Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self Disclosure

Self disclosure is important. The only way others have a hope of understanding who you are is if you tell/show them. There are cultural problems with self disclosure. If you share a well worded, honest evaluation of your excellent skills to an acquaintance they may very well think, "What a braggart." But, if it is important that they understand who you are, then you should be free to tell them.

A key issue with personal evaluations, from your point of view, is when they are very good, the person listening may label you a braggart. After all, Mom always warned us not to brag. If you were an athlete and a walk-on, the primary way the coach is going to decide to "waste" some of his time on you is by what you say. He then will ask you to back up what you've said by performing certain basic activities. Verbal gets you into the possibility of joining the team and nonverbal gets you the position on the team.

We have to learn by practicing what others will allow us to say about ourselves comfortably. They may think or even say, "They are no better than they think they are. On the other hand, they are very good." Bragging? No, an accurate report of personal capabilities. But, the important thing is the opinion they will have after your personal evaluation. Your analysis of what they will do with what you say is critical.

In the business world we expect folk to give us a clear idea of who they think they are. Due to the number of abuses, resumes no longer carry the clout they once did when it was expected that you would at least tell the truth. Even in this world, the verbal is the primary method of opening doors and it is your ability to perform that will get and keep the job.

People around you need to know "who you are" and you are in the best position to tell them. Practice informing others of what and who you are. Become skilled at the process. Then add reciprocity to the process. Practice sharing small amounts of information about yourself and then encouraging others to share a small amount about themselves. After all, if you don't know how they mean, how can you respond effectively?

What should not be said? Certainly early on in the "get acquainted process" you should avoid talking about the dark side of your being. In fact, the appropriate inclusion of some of the dark things that you think, might be better kept to yourself. Be positive and willing to share and learn. Most of us are looking for people like that, so that we can select and build a circle of friends.

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