"You’ll never talk your way out of that one!"
I’m not sure where that phrase originated, but in your career, actually you usually can talk your way out of it. “It” being the career situation you find yourself stuck in that you want to change.
Almost everyone I work with has a fear of selling themselves. Even, and perhaps especially, sales people.
It often relates back to the beliefs we picked up when we were young such as “don’t blow your own trumpet”, “it’s bad to show off about yourself”.
Beliefs that we never stop to question.
It would be a really useful exercise to do, or perhaps explore with your coach/career coach, to hold up your beliefs and ask whether they are:
b) Serving you positively at this point in your life
That’s a whole topic in itself and perhaps one for another time.
For now, lets debunk the myth that it’s bad to say how good you are:
There are so many reasons why you, your career and the people around you will benefit from you learning to say how good you are, and yet society still tells us it’s bad.
So, what if I was to tell you that there is an easy way to learn how to do that; confidently, competently and, most importantly, comfortably.
A number of years ago I created a model called the W-H-O Model which helps you to understand who you are in terms of your contributions, what you want, your beliefs, values and ultimately, your mission and purpose in life.
In terms of talking about yourself, it’s similar to the STAR model or framework which you may have come across. It is commonly used in interview preparation.
These models give you a framework to talk about yourself by telling stories about things you’ve done in a way that gets across:
A) What you did
The headline information about what you were doing (this is described as the Situation / Task of the STAR model)
B) How you did it
The detailed story of a specific time when you did the task (actions from STAR)
The benefits of what you did. Not just that you did what you said you would do, but who it benefitted and how.
This is a framework that will help you in all the five situations I mentioned above and, I’ve no doubt, many more.
Clients tell me regularly that this exercise increases their sense of confidence and self-esteem no end when you find that you can actually talk comfortably about how good you are and the difference you make.
That is to answer the question:
“Tell me about yourself”
It’s most commonly asked at interviews, but will be useful in conversations with your network, with recruiters, and with clients.
How do you approach this question?
Do you simply give a list of dates and job titles?
OR do you tell a story that highlights your skills and qualities and achievements relevant to the conversation you are having, and that also gets across who you are as a person and what you are enthusiastic about?
It’s quiet an art, but with a bit of practice you’ll find yourself really engaging the people you are talking with, getting their attention and starting to build rapport.
All very important and beneficial, especially as it’s the sort of question you’re likely to get early on in a conversation.
What are your current challenges around this topic?
Is this something you once struggled with but overcame? If yes, how?
What difference would it make to you career if you could learn this skill?
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