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If I wasn't close to him, I'd probably see him as 'the guy with a strong French accent who doesn't say much'. He was one of many people that sprung to mind when I was listening to a motivational speaker recently. The speaker said, "no one's going to know what you know except you show them." My immediate reaction was, that's not true. Empty barrels make the loudest noise. However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
If Obama didn't present himself as an exceptional, eloquent, Harvard-educated, fine looking young man, chances are, no one would have noticed him.
In the world of entertainment, the most talented individuals are not necessarily the most successful. The 'celebrities' occupying the media platform are those who have successfully built themselves into a brand that consumers, companies and masses can identify with. And, becoming a brand is impossible without aggressive self-promotion.
Same goes for interviews. It's basically a hard sell for you to get your foot in the door.
In my opinion, a person is judged on criteria that looks like this:
Physical appearance - 50%
Eloquence - 20%
Decorum/Conformity to social norms/cultural awareness - 15%
Education - 15%
Ever heard the saying 'dress how you'd like to be addressed?' Well, it's very true! Time and again I've listened to successful professionals speak, and they've all said the same thing - the image you project determines the treatment you get. For example, an acquaintance told me she's noticed sometimes people try to dismiss her because she speaks with an accent, but when they notice that she knows her onions, they accord her opinions more respect.
So, you must not be afraid of promoting yourself. What are your strengths? What image do you want to project? How do you wish to be treated? It's your place to set the parameters.
Please note: there is a thin line between promoting yourself and becoming an obnoxious narcissist, so toe the line carefully. Also, self-promotion without substance to back it up projects phoniness.
Good luck as you flog your wares!