10 ways you should never describe yourself

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10 ways you should never describe yourself

  1. 1. Personal Branding Ref: 008910 Ways You Should Never Describe YourselfBy Jeff Haden | June 11, 2012When other people use these words to describe your talents, its OK. When you do it,you just sound like a pompous jerk.Picture this: You meet someone new. "What do you do?" he asks."Im an architect," you say."Oh, really?" he answers. "Have you designed any buildings Ive seen?""Maybe," you reply. "We did the new library at the university...""Oh wow," he says. "Ive seen it. Thats a beautiful building..."And youre off. Maybe hes a potential client, maybe not... but either way youvemade a great impression.You sound awesome. For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012 Page 1 of 4
  2. 2. Personal Branding Ref: 0089Now picture this: You meet someone new. "What do you do?" he asks."Im a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of architectural services who uses acollaborative approach to create and deliver outstanding customer experiences."And hes off, never to be seen again... because you sound like a pompous ass.Do you--whether on your website, or more likely on social media accounts--describeyourself differently than you do in person?Do you use hacky clichés and overblown superlatives and breathless adjectives?Do you write things about yourself you would never have the nerve to actually say?If so, its time for a change.Here are some words that are great when used by other people to describe you, butyou should never use to describe yourself:"Motivated."Check out Chris Rocks response (not safe for work or the politically correct) topeople who say they take care of their kids. Then substitute the word "motivated."Never take credit for things you are supposed to do--or be."Authority."If you have to say youre an authority, you arent. Show your expertise instead."Presenter at SXSW" or "Delivered TED Talk at Long Beach 2010" indicates a levelof authority. Unless you can prove it, "social media marketing authority" just meansyou spend a ton of time on Twitter."Global provider."The vast majority of businesses can sell goods or services worldwide; the ones thatcant--like restaurants--are obvious. (See?) Only use "global provider" if thatcapability is not assumed or obvious; otherwise you just sound like a really smallcompany trying to appear really big. For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012 Page 2 of 4
  3. 3. Personal Branding Ref: 0089"Innovative."Most companies claim to be innovative. Most people claim to be innovative. Most arenot. (Im not.) Thats okay, because innovation isnt a requirement for success.If you are innovative, dont say it. Prove it. Describe the products youve developed.Describe the processes youve modified. Give us something real so your innovationis unspoken but evident... which is always the best kind of evident to be."Creative."See particular words often enough and they no longer make an impact. "Creative" isone of them. (Go to LinkedIn and check out some profiles; "creative" will appear inthe majority.)"Creative" is just one example. Others include extensive, effective, proven, dynamic,influential, team player, collaborative... some of those terms truly may describe you,but since theyre also being used to describe everyone else theyve lost their impact."Curator."Museums have curators. Libraries have curators. Tweeting links to stuff you findinteresting doesnt make you a curator... or an authority or a guru."Passionate."Say youre incredibly passionate about incorporating an elegant design aesthetic ineveryday objects and--to me at least--you sound a little scary. Same if yourepassionate about developing long-term customer solutions. Try focus, concentration,or specialization instead. Save the passion for your loved one."Unique."Fingerprints are unique. Snowflakes are unique. You are unique--but your businessprobably isnt. Dont pretend to be, because customers dont care about unique; theycare about "better." Show how youre better than the competition and in the minds ofcustomers you will be unique. For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012 Page 3 of 4
  4. 4. Personal Branding Ref: 0089"Guru."People who try to be clever for the sake of being clever are anything but. Dont be aself-proclaimed ninja, sage, connoisseur, guerilla, wonk, egghead... its awesomewhen your customers affectionately describe you in that way, but when you do it itsapparent youre trying way too hard."Incredibly..."Check out some random bios and youll find plenty of further-modified descriptors:"Incredibly passionate," "profoundly insightful," "extremely captivating..." isnt itenough to be insightful or captivating? Do you have to be incredibly passionate?If you must use over-the-top adjectives to describe yourself, at least spare us thefurther modification. Trust us; we already get it. For further information on this handout and the consulting and coaching programs available please contact: Image Group International Asia Pacific Head Office T: (+61 3) 9824 0420 E: info@imagegroup.com.au www.imagegroup.com.au ©2012 Page 4 of 4

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