A 3 second answer to the question “And what do you do?”

Most of the people I meet who are drawn to the idea of getting paid to play are not single-stranded characters. They are creatively minded and have multiple interests and multiple projects (or at least multiple ideas they would like to pursue). Many of them as a result consider themselves to be a scanner.

One of the challenges though of being a person with multiple strings to your bow is answering the question “What do you do?” – the answer to which sometimes feels like it should be “How long have you got?”.

That’s why I was rather delighted to discover a simple solution called The 3 Second Statement from John Purkiss, co-author of the excellent book “Brand You: Turn Your Unique Talents Into a Winning Formula”.

As John says,

An elevator ride is far too long to hold most people’s attention. In the UK, you have three seconds before someone interrupts and says “Pass the biscuits”.

So here’s how to summarise what you do in 3 seconds as described in Brand You:

The next person you meet could lead you to a great opportunity. If they ask what you do, you may only have a few seconds to answer…

You therefore need a message that is concise and memorable. We call it your three-second statement. If you only say you are a headhunter, an accountant or a psychiatrist, the conversation may end there. If you mention two activities, at least twice as many people will want to know more. They will pick up on the topic that interests them most.

So pick two things you want to highlight and make those into your 3 second statement. John Purkiss’ own answer to “What do you do?” is “I’m a headhunter and I write books”. I’ve made mine, “I’m a writer and I run courses on getting paid to do what you love” or sometimes “I’m a writer and I run a monthly event for creative people called Scanners Night”.

You can vary what you include in your statement according to who is asking and what they are most likely to be interested in. This is particularly useful when you’re starting out in creating a new line of work. You will probably still be doing your old work to keep the money coming in while also building up a new income stream or career.

You can then use this in your 3 second statement: “I’m a website designer and I’ve recently qualified as a personal trainer” or “I work in HR and I write a blog about Indian food”.

So what’s your 3 second statement? Leave a comment and let us know…

How to build a brand using social media – this Wednesday

John PurkissJohn Purkiss is our speaker at Scanners Night in London this Wednesday and will be explaining more about how to build ‘brand you’ and grow your profile online using social media.

Read more and find out how to attend for £1 here

If you’re not in London, find out how to get the recording here.

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