In the world of small business, networking is everything.  Whether you’re at a business conference or a football game, you should always be prepared to meet that next great business partner.  This means you should be presentable, on your “best behavior,” and prepared to talk shop whenever you need to (or to respectfully decline in favor of relaxing with family).

The most common icebreaker in networking is the loaded question, “what do you do for a living?”

If you’re stock answer starts with, “I work for …” then you’re in trouble!  I didn’t ask you who you work for, I asked what you do.  If you start a networking conversation without answering even the most basic of questions directly, then our relationship is probably doomed.

So take a minute and think about how you’d answer this question.  What exactly do you do in your job?  How can you describe it in one breath?  Is your elevator speech compelling enough to start a, “wow, that’s really interesting!  Tell me more” conversation?