Does the thought of talking about yourself make you cringe? If you’re like many introverts, you’d rather talk about anything but yourself. You shun the spotlight so having your personal stories take center stage makes you feel exposed.
This leads you to default to asking questions. If you keep the conversation focused on the other person, you don’t have to face the discomfort of having to talk about yourself. Unfortunately, there are a few problems with this.
Unless the other person is a narcissist, eventually they’ll want to know something about you. After all, conversations are meant to be back-and-forth, like a tennis match. You shouldn’t feel like you’re an audience member in a TED Talk.
And yet, this is how introverts often feel in conversation—like passive listeners. This can get boring for both you and your conversation partner.
Then there’s the problem of missed connections. I’m not talking about the kind you see on Craigslist.
Conversations are how human beings find common ground and connect with each other in this crazy world. If you never talk about yourself it means that there is no chance for another person to really see and understand you. And isn’t that what we all secretly want?
All this is to say that it’s a good thing to talk about yourself. It doesn’t have to feel like a humblebrag or a form of self-promotion. It can feel natural and fun, like a game of catch where each person gets the chance to pitch and receive.
Here are a few tips to help you talk about yourself naturally.
4 Ways to talk about yourself as an introvert
Steer the conversation
If you tend to be more passive in conversations, this tip might feel a bit scary. You wonder, can’t someone else take the wheel of the conversation? Like, say, an extrovert…or Jesus?
But alas, if you want to feel motivated to talk about yourself, it’s up to you to steer the conversation toward interesting topics. The reason is that it’s hard to launch into your origin story when you’ve been talking about weather patterns for the past ten minutes.
Start by asking the person what their passions are outside of work and how they got into them. This will open the door for you to share your own answers.
Change your perception
A change in perception can change your whole approach to conversations. If you see sharing about yourself as bragging, it will never feel natural.
But if you see it as a way to find common ground and build real connection, it will be a lot easier.
You’ll start to notice that people actually appreciate it when you talk about yourself because it provides connection opportunities that they can then build upon.
Believe you’re interesting
I hear from a lot of introverts in our Introvert Social Smarts Facebook Group who feel like they’re too boring to talk about themselves. But everyone has something interesting they can share.
Remember, great conversations don’t need to be riveting. What’s most important is that what you’re saying is relatable in some way. The most interesting thing about you is that you’re a human being with all the problems, flaws and fears that humans share.
Here are some things you can share about yourself that are inherently interesting:
- An origin story: How did you get from A to B? How did you start a career, hobby, or other particular journey in your life?
- An observation: Talk about something that caught your eye and made you think.
- An opinion: Don’t be afraid to (kindly) share your honest opinion.
- A feeling: Share how you feel about an experience rather than just regurgitating empty facts.
Share your achievements
Does the thought of sharing your achievements make your skin crawl? I get it. It can feel really weird talking yourself up in this way.
I remember when I was doing radio interviews to promote my first book The Irresistible Introvert. My number one job in those interviews was to promote myself and my book. And yet, it felt so weird to do so. Who was I to talk about my accomplishments?
I hadn’t considered that doing so would inspire people. You see, when you share your achievements, you give people the courage to pursue their goals too.
People may also just want to celebrate your success with you. For example, the other day I had a video chat with an entrepreneur friend and he asked me how it was going with my dating coaching clients. Had I seen much success?
“Yeah, actually two of my clients got married last year and one had never had a girlfriend,” I shared reluctantly.
My friend was overjoyed to hear this.
“Wow! That’s so amazing! That gives me warm fuzzies,” he said with a huge smile, beaming as brightly as a Christmas tree. I was touched (and quite surprised) that sharing my success could make someone else so happy.
In the end, sharing your success is just that. It’s sharing. It brings you closer to others because it allows you to bond over something that you care about.
More conversation tips
Having smooth, interesting conversations is something that a lot of introverts struggle with.
If you tend to get tongue-tied in conversations, I have more helpful tips for you. Simply grab my Introvert Conversation Cheat Sheet to get started. You can download it for free here.