Wednesday, January 30, 2013

How Do You Describe Yourself And What You Do?

In a recent article on Linked In, writer, Jeff Haden brought up some interesting points about what not to do in describing yourself. In his list of 16 terms one should not use to describe one's self: things that I hadn't given much thought to, but I'm sure I've done what he advises NOT to do. I think, as artists, we should take a good hard look at our artists statement and evaluate to see if we have used any of these terms (or, terms like it) to describe ourselves and what we do in our art.


by Jeff Haden

"Picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" she asks.
"I'm an architect," you say.
"Oh, really?" she answers. "Have you designed any buildings I've seen?"
"Possibly," you reply. "We did the new student center at the university..."
"Oh wow," she says. "That's a beautiful building..."
Without trying -- without blowing your own horn -- you've made a great impression.
Now picture this. You meet someone new. "What do you do?" he asks.
"I'm a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of architectural services with a collaborative approach to creating and delivering outstanding world-class client and user experiences."
All righty then.
Do you describe yourself differently – on your website, promotional materials, or especially on social media – than you do in person? Do you use cheesy clich├ęs and overblown superlatives and breathless adjectives?
Do you write things about yourself you would never have the nerve to actually say?"

I encourage you to read the article in its entirety and browse through some of the comments (more than 1,700 weighed in with their comments-and the comments often reveal even more helpful information). Although it is true, that no one is as knowledgeable as you are about what you do, we should give more thought to constructing our descriptions instead of taking a 'confetti' approach. 

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