Angelique told me about something that happened at her work. She was in a meeting where a new senior hire from the Product Team came to introduce himself to her team.
Everyone in her team introduced in turn introduced themselves back to the new hire. When it got to Angelique, she said that she was a bit nervous, and stumbled a bit, and when she sat down
Lots of career advice I read says that we should all have a short description of ourselves ready to be deployed whenever someone asks about us. It should be
However, what would you actually say about yourself? If you’re anything like me or Angelique, it would be self-deprecating, full of caveats, loaded with the passive voice, and almost apologetic. I think it’s a fallacy that we’re all in need of reining in our
Why do we do it to ourselves? Sell ourselves short? Jordan Peterson talks about our inner critic and how we let it talk to us horrendously. We wouldn’t let anyone talk like our inner critic to somebody that we cared about. Why do we let it talk to us like it does? Why do we listen to it?
Knowing that this internal berating is going on should free us to be more objective about ourselves. Let’s look at two examples of how Angelique could describe herself. Both describe the same thing, but one sounds weaker than the other.
Hi I’m Angelique and I’m a developer here. I’m originally from Wollongong, a city about 2 hours south of Sydney. I’ve been here about 7 years now. Yeah, that’s me. Great to meet you.
Strong version (and still more than true):
Good morning, my name is Angelique. I’m from Sydney, Australia. I was an art director at Fairfax Media, for the AFR (the Australian Financial Review). I transitioned into developing on the Methode CMS platform, and then I was recruited into the FT, to work in the Methode team here. I’ve been here about 7 years now and I’ve learned a great deal, and it’s a great team to be on. I also founded and co-chair the FT Women’s network, which runs monthly events and helps hundreds of women develop their skills in networking and so on. Great to meet
Which one sounds better? The second one right? I don’t think it sounds boastful. It’s all 100% true and factual. There’s not any exaggeration there but it still has hidden points in it that convey strength and value to any listeners.
- For example, Angelique was recruited from
Faixfaxto the FT. This tells people that she was in demand and worth the effort to recruit from the other side of the world.
- She might not be born and bred in Sydney itself, but most people here won’t know where Wollongong
is,and will be thinking about that whilst you’re speaking about something else. She did live and work in Sydney so that’s more than true. Why confuse people otherwise?
- She did
founda women’s group, one that is successful, and so why wouldn’t she put that in her intro.
How would it work for you? What would you normally say about yourself? Are you selling yourself short? How can you make what you say about yourself stronger whilst still staying true to reality?
Write a short paragraph about yourself like the one about for Angelique and memorise for the next time you need to introduce yourself.