Say Nice Things About Yourself.
In an earlier post about effective communications, I discussed the importance of positive direction. Only tell people what you want them to do.
People remember what you tell them. When speaking about yourself, if you can not say anything nice, it is probably better to say nothing at all.
The most common example of keeping comments about yourself positive is the advice on handling the interview question regarding your greatest weakness. The conventional advice is to give a positive that you may need to reign in a bit. For example, when someone says that is your greatest weakness, you might say you can get a little impatient with people who are giving less than 100 percent of their effort. Then you can go on to say that you have learned to use that trait as a management tool to provide direction to under performers.
Also, begin to see yourself as a person who is interested in continually extending your skills and knowledge. Keep a self-improvement program in progress and discuss this program with people who share your interests.
When I worked at Procter & Gamble, I joined a local Toastmasters group that met for breakfast once a week. Each week a couple of the members would speak.
I signed up for the Toastmasters meetings just out of curiosity, but the fact that I was participating in a self-improvement program got a lot of play within Procter & Gamble.
Some of the things that I have more read recently include the following, more challenging books and manuals.
- James Joyce: Ulysses
- Homer: The Odyssey
- Edward Gibbon: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
- Alan Roth: The Rise and Fall of the Ottoman Empire
- Lisa Sabin-Wilson, et al: WordPress 8 Books in 1
- Thomas Cahill: How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe
- Steven M. Schafer: HTML, XHTML, and CSS
- William Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August (1932), Absalom, Absalom!, The Hamlet, The Town, The Mansion, and others
During a period when I spent a lot of time on an exercise bike, I found that audio tapes were great for learning new ideas and concepts. I completed following audio series and others:
- Forty-eight-hour diplomatic series for French studies
- Zig Ziglar: See You at the Top and Secrets of Closing the Sale
- Tony Robbins series Personal Power
Podcasts are easy to find and many are free. NPR has a nice library of podcasts including The Ted Hour. There are countless other podcasts. I have also found do it yourself training very helpful.
There is new group of writers I follow. The philosophy of these writers is that less is more through nutrition and better life choices: Mark Sisson, Leo Babauta, Tim Ferris, and others.
It is better to discuss areas of self-improvement as attempts to become more effective than examples of your overcoming your shortcomings. Any mention of your shortcomings may work against you in the future.
During an interview for a promotion at Polaroid Corporation, the supervisor conducting the interview asked if I had any weaknesses. I told him that I conscientiously had to focus in on conversations when people were telling me things that I already knew.
I received the promotion.
About a year later, the One Step Camera™ sales had begun to falter through a worldwide inventory glut, and this manager was under a lot of pressure. During a conversation on sales in my area, he asked me if my inability to concentrate might be contributing to the sales progress of my team.
The manager had drawn on what I thought was an incidental comment I made about how I dealt with long, boring conversations to bore in on issues with my team’s performance that were in reality consistent with the company’s worldwide performance.
I told my manager that I certainly remembered making that comment, but that I was paying attention to him now. Then I laid out for him my strategies going forward.
So say nice things about yourself. You do not need to brag. Just keep it positive.