I’m a career coach, and it’s amazing to me how many people I run into that don’t like to talk about themselves. They think it’s bragging, or rude, or vulgar.

Houston, we have a problem!

If you are in a job search, wanting to move ahead at work, or trying to get clients for your business, you have to learn to talk about yourself in a way that informs people authentically about what value you create. I like to think about this as educating people on what I do best, what I want to do, and why.

Elevator speeches are not for me

I’ve never liked the concept of an elevator speech because the last time I was in an elevator no one spoke and no one dared make eye contact. So I don’t do elevator speeches, and no one can make me.

There does however come a time when you must talk about yourself and you need to know what to say & how to say it. Here’s my process: authenticity, brevity, and passion.

Be honest about the value you create

Just be honest about how you create value. If you don’t know, you might want to look at your [pullquote]I like to think about this as educating people on what I do best, what I want to do, and why.[/pullquote]performance reviews, survey your clients, or ask people who would tell you the truth. Take a few days & make a list without editing anything – just keep the flow going. Be sure you focus on what value you create because no matter what you like to do, you have to find a buyer.

Keep it simple, keep it brief

Let the fun begin and start editing. Get some help if you need it. Think about finishing this sentence, “I’m at my best when…”

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it – not true

Well, actually it IS what you say … and it’s how you say it. Think about how you would talk about what would motivate you to get up every day and do that thing you do so well. What will you say to inspire others to ask you for more? What will you say to help them remember you?

It’s the thought that counts … and the gift

You’ve put a lot of thought into what you do best and what would motivate you to do it every day. Think of what you say about yourself as a gift you give to others. Your message is sincere and content rich, and even inspiring. Paint a picture for people so they see you succeeding. Also, if you need help, people need to know how to help you.

Want an example? Here’s mine:

I am a career coach. I’m at my best when I’m helping people connect their strengths, values and passions with the organization or business. I use a creative process to help them get really clear about what they want so they’re motivated to take action. Our careers affect every component of our lives; I consider it an honor to help people find work they really enjoy and make a positive impact.

Want to share yours?