“Now, What Do You Do?”: Tricks for Explaining Your Work to Family and Friends This Holiday Season

“Now, What Do You Do?”: Tricks for Explaining Your Work to Family and Friends This Holiday Season

The holiday season is well underway, and if you’ve recently started a new job, work in a technical industry or both, your poker face needs to be on-point as you prepare to face family and friends. You need to anticipate the question and have the boilerplate in your back pocket, then brace for the follow-up. It’s a question that will be volleyed across many Thanksgiving tables this year: “Now, what exactly do you do?”

The #CompassSquad has received this question many, many times, so we can fortunately whip up an answer before you can say, “you know, like ADT.” Here are a few tricks if you’re in the tech world and need to be ready to describe your job in 10 seconds or less this holiday season.

Know how to simply explain what you do.
Being involved in the security or technology industries can often mean you wear a lot of hats, and this can become confusing to explain in layman’s terms. This is especially true when it comes to working for an agency that assists clients with a little bit of everything.

For the Compass squad, it seems pretty easy to us to explain who we are and what we do: We’re a communications firm that expertly handles social media, content development and media outreach — among many other projects — for clients in technical industries. To break it down a little further, what we do best is devising long term marketing plans that are custom fit to a company and more than adequately describe their technologies. We use this content to both educate industry professionals and position the companies we work with as thought leaders. But as simple as this appears to us, it’s important to balance your in-depth understanding of a role or industry with that of the average person.

However, the security and technology sectors that we work with are extremely multi-faceted, but this is true for other industries as well. For companies that are very technical in nature, or wide-spread enterprises that cover myriad elements, employees might want to take some extra time to write down exactly what it is that their company does. It’s even better if you can break it down into low- medium- and high-level responses.

Remember that it’s all relative.
The career gauntlet of the holidays can be made easier by breaking down the nitty-gritty into an explanation that everyone can understand. The sometimes daunting and intricate concepts of “artificial intelligence,” “machine learning” and the ever-present “Internet of Things (IoT)” are so much simpler when told through stories.

Sure, we could certainly talk about the specifications of various IoT devices and the communication paths or various potential trajectories for future devices. But the story of how and why these technologies make an impact is what we at Compass love to hone in on. It’s better to tell the story of how IoT devices solve problems — to ask how many times our in-laws wish they could know what they had in the fridge while shopping — and tell them about how it’s possible. It’s all about relating large concepts to ubiquitous experiences.

Cater to your Thanksgiving audience.
This fits right in with a tenet of our marketing strategy: suiting the range of audiences. Why communications experts like the Compass team are so important is the fine-tuned approach of balancing what to say, how to say it and, most importantly, where and when to say it.

For example, if our friends that are our age or in a similar industry ask about our jobs, they will get a different answer than our grandparents. If it’s two minutes after the start of Thanksgiving dinner, with too many people trying to talk at once, our explanation of what we do will be considerably shorter than if we were asked over quiet cups of coffee.

Spending time with friends and family is what the holidays are all about, and we’re grateful for the time to be able to discuss our careers, achievements and goals. But everyone in the technology industry knows that this isn’t always easy to do, so we hope our tips can help simplify the process.

The whole #CompassSquad wishes you a very happy Thanksgiving and a stress-free start to the holiday season!

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