In my last post I said that shorter is better. Here’s part one of my two part answer as to why that is. Whether you’re seeking representation or meeting other industry peeps the first time at networking events, workshops, an interview, auditions and more, this is the answer to how to communicate what you offer another human being IN PERSON. (Part two will be IN WRITING)
Invariably almost every time you are asked about yourself, or are attempting to introduce yourself without being asked, you’ll have so much information to share you’ll often not know where to start. It’s sometimes called an elevator pitch because the premise is the answer should last no longer than it takes for a ride in an elevator – clear, concise, and leaving the other person wishing you didn’t have to get off on that floor because they want to know more about you! So this major message needs to be as prepared as your monologues and as sharp as your cold reading skills. Let’s call it “loosely memorized” and at the ready.
The answer to that simple little question, “So tell me a little bit about yourself” is often not that simple. You’ve been asked it many times before but here’s the problem: no matter how old you are – 11, 18, 25, 45, 70 or more – you’ve had a vast and varied life and immediately what happens to the human brain is that you don’t know where to go or what to say about who you are.
“What do I tell them first? Oh gosh! Uhhhhh”…and you usually end up with egg on your face. I implore you to be as prepared as possible. Pick the one or two things that you think they might be interested in knowing about you as a person and not necessarily you as the product or your skill set to begin. This sets the tone that gets them interested and engaged in who you are. Confidence and charisma is 50% of this business and if you’re naturally funny, here is where to put in a bit of humor. If you are fresh, new to the area, returning to the business or just out of school, here is where to mention that. You get the picture. Take the time to practice it with a friend or relative a few times – I’m not kidding one bit. DO IT!
Next throw in a bit of the biz info on what you offer as talent. What is the type you’re consistently cast as, your most recent projects, performances, or training is what you speak about here. Balance is key. Don’t talk forever about what you love or want most about anything, but mention briefly why someone else liked working with you or enjoyed your performance. (Perhaps an award or article) That’s called 3rd party authority.
Now I’m going to give you a BIG clue – ACTIVE listening to others when they talk about themselves or their project is your goal when sharing information in person. Listen for things you can address later that will help them. Also listen for things that they share that you may have a common interest in. You might take notes and then enter quality information in your database so that when you have the opportunity to have a conversation with that person again or follow up in writing, you’ll be more remembered because you were interested in what they had to say. Get it? A common denominator is an immediate connection and right off the bat you become more interesting to them too! Everything that follows after that is GOLD (Pun intended!).
Have the answer to “So tell me a little bit about yourself” prepared with the 3 or 4 things you think will showcase your “person” as well as your product, to break the ice AND be interested in them as well.
I’d love your comments in the section below on this subject. What are your thoughts on active listening? How about what you’re offering instead of what you want, a subtle yet vital shift? Lemme hear ya!