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Do people really know what you do?

Last week, I was at a networking meeting, when Chris, who designs mobile apps asked a great question. “How many here know what coding is?” (and about a third of us put our hands up). Then he asked “And how many here know what programming is?” (and the same people said yes they did).

Which means about two thirds of his audience were totally ignorant of what his job entailed.

And I suspect that’s a real issue for all of us. We all know exactly what we do, what a vital thing it is for our customers, how skilful it is. But when you introduce yourself and your business, do we talk in shorthand, and just assume that other people understand it just as much?

Take PR for example.

          • Some people might think my world is just like that from the TV series Ab Fab. All champagne daaaarling.
          • Some think of PR and think political spin
          • Some think of getting celebrities on the tour of TV chatshows
          • Some think it’s ‘working with the public’.

But that’s not what I mean by PR.

PR, in my world, is working with clients to make sure they manage their reputation (and get more business to boot) by communicating with their customers, employees, suppliers, neighbours, competitors (ie. their ‘publics’) – generally about the positive things they do.

And that might involve writing an article or press release, setting up meetings with the media, creating a newsletter, organising staff or public meetings, social media content. It might mean writing an award application or arranging an exhibition stand. It might be organising sponsorship. Or a competition. Or securing a speaker slot for them at a conference. It might be an email footer or website content. Sometimes it’s minimising a story.

So my challenge to you is this… next time you say what you do, just take a few minutes to get people to share what they thing that means…

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