How Talking About Yourself Helps People Connect With You

Guest Blog Post by Jennifer van Alstyne: How Talking About Yourself Helps People Connect With You

Today I want to share why talking about yourself is a good thing. I’ll share 2 reasons why talking about yourself can help people connect with you:

  • Invites people to connect
  • Helps people feel more open

Hi, I’m Jennifer van Alstyne. I help professors and scientists talk about what they do. It doesn’t matter how smart or accomplished you are. Many people feel talking about themselves is a bad thing. That it’s something you shouldn’t do.

Why do people avoid talking about themselves? Some people feel like they’re drawing too much attention to themselves. They feel like they may ramble or annoy people. Others worry about arrogance. They don’t want to appear narcissistic.

Maybe you feel like what you share will bother people. This past year has been hard for many. Some people worry about talking about themselves when friends are having a difficult time. 

There are many reasons we stop ourselves from

  • Sharing good news
  • Announcing an upcoming event
  • Telling people what’s going on in our lives
  • Asking for help

Have you worried about any of these?

Invite people to connect with you

When you talk about yourself, you invite people to feel more connected with you. If something happens in your life and you don’t share it with anyone, there isn’t a way for people to connect over it. That’s normal, we’re not going to share everything we do. But what about when you want to share something? Like when you have good news.

In order for people to connect over something

  • They have in common
  • They’re curious about
  • They’re confused about

People need some information first. They need to know what happened. People will feel more connected if they understand why it matters to you (why you’re sharing it).

By telling people about yourself, or about something you experience, you invite them to connect with you.

Help people feel more open

Talking about yourself can help people feel more open. That means they’re more likely to share something about themselves. People will also be more likely to

  • Invite further conversation
  • Ask questions
  • Get in touch in the future about the same topic
  • Celebrate with you (because they understand what’s exciting)

When we don’t talk about ourselves, people may not be aware we’re open to talking. And you may miss that they want to talk with you.

Or that they want to celebrate you if you’re sharing good news.

By talking about yourself, even just a little bit, you can help people feel comfortable. You can invite conversation by being open first.

Don’t be afraid to try sharing good news

One of the best ways to practice talking about yourself is sharing good news. You may be anxious about bragging the wrong way. You’re not alone. I used to worry about this too.

But I also didn’t have family to celebrate with me. My parents passed away before I went to college. Accomplishments felt less rewarding when I didn’t have people to share good news with. I think that’s why I started thinking about how to share good news on social media. I was connected with friends and extended family online. It was a way for me to feel cared about because the people I connected with online were people I knew.

What I found was that even people I met one time were happy for me too. When I shared my 1st peer reviewed publication, it wasn’t just my family and friends who celebrated. It was a professor I had, and a former teacher. It was childhood friends, and people I knew in college classes outside of my major area of focus.

My article was about women in Eastward Ho! an early-Jacobean play (1605). It was an obscure topic to the people who engaged with my Facebook post. People celebrated with me because

  • I shared the details, like what my paper was about
  • I let people know how they could read it if they wanted to
  • I told people why it was important to me (why I was excited)

I got a lot of likes on the post and “congratulations” comments. But people also engaged in ways I didn’t expect.

  • I got detailed comments and direct messages that showed people knew what I was excited about and why
  • People who had never read the play I wrote about read my article
  • Someone who was reading the play in their graduate class thousands of miles away read my article and shared it with their class
  • People who were curious and asked questions about my topic

If I assumed people would not

  • Understand what I was talking about
  • Care about it because it was an obscure topic
  • Want to read something they didn’t need to
  • Be curious about my research

I never would have included the detail I did in the post. I had to share more than I was comfortable with. Sharing more invited people to connect with my news in deeper ways.

Don’t be afraid to share good news. Talking about yourself is a good thing, especially when we share the details that help people connect. If you haven’t shared something because you’re worried you won’t get a response – try including the who, what, where, why and when. Tell people the story of why what you’re sharing matters to you.

Get started talking about yourself online with my blog, The Social Academic. Thanks for reading this guest post!

Bio for Jennifer van Alstyne

Jennifer van Alstyne is a communications strategist for professors and researchers. She trains people on how to talk about themselves online as owner of The Academic Designer LLC. Connect with Jennifer on social media @HigherEdPR.

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