In this article, we’ll learn how you can talk about yourself gracefully—without showing off.
Let’s dive in!
Share A Story About Your Traits
Make a list of your proudest traits. These are the traits that you want to talk about because you want people to know about them. For example, if an interviewer asks a question about describing your best traits, you might answer:
- Strategic thinker
However, just saying you’re this or that can sound like bragging—AND it makes it harder to believe. What you can do instead is share a story about each of the traits.
You might say something like:
“Well, in my last job, I was in charge of this really big project and it was really important that I was detail-oriented because there were all these different phases. I took charge of leading the new team, it went really well, and the project was hugely successful.”
In that way, you’re sharing a story that’s exemplifying that trait while also using that word in the story. It’s a win-win!
It also feels so much more organic and helps the other person visualize your traits. Remember, we’re hardwired to love stories, so use this method to your advantage.
It’s much easier for someone to believe you if they can literally visualize you in a great situation doing great things.
Practice Your Stories Out Loud
What you may find when you’re telling your stories is that you may feel embarrassed or ashamed.
This is normal! It’s hard to talk about ourselves. The key to overcoming the embarrassment is to practice sharing those stories out loud.
Pretend that you and I (or a friend) are sitting down for some coffee and you have to tell me the stories related to your traits. How would you tell me?
Practicing your storytelling out loud smooths out the kinks.
Pro Tip: Ready to take this into the real world? Grab your real best friend or someone you trust and try telling them these stories!
Fill Your Narratives With Complete Story Elements
Here’s another way to flesh out your story. Imagine the 3 critical elements of a really good story:
- Problem. In any great story, an obstacle must be identified. It can be a problem either you face or someone else faces.
- Hard work. Next, how did you work super hard and super smart to solve it?
- Solution. What was the end result or measurable outcome?
Say What Others Have Said About You
If you don’t want to talk about your positive traits yourself, have others do it for you/
For example, if you’re talking on a stage, you can prepare a little bio that you can send ahead and either someone else reads that for you on stage or you can even read the bio yourself.
You can also use testimonials or quotes from people you care about.
Let’s go back to the job interview example and talk about how you’re detail-oriented. You can either tell them your carefully planned story, or you can tell them, “I love my last job. My boss always said to me that I was the most detail-oriented employee he ever had.”
See how both can be more impactful than simply saying, “I’m detail-oriented”?
Referencing someone else’s comments about you is also more believable because the other person could always call that reference and check. So, if your boss or any of your references have said glowing things about you in your recommendation letters or in the past, you can recall that as a story, too.
You can say something like:
“Oh, you know, my colleagues want to give me really big, messy projects because I love organization, and I would just spend hours soaring and organizing. I was the organizer of the office.”
Over to you! Now’s your chance to develop your own way of showcasing yourself—without the bragging. Next up, let’s add a bit of humor to spice up your story: How to Be Funny: 7 Easy Steps to Improve Your Humor