WHAT THE HECK DO YOU DO?
What did you say you do again?
I don’t know about you, but I find The Apprentice to be highly entertaining.
But I remember one series particularly well – series 7.
And it wasn’t just because of the characters involved – although Jim was an inspiration to watch for anyone lacking in sales skills, and Helen could organise the hind legs off a donkey (OK – not a well known expression but I like it!).
But the award for the person who confused me the most in that series had to go to Melody Hossaini. All the way through the series (until she got ‘fired’) I was trying to work out what it was she did!
I knew it was global, I knew it involved youngsters and I knew she’d won awards for it! So at the tender age of 26 she was obviously a force to be reckoned with!
But what exactly did she do? Well, I was pleased to learn that I wasn’t not alone in my confusion. Because what was the very first question that Dara O’Briain asked on ‘The Apprentice: You’re fired’?
No prizes for guessing – it was “What do you actually do?”!
And even after Melody told them, the panel and I were still confused! Ruby Wax even offered to give Melody some training in communication!
Melody finally said that her business ‘enabled young people to combine their passion with the necessary skills to enable them to achieve their vision’. At that point I thought I’d got it – she helped young people who wanted to volunteer to help others actually turn their passion into practical skills so that they could make a real difference! (Actually, even as writing this I’m not convinced I’ve got it right!).
But then I thought that the inability to communicate clearly and concisely what you do is common to so many business owners I meet. When I ask them what they do, they’re unable to tell me in a way that means I have a clear idea as to who they help and what they do.
Melody quite clearly has the advantage that she is exceptionally passionate and a remarkable young woman. And she has clearly been able to communicate her ideas to enough people to make a success of her business.
But that’s leaving so much to chance. So the next time someone asks you “What do you do?” think very carefully about the answer you give.
Make sure you leave them in no doubt as to who you help, how you help them and why they should choose you rather than your competitors.
Otherwise you may find Ruby Wax offering to help you with your communication skills!