How do I talk about myself without sounding boastful?


By Peggy Wallace, Making Conversation

No one wants to be the one who sounds ARROGANT OR BOASTFUL It's a short distance between BOASTFUL and CONFIDENT. But, no one can read your mind. Mind-melding is only for Vulcans in Star Trek. You have to show them who you are using clear, concise, detailed language. "You are right there with me" stories makes a memorable impression. Why do we remember stories? How can you make your strengths into persuasive examples which become memorable and get you hired?

But how do you talk about yourself with confidence? You can always psyche yourself up and find yourself a theme song and ace that interview.

Really though, how can YOU talk about YOURSELF? Here are three ways:

1. Hard Work. You can say that you work really hard to attain those results, hone those skills, or achieve those strengths. No problem. Hard work yields results. If you're diligent and responsible and your hard work pays off, they would likely want you at their school, their place employment or as a winner of their scholarship!

2. Good Fortune. You were lucky. If you say that you maximized the opportunity, by placing yourself at the right place and time, with the preparation necessary, so much the better. It shows maturity to acknowledge that you can prepare for good fortune. Giving credit to chance or serendipity exhibits modesty. Many people are born with good fortune and privilege; acknowledge if you were so blessed- you can still take credit for making the best of the good hand dealt to you.

3. Your Friends Tell You or Third-Party Endorsement. Certain personal characteristics are best shown through the eyes of others. If one of your strengths is that you are an empathetic listener, it's not very convincing if you say so. However, relating an example of friends telling you that they appreciate how you really listen to their problems and stay "with them," making them feel valued, then you are showing the interviewer through the testimony of others that you are an empathetic listener.

If you present your accomplishments, character, and strengths using one of the three options above, it is highly unlikely that you will be perceived as BOASTING. The interviewer will become your advocate, because you have showed your best self with CONFIDENCE.

Be authentically yourself. Establish rapport. Open doors by winning with words. Making Conversation can assist you to develop responses which are thought out ahead of time, not the "automatic” or “right" response, but your personal best answer. If you communicate effectively with confidence and ease, your answers will persuade the interviewer to become your advocate with the school.

Article by Peggy Wallace, founder, Making Conversation