What do you think?

My name is Jeremy Kay and I’m an author?

Who are you and what do you do?

How often in your life do you get asked that? If, like me, in your daily life you make money off your own wits, you probably get asked that quite a lot. Usually it’s put in a slightly different way, for example “Hi I’m Jess / Mike. Good to meet you. What do you do?”

If you were an alien or someone not yet accustomed to the quaint customs of Business Class, you might say something like,

“Well, er, I swim quite a lot. On Thursdays I go to my yoga class. Wednesdays and Fridays is my turn to pick the kids up. I watch quite a lot of nature documentaries.  And I’ve got a guitar that I rarely play but I used to be in a band so like to keep my hand in.”

I’m no different, really

Have to confess, I’ve asked that question quite a lot myself. I scan my victim’s face thinking, “I bet you’re a Life Coach. No, you’ve got a beard. Must be a Digital Marketer. Hold up, no, that’s not quite right. CBD oil sales rep?”

Be honest. We’ve all done that, right?

When I consider it a little more and I’m feeling more self-critical I’ve asked that question because of

  1.  a lack of self-belief
  2.  no small amount of laziness and
  3.  a fear of seeming clever-arse for not conforming to what is, after all, the smallest of talk.

Fact is, I’m far more fascinated in people than that. I’m interested in everything you do. From the elderly people you care for but never tell people about to that song you’ve just written or why your 5 year old can’t stop swearing in public. About your views on the European Union. Or your guilty pleasures, like watching Sex Education when the kids have gone to bed and you should have been in yours hours ago.

So what’s that got to do with what I do?

Well, I’m thinking that “what you do” is more revealing and profound a question than I thought. It’s not just a glib and blasé way of getting through an inconvenient conversation.

Take what I do / have done for example.

My long and winding career has always involved passing on information to people.

  1. Helping clients understand software – when I was in Training & Support in my first ever proper job
  2. Facilitating the wildest dreams of creative agencies – when I co-ran a digital development business
  3. Providing clients with email marketing tracking data so they could develop robust customer relationships – when I devised and co-developed one of the first email marketing systems back in the early 2000s
  4. Training business people to tell their story in the most memorable way, online – one of the things I do now
  5. Passing on my own stories. I wrote one and published it, last year

And it’s not just the simple act of passing it on, either. I’ve come to realise something that was perhaps instinctive earlier on in my career. That people have to actually want to have something passed on to them to learn anything. And that part of the work of delivering the training, the data, the stories is the essential emotional transfer of empathy, humour and warmth. Of positive personality. So that it makes it easier for those receiving to understand how important that information is to them, whether it’s for the good of their business or them personally. Or both.

What I do and, more importantly, what you do, most likely has a special resonance, a back story and a consistency that no one else has. And it’s worth wrapping it up in some beautiful gift paper and showing it to the world so that people can understand its wonder and benefits.

Your essential pitch

So who am I and what do I do? I’m still Jez Kay and I’m still an author. I tell stories. Using all manner of media. From the written word, to original music, creative video and podcasts. For my clients, mostly. And I empower them to do the same, completely on their own. Or with a little help from their friends.

And who are you? And what do you do?

It’s really good to meet you.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

Thanks to The Projects for use of their beautiful sitting room.