Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Share a little

Trying to get folks to talk about themselves - in print or in person - is like pulling teeth: painful for everyone.

First, reactions tend to be ‘oh that’s too personal’ and thus general and vague statements are made. “I’m interested in reading and sports.”

Second, people stick to the facts and leave out the abstract which is by far the more interesting. “I’m 36 years old and I work in Finance.” booo-ooring

If someone asked you for your favourite restaurant and you said “Oh, there are too many good ones to name...” That might be true, but it’s not a conversation starter.

When you talk about yourself in any medium or situation, you’re not trying to give chapter and verse on who you are. You are trying to start a conversation. You are trying to prompt an interest in what else you might have to say and increase your chances of finding mutual points of reference. Unfortunately, mostly what we see is folks shutting down conversation by keeping it impersonal and arm’s length.

That’s the point: We don’t need to factualize and flatten our identity. We can offer a glimpse inside us to open a conversation.

You are not a product to be evaluated by a label (do you wear your resume on the back of your jacket?). We thrive in relationships and connections. We need to cultivate them. That means sharing in order to receive.

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