How to tell others what you do

“Hi, I’m Colm and I’m a Strategic Technical Advisor.”

When Colm introduced himself to new colleagues, he’d get polite smiles and blank stares.

So he’d try to explain…

“I do the planning to leverage the technical systems.”

WTF? Still no idea. Seems like a nice chap, they thought. But what does he actually DO?

When you’re introducing yourself, be it in a presentation or to another colleague, STOP using your job title alone to describe your function.

A COO in one company may have very different responsibilities to one in another company.

So your job title alone doesn’t mean that much.

Why it’s important to get this right

Let’s say you’re at an external networking even when you meet Colm.  You’ve no idea what he means by ‘leveraging technical systems’  you’re already side-eyeing the bar to see if the queue’s gone down.  You may meet someone while you’re waiting for your Merlot.

In an internal work situation, you’ve know idea what this colleague does. This is a shame as he helps customers tailor a certain risk mitigating software so they only have what they need, and, as it happens, you need him.

However, as you don’t really get what Colm does, he won’t be part of the solution.

If people don’t understand what you do, you can lose out on…

  • opportunities to collaborate
  • job promotions
  • exciting projects

Hence, it’s a basic communication skill to be able to tell others what you do but so few people do it in a way that’s clear and piques interest.

How to tell others what you do

Use this structure instead:

  1. I HELP (my client – internal or external)
  2. DO (this result, outcome, transformation)
  3. SO THAT (they receive this benefit)

So Colm may say:

“I HELP our external clients
CHOOSE the right combination of technical solutions
SO THAT they get the best options for their CSM.”

As he’s now speaking English instead of gobbledeegook, his listeners may ask “How?”

Then he can go into detail.

Here’s my HELP / DO / SO THAT

  1. I HELP specialists in Tech,
  2. BECOME Communication Experts
  3. SO THAT they become powerful presenters, brilliant storytellers and are able to manage up, down and sideways.


(Here are some very common mistakes make when they’re introducing themselves presentations.   Don’t make these slips.)

Grab them with THE HOOK

Now, sometimes a hook is very useful to entice people to know more.  You use this BEFORE the help / do / so that structure to incite curiosity.

When people ask me “What do you do?”

I’ll reply, “People skills for geeks.”

before continuing to the HELP / DO / SO THAT framework, following with the HOW.

They often respond with, “I know someone that needs you”.

This is usually accompanied by a wry smile, I then skip the HELP / DO / SO THAT and progress to the HOW.

When to use this structure

You can use this format in many ways including:

  • presentations
  • meeting new colleagues
  • external networking events
  • pitches

Think of this structure as an accordion.  You can keep it short but it’s likely now that people will want to know more.  Using examples will expand what you say.

My ‘How’

Clients become

  • master influencers,
  • compelling storytellers,
  • impactful influencers and
  • creative problem solvers through:

✳️one to one coaching
✳️whole team training
✳️online self-paced courses


Your Actions:

  1. next time you’re presenting where there are people who don’t know you in the audience, use the I HELP / BECOME/ SO THAT structure.
  2. Need this for your team or company?  Share it, creating a coherent message among clients, prospects, investors and other stakeholders.


I also have ways that you can communication skills on the go: for whole companies.
It’s like having a tutor whispering in your ear, but not in a weird way.
Got you curious?
Get in touch with me at, or start by having a look at my courses (one off or a series for groups or individuals.
Photo courtesy of Gratisography

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