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selling yourself short

When I’m running out the door to a big day, I can guarantee my wonderful boy’s voice will be ringing in my ears saying “you rock the mostest” and when I get in, he’ll ask how things went. My typical answer goes a bit like this: “it was ok…..I forgot to say this bit…..I wish I’d do this that way….someone made this comment….but it was ok” and you know what his response is? “Sarae, you’re really great at what you do. I’m sure it was amaaaazing from your client’s/clients’ point of view”. Yep I drive him slightly mad selling myself short.

At networking or training events, I happily share my business purpose and the range of different services it encompasses. I’m far less comfortable saying my style is unique, my clients find real personal and professional benefits in working with me and I am worth way more than every pound or euro I charge.

Hmmmm why is that? It’s the truth. I do give my clients great, memorable, life enhancing experiences. You might challenge me and say I fear “being found out” or that I feel like an impostor. Yep, that could be a reason; it’s not mine (I genuinely believe I’m good at what I do and I love growing my abilities further). Or perhaps I’m a bit introverted or uncomfortable sharing things that are dear and important to me. Again, not my reasons.

For me, there’s this little voice that says nice people don’t show off or brag about themselves. Arrogance and inflated egos are real turn-offs to me and qualities I hope never to demonstrate.

I hear people selling themselves short fairly often. I’m left wondering do they even notice they’re doing it and what is it doing to their self esteem, belief and confidence. Do you find yourself doing this too? At work? On dates? At interviews? During appraisals? With friends or colleagues? Yikes. This could have a massive impact on you leading the life you want.

Here’s my way to marketing and selling yourself in a balanced, honest, authentic way:

1)     Answer these questions honestly:

  1. Your name (Are you’re a Rebecca, Bexs, Becky, Becca or even which with whom?)
  2. Your expertise (Mine are Coach, Trainer and Pilates Instructor)
  3. Your specialisms (I work with people who want to change their life for the better AND I do it in an energetic, empathetic way)
  4. Your unique factor (A story, example, fact or interesting “hook” to aid their memory or build their curiosity)
  5. Your “What’s in it for you” factor (why they should want to work/be/share/do with you)

2)     Now ask a few trusted friends, colleagues, mentors, clients…..anyone who’s opinion you respect…..to answer questions b-e for you without sharing yours first. (You can do this anonymously via online tools like typeform or survey monkey.)

3)     Compare both versions and spot any differences. (Yes you can cringe a little here if it helpsJ)

4)     Refine to create a version that accurate describes you in all your true glory.

5)     Then get out there and use it, share it, upload it, say it with a smile, your shoulders back and head held high.

You might take this to form a verbal introduction (elevator or 60 second pitch) or your summary and headline on LinkedIn. You might discover the keywords for your SEO or your tag line. Another approach to this outside of work and business, could be to tweak the above questions for a online dating profile. Switching b and c to:

  1. Your best qualities and personality traits
  2. Your favourite activities

This week, listen out and try to catch when you sell yourself short. Does it happen in similar situations or is it a consistent “thing” for you? Try out the little exercise and share in the comments your new approach to marketing yourself without selling yourself short.

If you know someone who does this and you want to help them, please feel free to share this page with them.

  • Robert

    Love the simple approach to create clarity in the mind of the coach/trainer about what they do and how they go about it, thank you for sharing.

  • Sarae

    Happy to help – works for all sorts of peeps. Ask your clients, coachees or participants to do it as a homework inquiry piece – changes mindsets, changes their frame of reference and gives new evidence to a belief.

  • Daniela

    Not going to lie…really love the pic on this post. Haha 🙂 And the message it really helpful. I like the part about the hook….

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lost your voice?

Last week, I wrote about purpose and personality making a compelling, inspiring message (Missed it? No worries – it’s here) and I’ve worked with some great people, who on paper have the content cracked and can blow you away with their passion for the topic. Yet when it comes to being in front of a sea of faces or that key decision maker, something gobbles up their confidence and they fail to convey their message.

I know I’ve done it – my first presentation at London Business School in front of my stakeholders and my wider team and I REALLY wanted to impress. I was all clued up on my purpose, my notes printed out and was all set. But when I started I heard this wobbly voice and someone gasping for air. ECK! That’s not me nor what I’m known for – I am an engaging, energising speaker.

I took a deep breath and announced my purpose – pause – more air and I set out my stall of great, pragmatic content including why I believed in it. I asked the audience if they’d find it valuable. I watched a few heads nod and heard a few mumble “yes”.

How was I able to do this? I had socialised my summary (aka my introduction) with a number of people – firstly, to check relevancy and style and secondly, to rehearse saying it out loud without the pressure of the moment. Once the former was cracked, the latter gave me chance to build muscle memory in my brain and tongue – the same as a sprinter will break down each part of their race into components and repeat each piece numerous times, great speakers breakdown their message and repeat it.  Each repetition builds a stronger memory in the brain and the operating muscle group (legs for an explosive start or the mouth and mouth for a speaker).

Having delivered to conference halls of 4,000+ and senior management, I have a wealth of experience, techniques and tools to share on public speaking. I can also draw upon my studies of anatomy and physiology to manage your energy and nerves to increase your success.You may have heard the mantra of “rehearse, rehearse, rehearse” and been recommended to deliver to a mirror or video camera, which can be really powerful and really unnatural.

get heard post image

Try my mini rehearsal technique – say it and say it often. Discuss your message and purpose with others and you’ll build a fluidity and familiarity, which will help you deliver with confidence and passion. Plus you gain support, encouragement and more energy for your message along the way. For the Win!!

What’s your favourite way to prepare ahead of your big moment? Share them in the comments please!

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did you get the message?

I love getting my weekly dose of TED video talks on the amazing, inspiring and sometimes downright weird from around the world. Whilst I may never travel to the moon or the Amazon basin, nor am I likely to be involved in technological advances for disease treatments and cures, I do watch in awe of how brilliant the speakers are and ponder what’s the magic ingredient making them so darn compelling and engaging.

I think it’s 2 things – both of which we can all make use of; from our 1 to 1 conversations, to the largest presentation in an overflowing auditorium.

The first is to define your purpose. For me, this is the combination of 3 things: why is this message important to this person(s), what do I want them to feel about it and what do I want them to do as a result. Combining these will help you shape your communication style, your choice of words and pick the right time and environment.

Now, number two in my head should come easy, but I know I sometimes struggle with it when I get a touch overwhelmed by the occasion. It’s about injecting a bit of yourself – why is it important to me and why do I believe in my message. By this, I mean not only sharing your brilliant logic, research, evidence and the like with them; I mean add in your emotion, passion, energy and personality to make the message really be heard.

You might say “Sarae, I get the purpose bit alright, but I need to come across as a professional here!”. I couldn’t agree more and I’d suggest you’d be a much more interesting professional to work with, learn from, debate with and support if you shared a bit more of your heart and soul.

If you’re interested in learning more about purpose and the idea of logic and emotion in your comms, give me a shout as I often train corporate teams on this in short and longer format sessions.

Can you think of someone who’s able to get you nodding along with them and eager to take action? Share their magic ingredient in the comments, so we can all learn a new one!

PS next week, get the second part of getting your message heard!

  • Ritu

    This post made me think… “do I have my message clear in my own head?” I think I’m a bit fuzzy right now to be honest. Great post! Thanks for that! xxoo Ritu

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