“So, tell me about yourself….”
You’ve met someone for the first time. You want to seem interesting. Perhaps you even want to impress them if it’s a first date or networking event.
And you draw a blank. You think “Gosh, I’ve been alive x number of years and can’t think of two sentences to say about myself.” That not only makes you seem dull, you start to question if you are dull.
Being on the spot can make you forget the most obvious things, even your basic identity in this instance.
It’s always handy to have some answers up your sleeve, a synopsis of you. Not only does it get you off to a confident start, it puts some potential conversation topics on the table as your new friend enquires about something you’ve mentioned.
Let’s break it down, who are you?
The one we often mistakenly go to is to start talking about our job. This is because a big chunk of our week is taken up with our occupation. But unless you are really passionate about your job, chances are you don’t want to talk at length about it. And is it really a crucial element of your identity?
Discussing your passions is a good option, it indicates what drives you. “I love horses”. “I’m writing a book.” “I’m really into astronomy.” “I love playing drums for my band.”
One type of passion is a common one, so common it might even seem dull. But I encourage you to share it anyway as it is genuinely a key element of your identity. “I am a father.” “I am a mother.” “I am a loving husband.” “I am a wonderful wife.” It indicates where your heart is. Don’t be shy of this even if it doesn’t spark captivating conversation. If I want to get to know you, it is good for me to know about something so important to you. Some people will love discussing your family though.
Tell me about yourself. Tell me about your hobbies. What do you do for fun? Paint me a picture of your world.
Tell me about the new things going on in your life, the direction you are growing in. “I am learning karate.” “I’ve just joined a group staging a play.” “I’m trying to learn guitar.”
What are you an advocate for? What is the change you want to see in the world? “I am concerned about people-trafficking.” “I provide help for settling refugees.” “I speak-up about domestic violence.”
Ultimately, the best way for people to get to know you is over the long term, in the conversations where your stories come out, the discussions where your personality is unveiled.
Awkward Silence gets you talking. Use our conversation starters, and you’ll naturally tell people about yourself.
But before those times come, keep some answers up your sleeve for when you are introducing yourself.
Below are some suggestions:
(I was asked recently to say five things about myself. Here is what I answered. You can try something similar, changing the relevant details to reflect who you are.)
“Hi. My name is Steven Benbow. My name backwards is Wobneb Nevets.” (A quirky comment like this often switches people’s brains on, and can get a laugh.)
“My speciality on a quiz team is Australian Prime Ministers & music from the early 90s.” (Revealing my interests is already opening points of conversation. The other party can ask what attracts me to those topics, my current thoughts on Australian politics, whether I like a band they like from the early 90s, etc.)
“I just got back from a trip to Israel.” (This is something recent about me that people can enquire about. Most people love travel, so this is a go-to topic to not only compare experiences but find out how that person’s travel habits are a reflection on their personality.)
“I invented a game called Jukebox Soccer.” (You already know the obvious response to this one – “What’s Jukebox Soccer?”. Conversation started, and you are finding out about me.)
“I run a business called Awkward Silence which is passionate about bringing back the art of conversation.” (Discussing my current life-goals. This opens up a conversation on an area I can give intelligent response to, and hear from others what they think about it.)
An introduction is not a life story. It’s just the start of getting to know you.
Tell me about yourself. Let’s Talk.