Whether you’re writing your About Page, a Social Media Bio or responding to interview questions, what you say about yourself will be influenced, subtly or otherwise, by the relationship that exists in your head about you and your audience.
I like to think of one reader, rather than an audience. For this little introvert, writing to just one person feels more cozy. But that’s not the trick. You’ve probably already heard the advice that you should write to one person. There’s more to it than that.
Now I’m all for being authentic, truthful and vulnerable, but when it comes to writing about yourself, you need to play a bit of make-believe. No, this doesn’t mean you make up your story, experience or expertise. This make-believe game is about how your ideal reader feels about you.
Are you freezing up moments before writing about you?
It’s not because you’ve forgotten who you are or what you do.
It’s (usually) because you’re trying to impress the reader.
What if I told you that your reader already likes you? Truly – she approves of you. Is already totally on your wavelength and just can’t wait to hear from you.
That’s the mental trick. It’s pretending your reader already likes you.
If you remember this, you won’t fall into the trap of writing to impress others. When I scroll back through my most persuasive, even charismatic moments, on paper and in person, I’d say I wasn’t trying to win anybody over – even when it was my job to win them over. It was when I spoke from my heart, with total conviction, that I connected with ease. When we let go of the strategy, and let go of a need for approval, people are usually moved. And if they’re not, they were never going to be. Or it doesn’t matter.
You may be thinking that you never try to impress your reader, and that may be true. But if there’s a part of you that is hoping that something you write will make you more likeable, more favourably positioned, more this, less that, then you’re on the slippery slope to writing to make a good impression. Which ironically, rarely does.
When you’re trying to impress your reader that you’re smart enough, good enough, worth reading, worth sharing, worth staying on the page for, well, you won’t sound natural. You’ll sound contrived.
Ever notice how you’re never lost for words, and at your most articulate when you’re texting a friend or emailing a beloved mentor?
This is because you know you’re already good enough, accepted and liked by the person reading your words.
There is no guarantee that whatever you write will be liked. There’s no guarantee that something you say will make you more likeable. I’ve found that the more I write from the truth of who I am and what I know, as though I was writing to a friend, I experience less freeze, more flow.
So before you write another word about yourself, let’s pretend that your reader already likes you.
Practice this mental habit and notice the difference.