When you have an interview, you know the request is coming in some form or another. Usually right out of the gate. “Tell me about yourself.” “Walk me through your resume.” “Tell me about your background.” When you have an interview, you typically have plenty of time to think about, prepare, and practice your answer. We often work with clients to help them craft the perfect two-minute pitch.
But, what about all the other times that you “tell [someone] about yourself?” At a networking event, a reunion, a cocktail party, your kid’s soccer game? The request is rarely so formal, and although your response will be a whole lot shorter, it is arguably equally important. After all, it is often your network that refers you to the best jobs. Do the people that know you get what you are about? Do they know what you do? Will you come to mind when someone else in their network mentions they are looking for someone to fill your dream job?
So, what do you do?
Did you pause? Have to think about it? Is your response more than one sentence? Would the question-asker be bored or confused by your response?
Remember to always keep your response brief and in layman’s terms. If your listener doesn’t understand you, or if they are bored, they won’t ask questions. You want your listener to ask you questions – that means they are engaged and more likely to remember your message. For more tips and ideas, check out this pithy article that gives some great templates for a perfectly simple answer to this perfectly simple question.