I’ve answered the same question, over and over again this week.
(no points for you if you just said, “Do you want fries with that?”)
You see, initially, I didn’t post about my new job, but the missus did.
She posted on “the Facebook”, talking about me landing my “dream job” – without actually saying what that was.
(Methinks she would write some awesome open loops…)
When you see a vague post like that, there’s only one thing on your mind:
“TELL ME WHAT THE JOB IS RIGHT NOW!”
When I answer “I’m a copywriter.”…
… they all have the same look on their face.
… THEN comes the question:
“That’s awesome! Congratulations… er, what is a ‘copywriter’ exactly?”
No one has a bloody clue.
I don’t blame them of course.
I’m willing to bet that, if the entire population of Lincoln sat a test and came across the question:
What is a copywriter?
a) One of only three people on the planet who knows how to insert a “©” into a word doc,
b) Someone who helps businesses sell more stuff,
c) A person who can help trademark your brilliant, and bound to be a bestselling, “101 uses for that verucca you found” book?
… that b) would be the least popular choice.
Rather than make people sit a formal exam though…
(having to carry a desk and chair wherever you go is not as much fun as you imagine)
… I usually just say something like:
“You know how some business owners are great at what they do, but terrible at selling themselves? I write adverts, promotions and emails to help them sell more stuff.”
(Though, having just written it, I may go with the “Verruca” thing from now on)
This little exchange highlights a problem – if people have to ask a follow-up question, you’re making it hard for them.
They have to do more work.
People don’t like doing hard work.
To ask a follow-up question to get more info, not only do they have to summon up the physical energy to ask the question, but they also have to do the mental gymnastics of thinking:
“Hang on… Is asking this question going to make me look like a bloody idiot?”
One of the reasons I recommend being fun and light-hearted in business is because it makes things EASIER – both for you and the customer.
As I’ve said before, people like working with people who are easy to deal with.
It takes a bit of the pressure off.
If you have to hire an English professor to check your email before you fire it off to your plumber because he’s a bit of a stickler for grammar, that’s intimidating.
“Ey up Barry! Any chance you could pop over? We’re swimming in shite over here!”
… is a bit easier.
It’s the same with job titles – don’t give yourself a polysyllabic monstrosity that even Stephen Hawking would look at and say:
“You wot, m8?”
“I write words that help you sell more stuff!”
“You see that dollop of lard, hanging over your belt? I’ll help you shift that, fatty!”
Make it easy by telling us what you actually do.
“I’m an operative in a crack team. My finger’s always on the trigger and I have to stay cool and calm… to use my judgement… to determine whether to fire or not. It’s split seconds calls. One false move and another one’s gone. At times it’s crazy… relentless… so much pressure. I can feel the sweat dripping off my brow, but stopping isn’t an option… It’s NEVER an option… every day could be my las…”
“Hang on Dave, don’t you work on the mayo gun at McDonald’s?”
“I was getting to that bit…”
Being easy to work with is one of the reasons customers will decide to work with you.
Explaining what you do in plain English – so that a child could understand – is just one of the ways to make things a little bit easier for them.
So, if you tend to be a bit loquacious when enunciating and articulating, particularly appertaining to your particular professional position, or, “métier” if you will…
… maybe start there.