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Lee Wilkinson

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Why do we sell ourselves so badly?

I have just finished being part of a team of interviewers for a major corporation and the main thing I noticed was that people in general do a poor job of selling themselves even when give the opportunity and encouragement to do so. It seems like a built in system that stops us from being our own best promoter and we default to putting on the brakes. Why is this? Are we hard wired to default to self destruction instead of self promotion?

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    Jan 23 2012: While I am inspired by the passion within the responses from all of you I think the pedantic manor in which we are approaching the idea of 'Selling' The word was used of course to describe the way in which we represent ourselves when promoting our qualifications in order to secure something we want in life. Now we can argue this fact all we like but we do it all day every day in many different ways. The issue I have found however is that for many, when faced with an opportunity that we have created for ourselves we then fail at the most basic level to communicate our strengths and personality. What is so terrible about allowing ourselves that moment when we step up t the plate and shine through? After all. isn't that the idea of an interview? Otherwise why did we ask for the interview in the first place? The other issue is that so much of securing a position we want and are qualified for it the team dynamic. People are interviewing as much to see if they want to work with us for the dynamic sake as much as for the qualifications we hold.
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      Jan 24 2012: Lee, thanks for your clarification. I think that the word 'selling' is really getting people's attention. Selling has such a negative connotation in many cultures.

      I used to be one of those people who refused to 'sell' myself. I believe that my work should speak for itself. Then I realized that I was being passed over for promotions and choice opportunities even though I was doing as much work or more work than many of my co-workers. The problem - people didn't know about it because I wasn't 'selling myself' and telling people exactly what I was doing.

      I never made that mistake again. I took time to assess what my skills were and look for work that was a strong fit for those skills. Because of this, I can sell myself from the heart - not some cheesy need to convince someone I am something that I'm not. Now I sell the hell out of myself at every opportunity. I keep blogs and samples that can SHOW my work. My LinkedIn profile is clean and looking right. I never miss an opportunity to tell people who I am and what I can do.

      I realize that we all 'sell' ourselves every day. Every interaction, personal or professional leaves an impression and to get the most opportunities people want to make certain that those impressions are favorable.

      There is nothing wrong with selling yourself - whether we like it or not we do it every day.

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