3.20.2017

How to Talk About Yourself

How to talk about yourself without turning everyone else off

If you want to make a sale, you’re going to have to spend some time talking about yourself. For some people, talking about themselves is easy. For others, it feels next to impossible. But explaining what you do and how you can help to someone you just met isn’t supposed to be simple. And even if it feels natural to you, that doesn’t mean you’re doing it well.

So you’re talking with a potential client. You’ve gotten to know a little about them and their business. You’re getting a feel for what their problem is. Now it’s time to talk about you. What do you say?

The three ways people go wrong when talking about themselves

I’ve seen a lot of conversations go terribly wrong when people start talking about themselves. Over time, I’ve noticed three major trouble spots that people fall into:

  1. Spending Too Much Time Talking About Yourself: You get nervous or self-conscious (or maybe just oblivious) and spend way too much time talking about yourself and your business. The person you’re talking to becomes overwhelmed, confused, or just bored.
  2. Being Muddled or Confusing About What You Offer: A side effect of talking too much. You end up rambling and fail to be specific about what you actually can (and can’t) offer your prospective client.
  3. Failing to Show Personality or Passion: In other words, you’re just kind of dull. You fail to show any excitement or interest in what you’re doing. The person you’re talking to feels passionate about what they’re doing, but you’re unable to meet them on that level.

Do you see yourself in any of those categories? I know I’ve fallen into one or two of them before. Here’s what I’ve done (and what I’ve watched others do) to stay on track.

The three antidotes to overwhelming, confusing, or boring the people you’re talking to

1. Focus on the Problem: If you tend to spend too much time talking about yourself, you’re probably not really focusing on the other person or their problem. Knowing how to determine whether or not you can solve someone’s problem will naturally direct and constrain what you say about yourself. I talk much more about this in my “How to Get to the Heart of the Problem” blog.

2. Keep it Snappy: The fewer words you use, the clearer you’ll need to be to get your point across. Practice explaining what you do in just a couple sentences. For example, here’s something I might say:

I’m an Emmy award winning director and designer. We work with Fortune 500 companies and Madison Avenue agencies, but we’re also expanding our business to work with clients just like you.

I established myself quickly and concisely. Within two sentences you know my credentials, what I do, who I work with, and that I may be able to solve your problem. No rambling, nothing confusing; just quick, clear, and concise.

3. Show Your Passion: Show that you love what you do! Show a point of view, your agency’s culture, or a personality. Let the other person know who you are – as a person and as a business. There’s no need to go over the top, but you want to show that you’re excited about your work and – by extension – would be excited about what they do, too.

It's not always easy

But with practice you absolutely can perfect how you talk about yourself on your way to asking for the sale.

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