Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch — How to Make the Answer to “What Do You Do?” More Memorable

Regardless of your employment status, you always want to have your elevator pitch ready to go. It is a short statement of what you would say to someone about yourself during a 5 minute cursory conversation.

“So, tell me, what do you do?”

Truth be told, many lawyers hate answering this question. So often, the responses are predictable and boring. Unfortunately, usually uninspiring answers leave listeners feeling, well, uninspired. Poor answers can also have the catastrophic potential to turn a networking situation into one giant yawn showdown.

Reframe the question

One of the best ways to give a clear, energetic response to the dreaded “What do you do?” question is to reframe the query in your head. Instead, answer the question, “What is it you love most about your work?”

Sit and ask yourself this question right now. Chances are your thoughts become positive, animated, and enthusiastic as you think about the answer. Your energy level lifts. Your response is unique to only you – and no one else.

By reframing your elevator speech, you become:

          *     More memorable to your listener.

          *     An immediate standout from others who are in the same line of work.

          *     More engaged with your listener, who will most likely be drawn into the conversation on a deeper level.

Clear, Focused Answers

Think about what you do best and WHY you do it best. The more narrow, focused, and passionate your answer the more likely your listener will connect with your passion – and follow up with more questions.

There is no magic to your answer; no formula either. Just be yourself and, if you can swing it, add a little humor. For example, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy lawyer may refer to him or herself as a “corporate undertaker.” The answer must resonate from within yourself and be received memorably by your listeners.

Remember, enthusiasm cannot be faked. Dig deep to discover why perfecting your elevator pitch is really not so painful at all.


Jacqueline Hill, Esq.

This post was written by .

Jacqueline Hill is a partner at Lexacount Search, where she places top senior-level and other legal talent with law firms and corporate legal departments across the United States. She has been writing about careers, lawyers, attorney professional development, and the legal industry for more than a decade. She can be reached at or 215-740-0104, extension 101.

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