Descriptions of jobs, professions, roles, used to be simple: graphics designer, lawyer, head of sales. In a dinner party conversation, you could usually explain in 2 words how you spend your days in the office.

Not anymore.

Our roles and jobs are fragmenting. Labels are inflated or overused (everyone is a consultant, a founder, etc.). Even companies might have difficulty describing who they are. Are we private equity or venture capital? Are we in the business of consulting or marketing services?

I had the problem myself after leaving McKinsey. It was hard to describe what I actually did. Strategy consulting? Not really. Design? Not really? Business development? Not really. Manage a fund raising roadshow? Not really.

In the end, I stopped trying to fit myself into a specific box. Rather than trying to define what I do by comparing it to known labels (explaining the things I do not do), I actually pitched what I do by well, explaining what I do. My opening is usually "I am a presentation designer, but a slightly unusual one". Then comes a more elaborate explanation.

I think that model works well in almost all pitches, give a people a very rough idea of the box they should put you in, which makes them open to understand what you are all about in more detail.

Art: The Open Door, Peter Ilsted, 1920.

If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.