"Tell me a bit about yourself.”
No matter how many times I’ve been asked that question (or a variation of it) in networking circles, I will unabashedly say that my inner monologue still hesitates from time to time. What should I lead with? What’s most important? How will I come off?
As easy as it may sound to just tell people about yourself, I, as a writer, especially understand that sometimes the hardest story to tell is your own. It’s no different in business, and it’s crucial that you not only identify and understand your company’s story, but also that you communicate it through the way you interface with customers.
Take the six winners of this year’s Showroom of the Year Awards, for instance. Starting on page 33, you’ll read about their thoughts on the future, the most exciting technology they see coming down the pipeline, and most interestingly, the biggest risk they’ve taken. The answer to that question gives you a glimpse into the heart and soul of each of these winners, and across the board regardless of their responses, it communicated that they are passionate about and believe in what they do. You understand how they got to where they are today, as successful and thriving retail showrooms and winners of these prestigious awards, by them simply sharing a bit about their experiences.
Industry veteran Kimberley Wray also wrote a great article for us this month, starting on page 44, where she explored how content marketing (aka storytelling) is shaping a new generation of furniture retailing. Utilizing social media like Palette & Parlor in Chapel Hill, NC, hosting a radio show like Cynthia Heathcoe from Contemporary Living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, or even publishing a magazine like IBB Design Fine Furnishings in Frisco, TX, provides value and communicates your brand ID, rather than trying to sell, sell, sell to potential customers. If they connect with you first, they’re more likely to buy from you later on — that we know for sure — and there are plenty of ways to make this happen.
It’s hard to be vulnerable and feel not quite ready, but sharing your company’s struggles, gambles and triumphs in a way that adds to the authenticity of your brand is a building block to success. Know your truth, the good and the bad — write it down, memorize it and share it with the world.
Personally, I’ve settled on “I’m Nicole, Editor-in-Chief of Lighting & Decor, a trade magazine for the lighting and home furnishings industry. I’m based in Boston but I travel frequently to trade shows, markets and retail showrooms reporting on product and business trends. Yes, I love it, and no, I never would’ve guessed I’d be using my journalism degree to do it.”
And, by the time this issue hits many of you, I’ll be able to add “wife” to that self-description as well. Keep an eye out for communications from Nicole Davis starting in September — I’m looking forward to continuing to write my story with you all.