You chose your vocation, you studied to earn valuable training in the field, and you worked for years to establish your place in the industry. You are the foremost expert on you, so why can’t you explain what you do for a living? Maybe you’re overthinking the matter: Take a step back and follow these handy steps to convey your craft to those who don’t share your expertise (yet).
1. Spice it up without dumbing it down.
Admit it: your job is pretty cool. That’s why you do it every day, right? When you explain your profession to an outsider, focus on that very coolness to get the message across without getting bogged down in technical jargon. If you’re a mechanic, avoid reeling off opaque terms like torque, manifold and catalytic converter. Instead, speak to the hot-rod in all of us; your audience (or at least a good portion of it) probably love the liberation of the open road. Home in on that shared passion while you explain how you spend your day getting motorists back in the driver’s seat.
2. Universal examples.
Even if your job isn’t as exciting as a NASCAR star, it most likely serves a vital function in our society. Tap into that sense of commonality when you attempt to educate others about your work. Take, for instance, an IT genius. She may be a whiz at fixing network issues, but how can she lay out a case for her relevancy without putting her audience to sleep like a neglected laptop?
The answer: focus on the basics. She could compare the streamlining of her company’s digital infrastructure to the meal sitting in front of you. That roast beef sandwich may look delicious and you want to eat it all right now, but how will you be able to ingest it without ample water to chase it down? This metaphor explains how the IT guru approaches her workplace network, and now you have a visceral (and universally understood) illustration of how to “digest” this information.
3. Show and tell.
We live in a visual age, so harness your audience’s attention by igniting their imagination. Most great presentations require imagery to tell their tale, so here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when constructing your story:
- Bold is beautiful:…