5 Ways You Should Never Describe Yourself

Picture this: You meet someone new. “What do you do?” he asks.

“I’m an architect,” you say.

“Oh, really?” he answers. “Have you designed any buildings I’ve seen?”

“Maybe,” you reply. “We did the new library at the university…”

“Oh wow,” he says. “I’ve seen it. That’s a beautiful building…”

And you’re off. Maybe he’s a potential client, maybe not… but either way you’ve made a great impression.

You sound great.

Now picture this: You meet someone new. “What do you do?” he asks.

“I’m a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of architectural services who uses a collaborative approach to create and deliver outstanding customer experiences.”

And he’s off, never to be seen again… because you sound like an idiot.

Do you–whether on your website, or more likely on social media accounts–describe yourself differently than you do in person?

Do you write things about yourself you would never have the nerve to actually say?

If so, it’s time for a change.

Here are some words that are great when used by other people to describe you, but you should never use to describe yourself:

“Global provider.”

The vast majority of businesses can sell goods or services worldwide; the ones that can’t–like restaurants–are obvious. (See?) Only use “global provider” if that capability is not assumed or obvious; otherwise you just sound like a really small company trying to appear really big.

“Innovative.”

Most companies claim to be innovative. Most people claim to be innovative. Most are not. That’s okay, because innovation isn’t a requirement for success.

If you are innovative, don’t say it. Prove it. Describe the products you’ve developed. Describe the processes you’ve modified. Give us something real so your innovation is unspoken but evident… which is always the best kind of evident to be.

“Creative.”

See particular words often enough and they no longer make an impact. “Creative” is one of them. (Go to LinkedIn and check out some profiles; “creative” will appear in the majority.)

“Creative” is just one example. Others include extensive, effective, proven, dynamic, influential, team player, collaborative… some of those terms truly may describe you, but since they’re also being used to describe everyone else they’ve lost their impact.

“Unique.”

Fingerprints are unique. Snowflakes are unique. You are unique–but your business probably isn’t. Don’t pretend to be, because customers don’t care about unique; they care about “better.” Show how you’re better than the competition and in the minds of customers you will be unique.

“Guru.”

People who try to be clever for the sake of being clever are anything but. Don’t be a self-proclaimed ninja, sage, connoisseur, guerilla, wonk, egghead… it’s awesome when your customers affectionately describe you in that way, but when you do it it’s apparent you’re trying way too hard.

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