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How to Tell Someone “A Little Bit About Yourself”

Personal branding consultant Johnathan Maltby tells how to structure an “elevator pitch” to explain who you are in interviews and networking events.

“Tell me a little bit about yourself.” It’s a question powerful enough to incite dread in most people. So why do we have such trouble answering it?

One reason is that we have no idea where to start.

The “elevator pitch” is the verbal representation of your personal brand. It is a 20 to 30-second speech designed to spark the interest of whoever you are talking to. You can think of it as your own personal movie trailer − a sharp, succinct teaser that will encourage them to find out more.

The purpose is also to communicate your personal message. A well-crafted and confidently delivered pitch will help you gain visibility in your industry and could position you as an expert in your field. Below is a simple strategy to get you started.

1. State what you are

Tell them exactly what you are. I always say that it is better to label yourself before someone else mislabels you, so think of a title that you feel really captures your professional experience. For example: “I am a high-end fashion retailer” or “I am a pastry chef”.

2. State what you do

You probably manage many tasks in your role and career, but to truly stand out, you need to tell the listener which problems you actively solve. This will show what you could bring to a company. For example: “I help companies increase their visibility and drive sales using digital marketing strategies.”

3. State the values you represent

You need to identify what makes you unique, what sets you apart in your field and then point out the benefits that your “unique selling proposition” (USP) would bring to a business. For example: “Through my 10 years of experience I have developed a strong network of international relationships with fashion wholesalers. This means I can be very cost-effective when it comes to sourcing materials.”

4. Communicate your goal/s

In interviews, it’s important to then align a goal with the position you are being interviewed for. For example: “I am now looking for a senior position in fashion retail where I can further add value to a company in a more strategic level.”

In a networking situation, stating your goal may mean assistance with sourcing work. Once others know what you are looking for they may refer opportunities onto you down the track.

5. Review and refine

Once you have put together the structure of your pitch, you need to refine it down to 20 or 30 seconds. Cut out the jargon, unnecessary words or details and ensure you have short and powerful statements. It should flow naturally and smoothly. Memorise key points and practice it aloud until you feel entirely confident when delivering it.

Photography: Nikki To

Johnathan Maltby is a personal branding and career mentor with proven strategies to empower you to energise your career. For more information, visit www.johnmaltby.com.au or connect with Johnathan on LinkedIn.

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