What do you DO? [HINT: you are more than a Job Title!]

Picture this.

You’re standing at a reception, and someone (a potential donor, a potential employer, business prospect, board member, partner, etc) comes over to you and says those 5 wonderful words:

Hi, what do you do?

How do you respond?

Do you freeze up? Do you fumble for the right words? Do you hide behind your job title? Do you start talking and explaining what you do, or start a rambling list of ALL of your organization’s programming & activities, while watching the other person’s eyes glaze over?

Or, do you immediately engage their interest, and start a conversation that smoothly leads into an authentic dialogue?


IF your intention is to truly enroll and engage those you meet, to differentiate yourself or your unique organization from others and connect authentically, SO THAT you can create the possibility of fulfilling your purpose/your organization’s mission, then how you describe yourself and/or your organization is key.

Whether or not you are speaking to a person who needs what you have to offer, what you say in this moment is a critical first step to creating that possibility. And in most cases, a job title or a list of facts won’t get you there. I get it – our titles or organization name will need to be used, but they must be followed by language that goes deeper, creates a longer line, and ties everything together in terms of impact and intention.


When I work with both my individual and organizational clients, we use an integrated process that absolutely leverages these moments. We use exercises to reveal strategic messaging that quickly peaks curiosity, paints a picture, connects the listener to you, and moves people to want to join you and take action!

A bonus: when you master this process, it provides the speaker with wonderful clarity in the impact you want to achieve, ease in decision-making, and confidence that resonates through your tone of voice and eye contact!

When we move from “transactional” messaging to “impact and why” messaging; we are able to find and communicate the common threads and intention behind the outcomes we create when we do what we do.

We answer the unspoken questions: “so what?” “how does that effect me?” “why should I support you, and why now?” And, we create momentum by incorporating E.T.S’s (Exciting Trajectory Statements!”):

• “This is such an exciting time as I/we… “
• “Momentum is building!”
• “I/we have Big Plans…”
• “Join me/us!”


By mastering this process, we can create some immediate transformational results!

Board members become empowered ambassadors and fundraisers. Staff become even more effective. Income increases. The community starts to pay more attention and it feels like your organization grows overnight!

As an individual, your newly ‘elevated’ language creates a sense of purpose and trajectory that helps you step up to create the impact that you are meant to achieve, while also generating powerful personal brand differentiation. In a highly competitive marketplace, these skills are priceless to have during an interview or major donor solicitation, and they help others know exactly how they can help!

This inspiring work helps individuals and organizations make a big shift, and often leads to creating new professional biographies, or new development and marketing language and materials, more effective ways of presenting budgets and running meetings, smoother governance and operating structures, and processes that (only) support the outcomes you want.

I developed this process after witnessing how many Strategic Planning processes, succession plans, searches, board retreats, development or marketing/branding consulting, and other “best practice” services did not deliver the immediate transformation that the organization (and their constituents) needed.


Ready to give this a try? Here’s a good place to start:

Watch this short video message where I pull back the curtain and show you how I use this process to respond when someone asks me what I “do.” Then create your own message that ties together all that you do into overarching statements of impact. and conveys momentum by creating your E.T.S. You’ll begin to uncover your (or your organization’s) “unique elevated impact and why messaging.” It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it will evolve over time. It can be your first step towards your next exciting chapter!

To your success,


p.s. – If you’d like to have a conversation about elevating your messaging, let’s get on the phone!


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