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You . . . Conveyed as a Story Relevant to Others
on June 1, 2003
This book won't cure cancer, but it sure will overcome a lot of missed connections among people with valuable knowledge, experiences and talents who could be sharing them with one another.
Ms. Klaus argues persuasively that most of us don't put our best foot forward, out of a desire not to seem like braggarts. In the process, we look worse than we really are . . . and no one really cares. Careers, relationships and opportunities languish as a result.
Most people would like to present themselves better, and would concede that point. What's good about this book is that it is filled with practical advice for turning yourself into an interesting and relevant brief story for those you meet.
The heart of the book is the Take 12 self-examination where you start developing what's potentially interesting and relevant about you to share with others. Then, there's lots of advice for how to customize that material into 30 second (for elevator conversations) to 3 minute (for selling or interview intros) versions that fit your audience at the moment. If you only read that section and did the exercises there, you would more than get your value from this book.
The book begins with Ms. Klaus challenging myths about bragging (such as jobs being well done speaking for themselves, and good girls don't brag) by looking at actual experiences where the results of those myths were harmful for those who acted on them.
Quickly, attention shifts in chapter 2 to "What So Good about You" and there's more there in the Take 12 than you probably appreciate now.
Most of the rest of the chapters address specific situations such as how to behave in the office (even if you are a tele-commuter), handling job interviews, being in performance reviews, using voice mail and e-mails, when you are not employed, and when you are self-employed. For professionals who work on their own, chapter 8 which addresses the last subject can be worth a fortune to you. I thought it was very well done. Then the book moves back into overviews (chapter 9 is on brag nags to keep you focused and chapter 10 has a self-confession by the author and 12 tooting tips).
If you've ever felt awkward in advancing your own views or interests in any of these situations, take a look at this book. You will probably find helpful ideas that you'll be comfortable following.
In the course of my business career, I've had occasion to meet many successful people. Almost all of them follow the kind of gentle, discreet communications approaches described here. So I can testify that this approach must work for getting to the top!