What’s Your Name
It’s true that’s the reason.
I left college being called a master teacher, with student teachers following me into the classroom. It had something to do with my philosophy that if I couldn’t sit in a desk all day, I’d be damned if I would ask a 6-year-old to try to do so. I loved the kids and the teaching, but when new friends asked What do you do? I heard myself saying, I’m a teacher, but not like any you ever knew. That wasn’t good. That’s when I realized that I needed a new word or I wouldn’t be teaching.
You’ve probably not left a career over a word, and probably suspect there was more to it. There was, and there wasn’t. The way folks viewed me was the problem. I wasn’t what they imagined. I didn’t like being put in their box.
But we rely on words figure out our world view.
There is no getting away from that.The next best thing is picking our words.
What Are You? a Blogger? a Writer? a Publisher? a Sales Rep? a Marketer? a Citizen Journalist? a Critic? a Martyr?
What do you do? they say. What do I answer?
Naming Yourself So Others Know
Names are the the most important words. They’re the first words that we learn and often the first words we tell each other. Then we move on to What do you do? We find out about moms and dads and sisters and brothers, and about the jobs of others.
If we have a regular job in a regular office, and someone asks What do you do? we often throw out our job title and leave it at that. No rule says we have to. Think about it, You’ll see it’s often misleading to do that. Unfortunately what I find is that I don’t think about it often enough.
So I’m writing this article to remind me — and you — of what we might do before the next person asks What do you do?
1. Spend some time. Consider your audience.
- We spend time naming our businesses and our blogs. We worry over the perfect tagline. Then someone asks
What do you do?
- and the response is something like,
I’m a blogger,
- without a thought to whether that’s the best name for our endeavors.
Sometimes we answer without considering our audience — Does what we said mean anything to them? Do they have notions about those words? Will your answer get you stuck at the border, explaining yourself to customs. Don’t think that it can’t happen. Ask Jeremy Wright. He’s been there.
2. Say something accurate and descriptive. Some folks answer What do you do with I work at home. Don’t tell me where tell me what you do there. I’m interested. Here’s your chance to sell me on your brand and your business. Don’t make the mistake of leaving me thinking that you spend your time cleaning refrigerators, making beds, and washing windows all day long.
3. Be specific.Specificity inspires curiosity. It may sound counterintuitive, but specificity encourages a need for information. Had I only known to change I’m a teacher to I teach children how to read. I could have opened the door to a conversation in which we shared a meaningful dialogue. Instead I passed on a defensive remark that said I don’t like being classed with other teachers.
4. If the title on your card doesn’t work, give yourself a new one. When my business card said, Publisher, most folks were confused enough to ask if I was the one who printed the books. I learned to tell them that I was a Bookbuilder — I was the who got to pick which books we made and who would make them.
Humans are by nature curious. We like to know things about each other. If we don’t find out. We tend to make up stuff to fill in gaps. It’s far better for our brands and businesses to be clear in what we name things — ourselves and our job roles. The more our readers know about what we do, the more they can rely on us to serve them. Because we shared our information, they’re not jolted by unnecessary surprises Instead we’re predictable, and they’re relaxed and delighted.
Delighted customers say good things about us to each other, and they come back to visit us. That’s what we’re going for isn’t it?
Brand you and me blog promotion.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you think Liz can help with a problem you’re having with your business, your brand or your blog, check out the Work with Liz!! page in the sidebar.
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