“What do you do? Hey, what do you do? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? What do you do? Do you ever feel like people have nothing else to say besides what do you do? Who gives a shit of what you do? Right? What do you do is like the most boring, boring question that you can possibly ask anybody but yet people that’s all they can think of saying. I always think of it being like a shark. There’s a difference in sharking through room and trying to find someone to do business with. When we say, “What do you do?” You can almost feel people like exing you out. Have you ever noticed sometimes people will say, “What do you do?” It looks like this, “Hey, what do you do?”
Then they are looking around the room like they really don’t even care, they are looking for the next person. Guys, when you say, “What do you do?” You are pigeon-holing that person when people ask you what do you do. I’ve said it before. Don’t you do more than one thing? Don’t you do a lot of things? I mean, people have a job and they have a business on the side. People have a business but they are an entrepreneur and creating a product or inventing something. People do this but then they volunteer and do this and this is what they are really passionate about. In other words, what is the obsession with what do you do, what do you do? Frankly, for me, I don’t care what somebody does. Now, I like the mindset of a business owner. I like the mindset of an entrepreneur.
That’s the kind of people that I resonate with but what people do is not nearly as important to me as why they do it or how they do it or who they do it for. When I go to an event, I would much rather walk up to someone and say, “Hey, what are you working on right now?” Try it, watch people’s face. I’m so glad that I’m doing this on video right now because here’s what I see, when I say, “What are you working on right now?” or when I say, “Hey, tell me something about you that has nothing to do with what you do for work or where you’re from.” When you ask something like that, this is what people do because they are waiting for you to say, “What do you do? What do you do?” They are waiting with their 30 second boring elevator pitch and so when you or I as professional, productive, profitable, prosperous networkers come up, “I’m inviting you to be bold, be daring, be maverick-like. Do something different.”
When you do, you snap people out of their zone. I saw Anthony Robbins on a video recently called, I am Not Your Guru. He talks about why he uses the F bomb, I can drop the F-bomb real quick and somebody said, “Wow, that language is …” He said, “It helps people snap out of that state and brings them in the moment.” Right? This actually does the same thing. When I say to someone, “What are you working on right now?” They go, “I’m writing a book. I’m working on my antique car. I’m working on my kid’s science project.” Whatever it is, they look around, up, when people look up they are thinking. They are thinking, they are engaged and actually pondering the question. They are actually thinking, “What am I working on right now?” Then they get a little grin on their face and then they share with you what is really important to them.
If it’s a business type thing and they are, “Hey, what am I working on? I’m putting together this event. I got all these speakers that are coming and I’m looking for a venue,” or “I’m writing a book and I’m really excited about it because it’s a romance novel. It’s about my first boyfriend.” If it’s about their children. When you say to somebody, “Tell me something about yourself that has nothing to do with what you do or where you’re from.” I’ll have people say, “Gosh, I have a three year old little girl and a baby on the way.” Great. You’re a family man, in other words, now I can talk to you about what’s really important to you. He doesn’t give a shit about talking about being an attorney or an insurance person or whatever, they are so bored, they are so bored with talking about the same thing.
See, this is about being memorable, having meaningful conversation, and also assist us in a beautiful follow through. When all we say is what do you do, sometimes when we say what do you do it flows into conversation. Listen, I get it, there are some situations where “What do you do? “This is what I do.” “Great.” There are times when that is appropriate. I’m just inviting you. I am suggesting. I’m just saying why not be bold? Why not be different? Why not when given the opportunity you are not like everybody else? What do you do? What do you do? Nothing memorable about that. When you ask about what they are working on and you get in there and you learn about them, people love to talk about themselves. They love to talk about themselves. They want to talk about what’s really important to them.
Whatever they’re working on is important to them. Right? You ask somebody, “Hey, what book are you reading right now?” You can learn a lot about the person based on if they are reading or not, number one or listening to audios. What book are they reading, are they reading one or not, and what are they reading, are they reading, Think and Grow Rich or are they reading Stephen King? Either way at least you have something to talk about and you can start to see what kind of synergies you have, the point is talk about something besides what do you do. Why are people sharking through the room? I was at an event a few months ago and the guys said to me and of course he knew what I did because I was on the stage but when he came over, the question that he asked was still very sharkish.
Let me just put it that way. I can feel and I can watch his eyes, it’s interesting how I call it, glaze over because this is not what a shark does. When a shark is going in for the kill, their eyes kind of glaze, they have that mucus that goes over their eyes. I can see the mucus go right over his eyes, right? When he could tell that I wasn’t the prey he was looking for, I could feel him kind of start sharking the rest of the room and getting ready to swim away. I, being the person that I am, call him on the carpet. I said, “No, you didn’t. No, you did not. You did not just glazed over and totally dismiss me. Did you just dismissed me because of how I answered your question?” Guys, the point is notice how you’re being received. Not everybody is going to be conscious of like totally conscious of that but everybody subconsciously is conscious of that.
Haven’t you ever noticed people in the room, you can see somebody from across, you haven’t even talked to them yet, you haven’t even heard their voice but there’s something about them that you think, “I don’t know what it is about her, I just don’t like her.” We’ve all felt that way going into a different room, a class or any situation, and there’s other people that we see out of the corner of our eye and we think, “Wow, I don’t know what he’s got going on but I want to talk to that guy.” The reason that we feel that way is because of our body language. There are something that that person is putting off in their body language that is attracting or repulsing, attracting or repulsing. We are doing the same thing. Are you attracting people? Are you repulsing them?
Think about what you’re doing and how you are communicating with people. To start off with how are you communicating with introducing yourself? What are you doing to create a first impression that impresses? What are you doing to create conversations that are meaningful and memorable and masterful? Are you that boring? A boring person who walks up says, “What do you do?” Can you come up with something a little more masterful that gets the person engage? When was the last time you asked somebody question and they looked around starting to smile and actually enjoy the conversation? Let’s just step up to the plate, I’ve got a whole list of ways to do this further in the book. I’m just going to go ahead and put an index of different ways to start a conversation and it will be in such a format that you’ll be able to take it with you to events.
On top of having decreed that we will promise, “I,” state your name, “Will not be asking for any more business cards unless I have full intention of following up.” Along with the creed, we’re also going to have a list of ways to create conversation, of ways to think about how we’re being received with our body language when we go into an event and ways that we can have beautiful, flowing follow through, not follow up. Follow up, up, insinuates that you’re doing later. When you follow through and just go ahead and do it in the first day or two days or three days when you follow through there’s a flow, there’s a flow that creates collaboration. What do you do? I don’t really give a shit what you do.
I want to know why you do it. Why do you do what you do? What is it that makes you get up in the morning? What is it that inspires you? Why are you here? Why are you here at this event? Why are you watching this video? Why are you reading this book? Why? How? How do you do what you do? Wouldn’t you agree that there’s people in your field that do what you do differently than how you do it? “I was a real estate agent,” there were a bazillion different ways. If I ask somebody what they did and they said, “I’m a real estate agent,” okay. How we do it is so different, it’s a different question and the other one is who. Who do you do it for? I mean, I’ll play with people. I’ll walk up and they’ll say, “What do you do?” I’ll say, “I help people stop saying what do you do and actually have interesting conversations.”
Tell me something about you has nothing to do with what you do or where you’re from and they get engaged. I want to know who they do it for. In order words, what is the person that inspires them, who do you do it for? Your family, your children, your spouse, or who do you do it for meaning your clients and your customers. Who is it that you’re doing this thing for so that their life is better? See, there are so many different ways, so many different ways to engage in another human being without saying what do you do. As a matter of fact, when we come to Network on Fire, Network on Fire is the annual event that I do, sometimes in the Boston area, other places in the world, but when we come to the Network on Fire event there’s a big round sign with the slash through it that says no elevator pitches and no asking what do you do.
As a matter of fact, I’m going to charge $20 every time I hear you say what do you do to somebody because you’re being unoriginal, you’re not creating a network on fire when all you’re talking about is what do you do. Having said that, why, why are you reading this book? Why are you watching this video? Why are you listening to this audio? Why? Are you building a business? Are you wanting to be a better communicator for relationships? See, we all are reading, watching, listening to this because we want income, influence and impact in one form or another. We want resources, relationships, and revenue and because we want all of those things it is important that we take a big step back, take a deep breath, pay attention to how we are communicating which starts with non-verbal communication, our body language and our mindset, how are we communicating.
Now, into what we’re talking about now which is conversating because how we’re communicating, how we’re conversating is going to either naturally flow into or stop dead in its tracks of collaborating. We can’t collaborate as well if we’re not communicating and conversating in a powerful way. I implore you, I beg of you, stop asking people what do you do. Be more interesting and interested because guess what? Ding dong, the witch is dead. Wicked pitch, the pitch old pitch. Ding dong, the wicked pitch is dead. Stop with the 30-second elevator pitch. Stop asking people what they do. Step up, stop being a card collector and be a business builder. Camibaker.com will teach you the skillset and even more importantly, the mindset.”