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Question:<i>“What do you do?”</i> Answering. . .

Depends on the Audience, Goal, & Time.

The Audience could be a Group or Individuals. If a group, it could be large or small.

Group scenario for this question occurs when attending a networking event, social function, or seminar where the individual in charge says; “Before we get started, let’s go around the room. When it’s your turn, stand up; tell us who you are and what you do. Give us your Elevator Speech.”

The ULTIMATE Goal when delivering an Elevator Speech is a Conversation. You want a discussion with people who have an interest in what you do and want to know specifically:

  1. How you work.

  2. What products / services you offer.

  3. Delivery options.

  4. How much it costs.

The IMMEDIATE Goal of your Elevator Speech is Everyone knows exactly what you do. The next step for them is, they:

  1. Want to have a conversation with you as soon as possible because your offering/expertise hit a hot button with them.

  2. File your information so if they ever need your products or services they’ll contact you for a conversation.

  3. Are comfortable with your expertise and offerings and will refer you if the “pain” you solve comes to their attention from others.

Using the Elevator Speech Template, you can present as little or as much information as time allows. Often, less is more, and complete Clarity is essential. No one will want to hire, purchase, or refer you if they don’t understand your answer to that common question.

Occasionally, there is a large group and time is tight. The leader may say, “Since we have so many here today, please limit your Elevator Speech to fifteen words or less. In situations like this, use a Twitter Type Elevator Speech.” Example, here is one of mine: “I speak, coach, and write about networking, public speaking, and presentation skills.” 12 words  –  85 characters

In the Individual scenario you’re usually at a function or event where the suggestion was to, “Arrive early and Network.” Your Elevator Speech will mostly be one-on-one and there is a limited amount of time to meet people who will be asking, “What do you do?”

The ULTIMATE Goal of the one-on-one Elevator Speech is, also a Conversation with someone who has an interest in what you do and want to know specifics.

The IMMEDIATE Goal of one-on-one Elevator Speeches is to DIS-Qualify people. Everyone is not a prospect. You are not going to buy everything offered to you. Don’t waste major time, theirs or yours, on minor possibilities. Use the EXPRESS Elevator Speech to quickly DIS-Qualify and move on.

The Goal of All Communication; including the Elevator Speech, is the same. We want the audience, as quickly as possible, to GET IT!

Follow these suggestions for answering the question, “What do you do?” and your Elevator Speech will be absolutely, positively – NO SWEAT!


About the Author

Fred E. Miller is a speaker, an international coach, and the author of the books, “NO SWEAT Public Speaking!” and “NO SWEAT Elevator Speech!”

Businesses, Individuals, and Organizations hire him because they want to improve their Networking, Public Speaking, and Presentation Skills.

They do this because they know: Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

They also know: We perceive really great speakers to be Experts, and we like to work with Experts.

He shows them how to: Develop, Practice, and Deliver ‘Knock Your Socks Off Presentations!’ with – NO SWEAT!


  1. Keynote Speaker

  2. Workshop Facilitator

  3. Breakout Sessions

  4. Personal and Group Public Speaking and Presentation Coaching


  1. Lessening The Fear of Public Speaking with – NO SWEAT!

  2. Crafting Your Elevator Speech, Floor by Floor with – NO SWEAT!

  3. Speaking Opportunities are Business, Career, and Leadership Opportunities.

  4. We are All Self-Employed!


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