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How to Talk About Yourself: 6 Tips to Create Engaging and Meaningful Conversations
Whether you’re interviewing or networking, talking about yourself can stress just about anyone out. How much is too much? How personal should you get? Isn’t it impolite to drone on and on about yourself? Who really cares??
These tricky questions can stop you in your tracks, make you doubt and question everything you were about to say, and bring your conversation to a screeching halt. So how do you deal with them? Here are 6 tips to help you talk about yourself in an engaging and meaningful way:
1. Believe in Your Value
This comes much more easily for some than others, but at the end of the day, it is 100% essential for success here. Your story is worth sharing. You bring unique experiences to the table and you solve problems. If you are struggling to believe in your value, make sure you’ve taken the time to really determine what your value is. Once you truly understand how you positively impact others, it’s easier to see the value in your own story.
2. Stay On Topic
One common problem people have when talking about themselves is staying on topic. It can be such a broad topic – and let’s be real, everything that’s ever happened to you is related to every other thing that’s ever happened to you…because, well, it’s you – that people find themselves segueing from story to story, leaving relevant information out completely. That means: don’t get distracted talking about the cute dog you saw hiking in the Alps during your study abroad. Talk about the unique experiences you had overseas that play into your professional experience.
3. Make it Relatable
One of the best ways to ensure your “All About Me” is engaging for your audience is to make sure it is relatable. By knowing your audience and the context for your conversation, you can carefully choose your stories based on what the listener will be most interested in. If you are in an interview, you will want to tell your story from the perspective of how you will impact their organization. For example, I’ve recently picked up mountain biking as a family hobby, but I’ll probably leave that out of my introduction if I’m interviewing for a job as a Resume Writer.
4. Be Unique
All Project Managers manage projects. All Programmers write code. Talk about something that makes you uniquely qualified for the role. What are you bringing to the table that others aren’t? Were you a musician in a former life and interviewing for a marketing position with a symphony? Is this a sales role with a large customer base in Asia and you spent 3 years living in Beijing?
5. Own It
Don’t be shy about your accomplishments. No one else is going to sing your praises, so it’s up to you to do so. That doesn’t mean you have to be arrogant or obnoxious. Present the facts, quantifiable if possible. You aren’t bragging. You are sharing relevant information about how you will help solve their problems.
6. Make it a Conversation
This is possibly the most important tip and it’s one of the easiest to implement. All you have to do is pay attention to the other person! Watch for non-verbal cues about interest (or lack-there-of), elaborate or move on as appropriate. Ask them questions. Allow them to ask you questions! Make it a two-way conversation and ensure that they are engaged in what you are saying!