“Tell me about yourself” is usually the first statement Holley Murchison will pose when you meet her.

This year, during her keynote speech at PromaxBDA Asia, this statement had attendees chatting as she instructed them to speak about themselves to each other.

The education producer and author of the book Tell Me About Yourself: Six Steps for Accurate and Artful Self-Definition, sat down with Daily Brief to discuss being your authentic self at work, smart and easy ways to introduce yourself and global similarities in how humans communicate.

An edited transcript with Daily Brief Contributing Editor Kareem Taylor follows:

What exactly did you do to get everyone buzzing? There had to be about 400 people there.

My goal is to get people to talk to each other. That’s the hardest part at any conference; the awkward networking experience. I created a moment of intimacy where people can talk to each other at one time. It worked, and people started to make connections because they weren’t talking about their work, they were just trying to get to know each other.

Why don’t people bring their personalities to work?

In a lot of the workshops I teach, there’s some hesitance to bringing your full self to work. In all the spaces outside of work, we experience life better when we can be our full selves. It’s a more enjoyable experience. It’s taking that notion and bringing it to work.

Is there a 15-second shortcut that I can use to quickly get my point across?

There are three things you should be considering. The first is ‘Who is your audience?’ And what do you know about them so far? The second is ‘What is the point that you are trying to make?’ and the third is ‘What do you want them to do next?’ It’s about thinking about that end goal and creating an appetizer for how to keep the conversation going to achieve that end goal.

You’ve traveled around the world and in the states. What are the differences you’ve noticed on a global level in how we communicate?

What’s really interesting, whether it’s the states, Johannesburg, Singapore or Amsterdam, when we talked about the skills and achievements part, people were so uncomfortable talking about what they had done or accomplished. They didn’t want to feel like they were bragging. In the one-on-one conversations in Johannesburg, folks weren’t afraid to call themselves artists. In Amsterdam, people were asking each other really good questions. Not like ‘what do you do?’ It was more like ‘What are you excited about?’ Ask empowering and thoughtful questions.

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