answering with an action. “As Account Manager I liaise with clients and the media, I prepare client reports and organise press conferences and promotional events.” This way the person will have a better understanding of what you do on a daily basis.
When many people ask a PR professional what their job entails, it is usually out of genuine interest because many people don’t know exactly what Public Relations is or how it works.
A Public Relations practitioner is a strategic communicator. Basically, this means we infuse communications efforts with an agenda and a master plan. PR professionals are often tasked with anything and everything when it comes to brand management, perceptions and communications. We work with a variety of audiences to best represent and manage the relationship with an organisation or company.
Even still there is no simple way of saying what is it that PR professionals do. We wear many different hats! So let’s try to break it down.
According to Laura Dignan of PR Daily, there are three easy words to remember about working in PR: We educate. We Inform. We promote.
We educate through blogs, white papers, by-lines, eNewsletters and more, providing audiences with information on a particular topic.
We inform by providing the insight into a brand and the company culture.
We promote with intentional and important messages for our audiences. Whether it is on social media, shared through an eNewsletter or simply pushed out by word of mouth, promotion is where public relations thrives.
So if you work in PR, the next time someone asks you what you do, you have this explanation to help you confidently tell them what PR is all about and how you spend your days saving the world one press release at a time!
Blogpost by Daniella Kroser
Image Credit: http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m5oe21cZPs1qcwic6.gif