Prepare to answer the question, “How’s work?” over the holidays

During this time of the year, we find ourselves in various social settings, both professional (e.g., industry holiday parties) and personal events with family and friends. Regardless of the context, it’s essential to be ready with our elevator speech and adept at answering common questions like: “How’s work?”, “What’s going on?”, and “What do you do?”.

When responding to “How’s work?” or “What’s going on?”, be prepared with a tailored answer depending on your audience. For instance, if you are in a innovative field like AI and speaking to someone less familiar with technology, such as a relative with a flip phone and a black-and-white TV, focus on the benefits they will personally receive from AI rather than delving into technical details. On the other hand, when addressing potential customers in the field, be ready to articulate your role while emphasizing the specific advantages they could gain from buying your product.

Elevator Speeches are crucial for explaining your work in a compelling and informative manner, especially to those unfamiliar with your industry. To help craft your message, consider insights shared during a company call by GKB CEO, Craig Karmazin. He discussed the timeless art of storytelling, citing the example of Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. It’s important to note that this reference isn’t a political or religious statement; rather, it serves as an illustration.

The key storytelling concepts that Craig discussed included:

  • Identify the threat.
  • Identify the victim.
  • Identify the villain(s).
  • Identify the solution.
  • Reveal the Hero (GKB/you).
  • Give frequency to the above message, by telling it tight and making sure there is a benefit to the “victim”.

Using the framework above to explain Donald Trump’s messaging, you would have the following:

  • Identify the threat/opportunity: Make America Great Again.
  • Identify the victim: Middle Class losing jobs, diminishing quality of life.
  • Identify the villain(s): Immigrants, media, lobbyists, trade deals.
  • Identify the solution: Build a wall, drain the swamp, tear up trade deals.
  • Reveal the Hero (GKB/you): Donald Trump.
  • Message: Make America Great Again.

Don’t wait to practice your elevator speech and answer “what’s going on” at social events. Prepare for “storytelling season” by practicing through the following methods:

  • Create a video and watch it back to evaluate your presentation.
  • Find a trusted person in your network to practice with and seek constructive feedback.

If we want to be good at explaining our value in social settings, we need to prepare for the questions prior to it. The best I have ever seen at answering the “what’s going on” question is Jordan Sherwood. It is because he prepares for the question. If you see Jordan, just ask him “what’s going on” and then listen to the answer.