There are times when you need to introduce yourself, such as for a personal website, social media profile, or professional bio.
That's where you and I often get stuck. We were told not to keep praising ourselves, and yet, without listing our achievements, how are we supposed to create an aura of expertise?
The answer is simpler than you think. All you need to do is add a touch of surprise, and your blurb becomes super cool.
Find out how in this episode.
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Note: (This is an unedited transcript)
One of the most awkward things that people have to do at workshops is to introduce themselves.
So instead of doing that, what we ask people to do is to turn to their partner and tell them about a secret power, a superpower that they have, something that others may not know about. And that's when you learn that someone loves ironing or someone loves washing dishes, or that they can throw 300 peanuts in the air and catch them all at once. Whatever it is, it's interesting.
It's slightly more interesting than what we would say if we would just ask to talk about ourselves. The problem is that we are often asked to talk about ourselves. We are asked to talk about ourselves at workshops, at events, but also to put those little blurbs at the bottom of an article or at the back of a book or someplace like that.
And it seems odd when you write an article or a newsletter, you're expected to promote yourself.
When you write on someone else's websites or posts, you're expected to be clear about what you do. But what is the borderline between praising yourself, which is I'm good at this in that, or showing professionalism in some activity.
Because if you praise yourself, it's not pleasant. You have to talk about yourself, would you do? And you never know what to say. And this was the problem that Rita had, and she posted this question in 5,000 BC. It's a really good question.
And it's a really good question because it bought out some of these answers. From now on, you'd be able to write 1, 2, 17, 100 Blurbs if you need to, because if follows a pretty easy formula, there are two ways that I go about it.
Let's start out with the first way, which is the problem, the solution, and the emotion.
No matter what you're doing, whether you're doing marketing or advertising or anything of that so that people are looking for contrast and almost nothing is superior to a problem and a solution, which is this was before this is after. The brain simply looks for problems, so when you enter a room it is looking for all the obstacles so that you can go around them.
This is the same thing when you write a blurb or do anything for that matter. First, the brain, your brain, your audience's brain, they're looking for the problem. Once it has detected the problem, of course, it needs to find the solution.
So when we take this first method, which is the problem solver plus emotion, we get something like this and this is written by Leanne Hughes and this is the blurb at the back of the book.
“I used to struggle with endlessly editing and reworking my workshop designs. I would take weeks to get a two-hour session. I would agonize over the icebreaker question if the content was right. How to make everything come alive. But with hundreds of group sessions, both in person and online, I've learned the critical ingredients for creating engaging practical workshops.
Now, when I design workshops, I step away from the computer instead of clicking through PowerPoint. I catch my ideas and structural paper. It's joyful. I'd love to share that joy with you because workshop design should be a fun experience, not something you dread.”
So what's happening there?
There are lots of words there. There's a little bit of editing that I would do because even as I'm reading it, there's a lot of information, but let's avoid looking at all of that stuff and let's look at the core of it and the core of it is that she used to have a problem. She used to take days even weeks to get to the solution, but now she gets that really quickly. And there's emotion.
It's so joyful. And what we have here is a process. So you're explaining to somebody what you're doing or how you used to do it and how it was problematic. How it would take you ages to find a problem with the software code, but now how you do it really quickly. Essentially, it's a before and after you're describing a process.
And you know, using too many words, probably two, three, four sentences are enough.
And then possibly the end of an emotion. How you felt relieved, how you felt joyful, how you felt whatever. And so that's one way to write a blurb. That's a process of before and after. There is a second way, of course. And that is to put an element of surprise.
Because in a blurb you have bumposity. I did this. I did that. And somehow you want to negate that. You want to change it. You want to create contrast. So you want to bring it crashing down to it, but in a surprising way, in an interesting way. We'll find out how we do that in the second part, which is “Surprise.”
Here are some blurbs.
Redez climbed Mount Everest four times, has written 12 books and speaks in 50 languages. However, she is still very much scared of spiders. Or you can put in something that someone is not expected.
For instance, “Sean blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah which is all blah blah blah. And he lives in New Zealand with his wife, Renuka, and 64 million sheep.”
Right before that, they'd be reading about how showing as an author, he does this, he does that, And then there's a little surprise of the back. The reason why Blurbs put us to sleep is because they go on and on in one direction. And you want to have that you turn.
You must have that you turn, or at least some sort of surprise or diversion.
And of course you want more examples. So let's go to more examples. Olivia is a bookworm who can often be found lost in the pages of a good novel. She has a quiet introspective personality. Her love for nature has given her deep understanding of the world around her. In the spring, however, she shares sheep, and she has a personal record of sharing 236 sheep in a day. Surprise!
Dr. Karen Smith is a renowned neurosurgeon who specializes in complex brain surgeries. She is highly respected in her field and has published numerous papers on the latest techniques in neurosurgery. When she's not at the operating table, she reassembles computers from 1995.
John Kim is a seasoned software engineer with over a decade of experience in developing cutting edge applications. He has worked on several high-profile projects and is known for his ability to deliver a quality code under tight deadlines. However, he has yet to make it to his sisters birthday on time and he's working on it.
Devi Subramaniam is a talent graphic designer who has worked with some of the biggest brands in the fashion industry. Her keen eye for detail and creativity have earned her multiple design awards and accolades. A favorite outfit at home, however, are her Santa pajamas.
So you got the idea, there is this pomposity, blah, blah, blah, I do this, I do that.
But then there is that turn, there is that you turn and that's what you're looking for. So you can do that, you can go ahead and write whatever it is that you want to say. As long as you make the U-turn which is surprising, probably interesting.
When you want to talk about yourself, you can be as far as you like. But if you follow these formulas, which is a problem and a solution, plus emotion, then you can always tell people where you were stuck, how you fixed it, and what was the emotion. Or you can go ballistic.
You can tell them that you used to climb mountains and swim rivers and dive into the ocean. But then there is a surprise at the end. And that's what people remember. That's what people will smile at. That's what they will come up to you and talk about, not about your mountain climbing.