When Asked, How Do You Reply?


(By Rick Fink) It happens nearly every day. You meet someone for the first time and the common question asked is, “What do you do for a living?” How do you reply? Do you offer the common boring response, “I sell advertising”, or, “I sell advertising for (your station/group name)”? Or, do you give a much more profound, creative, and exciting answer?

We are in a creative profession, so start with a creative response to this mundane question. While this little reply (your “elevator speech”) isn’t necessarily going to make or break you, it can mean the world of difference in how the person asking perceives you. We only get so many chances to tell the world what we do, and this is one of those opportunities. Be prepared to take advantage of it!

So, what do you do?

As a media rep, I would say, “I work with small to medium-sized businesses helping them create strategies and ideas, so they get a better return on their advertising dollar”.

As a manager, it would be something like, “I manage a group of media reps and help train them, give them ideas, and keep them motivated so they can, in turn, help their clients get a better return on their advertising dollar”.

As a media and sales consultant, I say, “We work with small to medium-sized media markets, mostly radio, helping train their managers and media reps so they can help their clients get a better return on their advertising dollar. In return, they ultimately generate more local revenue”.

Each of these statements is just the beginning of the conversation and hopefully, it leads to more discussion.

Whether a sales rep or a manager, draft a short, creative statement that you are comfortable with that will make the person asking the question say, “Wow, that’s interesting!”

Write it down, memorize it, and be prepared to use it the next time someone asks, “What do you do for a living?”

NEVER Stop Learning – Get Better Every Day!

Rick Fink from ENS Media can be reached at 605-310-2062 or at [email protected]. Read Rick’s Radio Ink archives here.


  1. When asked that question I reply, “I sell air.” Sometimes there’s a look of confusion, but then they’ll either see my name tag and that I work in radio, or I’ll tell them I work in radio and then they start laughing.


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