Learn the Base Formula to Introduce Yourself and Never Get Stuck Again When Answering the “What do you do?” Question
Learn the Base Formula to Introduce Yourself
and Never Get Stuck Again When Answering
“What do you do?”
Introductions are rough. Answering the ‘What do you do?‘ question can be a nightmare and no matter how passionate you are about your life, your work, or your mission on Earth, it takes practice and confidence to pull through that question in a genuine yet inspiring way.
Especially when you’re, say, a filmmaker/actor/screenwriter without a significant credit on your IMDB. In a lot of cases, answering by I’m a filmmaker means that the next question is going to be:
- Oh, what’s the last film you’ve made?
- Oh, what type of films do you make?
Unless you’ve made a feature that went into festivals and/or had theatrical/Netflix release, the rest of the conversation is going to feel sucky. Because whatever you answer after that, people’s spark in their eyes is going to vanish as they will stop believing you. They won’t think you’re a liar. They’ll simply realize that you haven’t “made it” yet. And the shortcut that follows that death sentence is that you must not really be who you say you are.
Luckily, there’s a simple formula to create an introduction that will be aligned with who you are and what you do, all the while sparkling your interlocutor’s interest.
Clay Hebert explains it all in his talk The Perfect Intro, that you can watch below. This talk is one of the best talk I’ve listened to in a long time. There is zero fat in it.
There is one flaw though.
95% of the examples Herbert uses are white males. Nothing unusual, of course, we (women and people of color) are used to the gymnastic of finding ways to relate through examples that never represent us, but I want to point it out here, even if it’s going to make your eyes rolls, because if I don’t, how will smart and ambitious white men realise they have the power to change cultural habits through seemingly mundane actions like diversifying their examples during a public speaking gig?
Food for thoughts.
So, if you’re still here, discover below the base formula Hebert coined to introduce yourself in an impactful and engaging way. I encourage you to watch the full talk, and I challenge you not to stop the video after 7 minutes to rethink and rewrite your intro on all your social media, website homepage and industry pitch.
The 3 Myths about Introductions
Myth #1 : It’s about you
- No, it’s about who you help and why.
Myth #2: It should be 100% complete
- Completeness is for resumes, it should be interesting.
Myth #3: it should be a 100% accurate
- Our desire to be accurate forces us to use boring words.
The Base Formula to Introduce Yourself
(I) + (help) + (who is it you help) + (achieve a result)
- I = you’re the one introducing yourself
- help = or some form of the word “help”
- who is it you help= who do you serve? your clients, your customers, your audience
- achieve a result = what you help them do, or achieve, or become
The Rules to Create a Strong Introduction
- No buzzwords: pretend you’re talking to a six-year old
- Use as few words as possible. Six is just a guideline but shoot for shorter words and fewer syllables.
- Focus on Intrigue vs. Information: it’s a conversation, not a resume. The goal is to get them interested, not explain everything you do.
- Customise your intro based on the room you’re in. There is not one perfect introduction for you, there are perfect introductions.
- Try to ask first so you know what to customise in your intro. You can try to change the word help with a different verb: I connect, I teach, I decode, I build, I produce
If you’re wondering how this can apply to you, watch the video below. Herbert shares many examples, from entrepreneurs to writers and artist. You’ll also see how to tweak it, make it more fun and intriguing.
Watch the talk and let me know what is it that you do below!
check the archives for a taste of it.