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Chris Graham: This song is about you

“I hate hearing myself talk.” “I don’t like to talk about myself.” “I don’t want people thinking I’m too vain.”

Got it. Just because you own your own small business, you don’t want people thinking that you think the world revolves around you.

Or maybe you’re just, well, shy.

Whatever it is, you need to get over it.

Me personally, I’m painfully shy. (Those who know me but don’t know this about me can stop snickering … eventually.)

And when I say painfully shy, I mean that I make my wife call in pizza orders and meet the driver at the door – yeah, that kind of shy.

I overcome being shy in a very public job by tricking myself into doing what I need to do to be successful.

1. I hate hearing myself talk. My voice is too nasal for my liking when I hear it on a recording. I also sound a lot more Southern than I think I do in the course of a normal conversation. So yeah, I hate the sound of my voice, too. Funny thing – nobody likes hearing their own voice played back to them. That’s normal.

2. I don’t like to talk about myself. Great, but if I don’t talk about myself in a business context, why should I expect anybody else to talk about me?

3. I don’t want people thinking I’m too vain. You probably think this song is about you, right? I love that song. (It’s not about me.) Talking about yourself, touting your skills, selling your business to potential customers and clients, is not vanity. Consider it a necessary evil.

It’s not enough to be good, damn good, the best at what you do. If you believe in yourself, your confidence will show through in conversations with people, in your business website and in your direct-mail, newspaper, radio and TV marketing.

One other way that I trick myself into being able to do this is by convincing myself that I need to play the role of Confident Chris. For years, Confident Chris was the one able to interview U.S. senators and governors and Division I college coaches when the other Chris had a hard time buying stamps at the post office.

It’s Confident Chris telling you now that if you’re not comfortable selling yourself to the world, nobody else will.

The other Chris says a little more quietly that if I can do, most certainly you can.

Chris Graham is the president of Augusta Free Press LLC, a full-service web-design, marketing and public-relations firm based in Waynesboro, Va. He is the editor of, The New Dominion Magazine and a former radio and television host. More on Augusta Free Press LLC at