How to tell someone about yourself

In interviews and even when you meet someone socially, it’s not uncommon to be asked, “Tell me a little about yourself.”  It should be easy, but people often stumble through that question, unsure of what to share.  That makes things awkward at the beginning of the exchange.  So when it happens, be prepared.   Pick three interesting things about yourself ahead of time, things that could lead to more conversation and aren’t related to each other, like:

“I play the trombone, which is the least popular instrument in the jazz band.   I’m a diehard Yankees fan and have been since my dad took me to my first game when I was seven.  And I’m really allergic to pineapples, so I had an interesting night at the spring formal when our group went out to a Hawaiian restaurant for dinner.”

Don’t be afraid to be playful or self-deprecating with one of the factoids. (“Tell me about yourself” is not the same thing as “Impress me.”)  That’s what’s great about choosing three things ahead of time.  You’re picking the subjects you want to talk about.  A good response gives the person three different avenues to follow up and learn more.  And since this question usually comes up very early in an exchange, you’ll be making a great first impression as well as great conversation.