Back when I lived in Seattle, a speaker opened his talk with, “I’m sure you’d rather be outside on this beautiful day when we’re not having rain for a change.” Suddenly everyone’s focus shifted from the speaker (who was pretty good, by the way) to a rare view of Mount Rainier.
That speaker just lowered his own brand image in the eyes of 100+ people attending the event. He basically said, “I’m the default option. The place you go when you don’t have a choice. You’re dining at a fast food chain because you don’t have access to a 5-star restaurant.”
If you attend business events, you probably know this one-sentence opening isn’t unusual. Even established, high-profile business people are reluctant to promote their personal brand. They’ve been brought up with sayings like:
“The nail that stands out gets hammered down.”
“If you’re really good at what you do, the world will find you.”
“Humility is a virtue.”
These ideas make sense in a purely social or personal setting. If you’re joining your family for Thanksgiving this week, you probably won’t walk in and tell a story about how you implemented an action plan to get your kid into Harvard on Early Decision. You won’t share the story of how you created a 5-step program to help your rescue mutt stop chewing up the sofa after three obedience schools gave up and handed you a dog biscuit as a consolation prize. You won’t talk about your successes; you’ll be modest and humble as you compliment Aunt Jane on her pumpkin pie.
In a professional setting, when you don’t share your success, your audience will feel awkward and even alienated. They will actually will be insulted when you suggest they should be spending their time elsewhere. You’re suggesting that, by choosing to be here, they’re exercising very poor judgment. Or you remind them, “You didn’t have a choice. You’re stuck.”
The truth is, when you’re selling yourself, your marketing success depends on your ability to brag — without sounding like a used car salesman. The best way to do this is to find your unique stories and share them in all the right places.
If you’re a productivity pro, you probably have a story about helping a client find an extra five hours a week without sacrificing her goals. If you’re a dog trainer, you’ll have people on the edge of their seats when you share how you replaced your chewed-up couch with a beautiful new one — and it’s still looking good five years later.
A life coach? Share how you helped a client conquer fear of heights and go on to climb Mount Rainier. You could even share how you climbed a small hill, if you can make that story fit your purpose.
Exercise: Expand your opening into a purposeful story. When you try to make a story out of, “You’d probably rather be somewhere else,” you’ll most likely realize there’s no story here. And if you find one, why on earth would you want to share it?
One comment I hear often is, “It’s SO hard to talk about myself!” So I created this short report — along with 3 videos — with a step-by-step introduction to change the way you hear the word “bragging.” Click here to claim yours now… and take the first step to claiming your bragging rights without giving in to hype, sleaze and unprofessional copywriting.
And claim your FREE download — 7 Common Storytelling Mistakes Most Business Owners Make (And How To Fix Them).