If 'markets are conversations' (Cluetrain.org), then marketers must maintain conversational skills of the highest quality. I've been meeting many new people lately, and I try to stay away from the opening line 'what do you do?' but maybe it's not so bad. As Penelope Trunk points out, "Remember that people are asking to be kind. They are trying to creat a connection so that you can talk to each other about things that matter to both of you." While I probably will not use it, I now know how to make use of the question...
Penelope Trunk: How to answer the question, What do you do? 2011-Jan-17
...the best answer to the question “What do you do?” is “Here’s what I’m passionately learning right now.”
If I had answered in a way that focused on my worries about not knowing where my career was going, then there would have been nothing to talk about. But when I answered in a way that revealed my excitement about the house and everything I was learning, then there was a lot to talk about.
I tell you this to show that everyone has trouble answering the question at some points in their life, but the more comfortable we are being lost, the faster we can get unlost, and this is a good example of why—you can tell yourself better stories about yourself.