(#149) Are You Unique? Well, Isn’t That Special!

Demonstrate what you have done (what action you have taken)
rather than getting caught up in hyperbole.

Words matter. What we say, how we say it, why we say it, and when we say it create a message.  Whether you write books, blogs, songs, or office memos, every one of your words has a purpose—intended or not.  After 9 books, 2 CDs, and nearly three years of blogging, I still struggle with “tight writing.” (Thank God, for my developmental editor who helps to keep my thoughts parallel and proper. Thanks, Shannon!)

Image: kookkai_naki/Free DigitalPhotos.net

Image: kookkai_naki/Free DigitalPhotos.net

A recent article by Jeff Haden, titled “Stop Using These 16 Terms to Describe Yourself” examined the words people use to describe themselves on websites and social media sites. He poses a simple question, “Do you write things about yourself that you would never have the nerve to actually say?” Haden then annotates 16 words that we should never use to describe ourselves.

If others are saying these words about you, great!  But as for you, it is best to demonstrate what you have done (what action you have taken) and what you bring to any given situation.

Here are Haden’s 16 words. (In his article, he briefly describes why each is on the list.)

  1. Innovative
  2. World-class
  3. Authority
  4. Results oriented
  5. Global provider
  6. Motivated
  7. Creative
  8. Dynamic
  9. Guru
  10. Curator
  11. Passionate
  12. Unique
  13. Incredibly
  14. Serial entrepreneur
  15. Strategist
  16. Collaborative

Here are the takeaways for me:

  • Describe action you have taken or will take rather than to describe yourself with glittering generalities. In other words, describe for me how you will help me.  Remember the English professor’s warning: Show don’t tell.
  • Even if one or more of the terms above describe you, there may be more impact associated with the word if someone else describes you with it. If you are that good get some testimonials.
  • Some words have become so overused that they lose impact.  You know, like “special.” If everyone is “special” then no one is “special.” What person selling himself/herself would not claim to be motivated? And unique?

Video recommendation of the week:

This word reminded me of one of my mentors. In the video clip below, Rick Kaden suggests how to best present oneself during an interview. Notice what he advises to do rather than selling yourself as “unique.”

What words would you add to or delete from the list?

And remember, you and I are “unique” and “special”–just like everyone else in the world.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment. Make it a wonderful week!


  • Please pass along information about my April 10 webinar, Underlying Principles of Student Success.  Great for teachers, tutors, and supervisors. Click here to register now.  Or go to my website for registration information.
  •  Check out the newUpdatesfeature on my website.


©2013. Steve Piscitelli.


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in Communication, Words and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to (#149) Are You Unique? Well, Isn’t That Special!

  1. Pingback: (#188) A Blogger’s Retrospective: 2013 in Review | Steve Piscitelli's Blog

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