How do you respond when a person says “Tell me about yourself?”
It might be called confidence, it might be called belief – do you let others see the best version of you, or do they see a dull, low-intensity, passionless version of yourself?
Why do we find it difficult to sell ourselves?
I spent the first 3 years of my entrepreneurial career selling insurance over the telephone in the spanish language. I picked up the phone 20 times each day and worked through my script. 3 years of this taught me 2 things: the spanish language, and zero fear of a “No”.
I got to practice hundreds of times how I present myself. I got pretty instant feedback whether my way of presenting myself engaged the other person into a conversation, or got a quick hang up on the telephone. Time and time again I learnt that “Hello, I’m Conor” was not a great start (to somebody who doesn’t know Conor).
At an Entrepreneurs’ Organisation retreat last month, the facilitator asked everybody to introduce themselves following a specific structure:
- What I want you to know about me is _________
- What I expect from these days is _________
- My biggest dream for myself is ________
- My name is ________
It made such a difference to the standard introductions. The standard version that I hear day after day is something along the lines of: “My name is John… from London. I’m glad to be here. I work as a lawyer. Ahh… I guess that’s it… Oh yeah… I am married. We have 2 kids. Yeah, that’s all.”
By the time John has finished, he has managed to bore himself about his own life. He certainly won’t be someone I’d think of asking questions about life, business or his hobbies.
On my online course, Speaking as a Leader, the first big lesson is about how to answer the question “Tell me about yourself?”. (You can sign up for the free course here). You will hear this question hundreds of times. Instead of John’s response, what would be the 100% version of your potential version?
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