What Do You Do? – When Is Appropriate To Ask

People often ask me, ‘what do you do?’ the first time that I met them.

Why is this appropriate to ask, ‘What Do You Do?’ the first time you meet someone?

I usually avoid answering this question by pretending that I did not hear or just kept on talking without responding.

Why I do this?

First, I personally think that this question is an inappropriate greeting.

Second, when I tell people that I am a Blogger, the next question is: ‘Do you even make money as a blogger?

I feel uncomfortable talking about my work, especially how much I make when I first meet someone.

I always give this answer: ‘I do what most successful do online!’

By surprising people with such interesting answer, it opens the door of possibility.

Do you agree with me asking, ‘what do you do?’ is an inappropriate greeting?

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Why ‘What Do You Do?’ Is Not an Appropriate Greeting.

Most people think that is OK to use this question greeting people at a networking event.

I find that people will give you a boring or a quick, ‘I am a ___’, answer if you are greeting them with this question.

If you want to have an interesting conversation with someone about their work, you need to establish a relationship before asking, what do you do?

The appropriate way to greet a stranger is asking ‘How are you?’ or ‘How are you doing?’

How are you doing? Is better than What do you do?

Greeting someone with the traditional ‘How are you doing?’ show that you care about the person.

It invites a more personal response to start an interesting conversation.

When you greet someone with, how are you? It’s natural to follow with an introduction of names.

This approach allows people to respond in a natural way. Instead of offering a prepared answer in response to ‘What do you do?’

If you want to have a meaningful or engaging conversation, you should start with ‘how are you doing?’ greeting and avoid asking, ‘what do you do?’

Anyone asking me, what do you do? This is my answer,

Don’t believe me? Follow the link to find out!

Different Ways to Ask What You Do

You don’t need to use this boring question next time at a networking event.

If you want to know what someone does for a living, there are more interesting ways to approach this topic.

This is my approach:

Me: Hi! How are you doing? My name is TQ.

Stranger: Hi! My name is ____

Me: I see you at this event a lot, what interests you? Or

This is the first time I see you, what interests you to come?

I use ‘What interests you?’ to ask, ‘What do you do?’ because it invites the person to communicate with me.

You should approach this topic using one of these questions:

  • What do you love to do?
  • What are you most passionate about?
  • What are you working on?
  • What do you do for fun?
  • What’s something you’re really into right now?
  • What did you want to be when you grew up?
  • What’s your favorite profession?
  • What’s on your mind?
  • How do you spend your days?
  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned at this event?

I have used all these questions with great success. It allows me to have a meaningful discussion with people that I first met.

The question ‘what do you do’ is a harsh and judgmental question. It gives the impression that you are judging people based on their job.

I always avoid using ‘what do you do?’

When Is Appropriate to Use ‘What Do You Do?’

This question is such a conversation killer that it should only be used when you don’t want to talk to someone, or you are pressed for time.

Here’s how the conversation normally goes:

Me: HI, what do you do?

Strangers: I am an Affiliate Marketer

Me: OK, nice to meet you.

Can you see how quick this conversation end? It tells you nothing about the person you are talking to.

‘What do you do?’ is not an appropriate question to use in any situation.

People don’t like to answer this question for fear of being negatively labeling or misjudge.

This is what I mean.

Answer: I’m a car salesman.

People Think: You are a pushy, talkative, or tricky.

Answer: I’m a technician.

People Think: You are not smart, low pay, or poor.

Answer: I’m an accountant.

People Think: You are a numbers geek or a loser.

I don’t know why you want to use this boring question when you can at least use these, what do you do for a living? Or what do you do for work?

‘What Do You Do’ Is Not A Good Way to Build Brand

A few online experts suggest taking the opportunity of answering what do you do to promote your brand.

I don’t know what they are thinking, but this will not work to your advantage.

When someone asks what you do, they are not asking about your brand, your products, or your services.

Nobody will listen to you taking 15 minutes answering a simple question, ‘What do you do?’ I wouldn’t!

What if you are not a business owner? What brand can you build with this question?

This is not good advice.

I have never waited for someone to ask me ‘what I do?’ to introduce my business.

The most effective way to build your brand is sharing with people that are interested in your business. Not with a stranger asking you ‘What do you do?’

Here’s a better question to promote your brand:

Are you interested in knowing what a Blogger Does? Or How much money I make from blogging?

Then you can read my Online Business Report to find out.

If you are just wanting to know if it’s ever appropriate to use the question ‘What Do You Do?’ The answer is NO, not for me!

Are you agree or disagree?

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