Introduce Yourself With A Story

This question has come up a lot lately. “How do I tell people about myself in a way that’s more than just a list of career milestones?” Leaders want to get to know other people in a way that provides a more factual introduction to the person. Who is this person, Yes, really? How will they work together? Would it be worth having coffee with them and learning more?

If you want to move away from the key dates on your resume and write an introduction that’s more memorable and people-centric, keep these five principles in mind.

#1 Share something personal, not private

Share a story that is personal but not private. They want to be memorable, but in a good way. Don’t share too much. Picking a personal habit or trend is a great way to stand out from the crowd. How many job interviews have started with these words: “I’m interested in…”

I’m passionate too, but instead of mentioning this quality on my LinkedIn profile, I describe it like this: “I start my Monday with a 1,000 meter swim and a raw jalapeño. Dipping into each work week, the energy and drive fuels the thinking and creativity needed to serve my clients…” This story is personal, unique, even a little whimsical, but not private.

#2 Stepping stone into a topic

Use your personal story to start something bigger. By sharing a unique, personal story, you not only highlight your personality, humanity and belonging, you can also use the story as a springboard to share a quality about yourself or a topic from your career, without a bunch of dates and list testimonials.

So if you’re talking about a habit or trend, provide an analysis. In my example above, jalapeño and swimming on Monday morning shows the energy I bring to client engagements. My publisher and marketing professor Jeff James shares on his LinkedIn profile that he has a tendency to be an “instigator,” which in the marketing world means he’s a “builder of new initiatives.”

#3 Remember that everything is forgetful

Even if you don’t remember the name of your third grade teacher, you might remember how he made you feel as a student. Perhaps you remember the joy of receiving a gold star in an exam or the embarrassment of getting into trouble during the break. Poet Maya Angelou wisely put this phenomenon into words: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ”

These words of wisdom certainly apply to a LinkedIn profile as well. That’s why there’s a work history section on LinkedIn. It’s a portable resume that you can brush up on when you meet a colleague for coffee. The “About Us” section doesn’t need to rehash your career history, job titles, or credentials.

What will remain after scanning your LinkedIn page is the emotion we brought and inspired into it. So think about it as you wish your LinkedIn readers feeling after they read your bio. Perhaps you want to share your passion or enthusiasm, or demonstrate your dedication or discipline.

I heard at Renaissance Weekend 2019 in Jackson Hole, Wyoming New York Times journalist David Gelles Describe excellent writing to a group of children. It boils down to three Ws. Wow. Wee. courting.

Wow your audience; inspire them.

Let your reader say: “Wee;” inspire them.

let her feel courtingEd, in awe.

Stand out in the short space of the About Us section with a story that showcases your personality and takes them on a journey that conveys emotion.

#4 Avoid stereotypes

Cliché is a death knell. People switch off when they hear or read something so familiar that they can finish the sentence themselves. Every industry has its own stereotypes. Write down a list of clichés specific to your industry. Check out the About Us section of people in your industry and see what words or phrases keep repeating themselves. You might find a glut of “results-oriented”; or “Passionate about healthcare.” Whatever you find, take the time to write it down so you know you can avoid it.

Remember that clichés were once helpful phrases; once they helped people describe a feeling. Feature or event, but since the phrase has been repeated over and over again, it loses power and meaning. It no longer conjures up an image or emotion in the reader’s mind. If you find that people in your industry keep using the “I’m a team player” cliche, it can be an important trait to show that you’re successful at working in teams, but simply without using that phrase.

Regardless of whether your main goal is to expand your network or your next job, you should use keywords on LinkedIn. However, relying on stereotypes can be counterproductive.

#5 Figure out a goal

Who do you want to meet on LinkedIn? What do you want to learn? If you are a job seeker, your goal may be to get hired. But before hiring anyone, there are 10 minor steps to take. Focus on the next action you want this person you are dating. Would you like them to invite you for an interview? Do you have a recommendation? Follow with more information? Soccer players know which way to run because they know where the end zone is. Focusing on what you want from your introduction will help you shape it. Be realistic and direct.

One way to reach out to people you don’t have a direct connection with is to ask that person great questions. Scott Mordell, YPO’s friend and longest-serving CEO, often says, “Wherever you go, have two questions in your pocket that you’re willing to ask.” Big questions ask the other person feeling well, and by asking questions, you invite the person you meet to share their stories. To be a storyteller you have to be a story collector.

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