How to Talk About Yourself
Everyone has to present themselves to other people from time to time, whether we meet someone or go for a job interview. And we might find ourselves in trouble of how to do so appropriately while not sounding too self-promotional.
If the issue above describes a situation you’re about to face, read 5-Minute Crafts’ quick guide on how to talk about yourself without appearing pretentious to others.
1. Engage in a dialog, not a monolog.
Introducing yourself to a new acquaintance may present a challenge more often than not. And many people do it the wrong way because they speak about themselves without allowing others to say a word when they get a chance to speak. Yet, the key to talking about yourself is to engage in a two-way conversation that feels natural.
So, listen to what others are saying and comment when they mention something you’re familiar with or interested in. Speaking of such things is a quick road to introducing yourself in the best possible light.
Note: If you are an interviewee in a job interview, your potential employer will drive the dialog, for the most part. Still, you are likely to get a chance to say something about yourself and ask questions, which you should use to steer the interview to topics you are comfortable talking about.
2. Drive the conversation to topics that interest you.
Listen to what other people say, and you’ll sooner or later get the opening to drive the conversation to things you’re familiar with. To get yourself closer to this goal, don’t hesitate to ask questions when appropriate.
For example, the discussion may be about the Lord of the Rings films. If you watched them and read the books, or know something interesting about their writer J.R.R. Tolkien, say so. Moreover, you’ll be in a position to fill in potential gaps the movies failed to address for the benefit of your peers.
3. Be concise and don’t give away too much at first.
When someone’s meeting you, they want to learn some basic facts about your personality in a concise way. So, avoid broadening a topic from the start unless the other side or a job interviewer wants you to do that. Instead, give away tidbits about yourself and see if you’ll find a common ground as you go on. If you establish a bond with the other person while introducing yourself to each other, you can naturally go into details later on.
4. Be honest
People tend to try to make a good impression by saying something that isn’t true about themselves. It could be claiming a bigger credit about an achievement or making themselves interested in something that doesn’t interest them at all. And that’s the wrong way of talking about yourself.
If you are at a job interview, for example, you might be tempted to claim that you had a bigger part in some success than you actually had. And that could lead to an unpleasant situation in the future since you mislead your superior to think that you possess skills or knowledge you don’t. Furthermore, not being honest with a person you try to be friends with or date is sure to get you into a different kind of trouble at some point since friendships and relationships are supposed to be based on trust and confidence.
So, better be honest from the start and point out some other quality of yours along the way, if needed. And, if that doesn’t work, you’ll always have new opportunities ahead.
5. Use someone else’s perspective when speaking about yourself
While introducing yourself, you may need to say something good about yourself. To avoid feeling uncomfortable and sounding self-promotional, try to use other peoples’ words that describe you well. These could be the words of your friends, colleagues, or other authorities you cooperated with.
For example, instead of “I’m good at marketing” say “My past superiors had a high opinion of my marketing skills,” or something like that. After that, you can elaborate on the topic a bit more.
Note: It’s also important for you to practice talking about yourself to avoid seeming unnatural. To that end, consider asking your friends or relatives to assist you by pretending to be interviewers.