As women, we can downplay (or not even realize) the amazing things we do. But, it’s really important to not only deeply know our own value but also to get out there and promote ourselves. From keeping a job to getting a raise to new opportunities finding you to just feeling powerful about, self-promotion is a much needed skill.
You’re all probably cringing now thinking about how in the world you can brag about yourself without coming across as egotistic to others. First, start by thinking about self-promotion not as a skill of acting like a brazen snob but more of a way to gather the attention of others and gaining their respect. It’s all about building up your reputation so others see you the way you should be seen.
Here are a few tips on finding (and making opportunities) to sprinkle in a few positive praises about yourself in a way that might just be a little more comfortable.
Speak with Energy and Authority
Most people don’t like to promote themselves because they don’t like to talk about themselves. Instead of thinking about self-promotion as talking about yourself, think about it as talking about the activities you love. If you’re enthusiastic and knowledgeable about your topic, others will see you as good at what you do and self-promotion becomes easier.
Tell a Story
Work your accomplishments into a story. Even better, a story with a little humor to it! As an example, in one of our newsletters we posted an image of a man without realizing it (we always like to use strong female images). At the last minute I realized it was a man and was able to independently make the decision to fix it, find a great new image and still get the newsletter out on time. Disaster averted!
Seize on Existing Opportunities
How often has someone asked you “What’s up?” and you said “Not much.”? Try to be more purposeful in your response. Always be prepared with a few stories or accomplishments you are excited about (see tips above) and turn this moment into a great opportunity for self-promotion. It’s easy to take the moment to say how great work is going and talk a little about a project or task where you have recently had success.
Performance reviews are another opportunity to strut our stuff. Be prepared for your performance review with a list of your accomplishments, challenges overcome and copies of great feedback from colleagues or clients.
Call Out the Good Stuff
When you receive positive feedback from a client or a co-worker, take a minute to forward it to your manager with a question or comment that prompts them to respond. “A great experience with a customer, don’t you think?” “I love getting such positive feedback, don’t you?” Whatever you add, just make sure it’s comfortable for you.
Help Out to Help Yourself
When you have time, let people know that you are available to help. If you have a particular skill or talent, find an opportunity to highlight it. Love working on presentations? Offer to help review a colleague’s slides and spruce them up. This tip can become even more powerful when you are able to offer your services on something visible that people need. Try to put yourself in the position to solve a problem then solve it.
Sometimes this means you will have to stretch yourself and take on things that scare you but by being open and available to new opportunities and performing when you get them, you not only create great value but also make yourself visible in a very positive way!
Own Your Accomplishments
When others congratulate you on your accomplishments, don’t downplay your work. Show pride in what you have done and be grateful. If you are comfortable, you can even ask if they would mind sharing with your boss.
Nothing Speaks Louder than Results
Always try to show how you made a difference and whenever possible, tie metrics & numbers to the results you have driven. Numbers are a very simple way to show your value without any conversation needed.
Brag about Others
If all of the above tips feel too uncomfortable right now, start by promoting other people and their work and, likely the individual will return the favor and provide some positive words about you.
Self-Promotion quick Hits
- Don’t be an average voice saying unmemorable things.
- Become a reliable source of information on a short list of topics
- Be authentic, proud and honest about your accomplishments
- Ask for three pieces of constructive criticism. Then, show how you applied it.
- Partner with others with purpose and choose people with a strong reputation.
- Introduce others to people they would benefit from knowing.
- Never stop learning. Never stop growing.
There are many ways to get out there and sing your own praises but there can be a few mines to watch out for on your journey as well.
Read Your Audience
Try to mirror the tone and style of your audience and watch out for situations when it isn’t appropriate to discuss your successes.
Remember to Look Above AND Below
Building relationships and trust (remember, this is the main gaol of self-promotion) works both directions. It’s important to create the connections with those who are your managers but it’s often equally important to take care of the people who work with you or for you.
Know the Culture
Bragging is a behavior that most cultures seem to look down on from East to West. Be aware of who you are interacting with and the culture of your company and let that guide how you express yourself.
As much as we may not want to promote ourselves, it is close to a survival skill for women impacted by divorce both for our own sense of self and for our livelihoods. We don’t have the luxury of keeping our heads down and being average in the workplace so:
Know your strengths,
Take a few risks and
Believe in yourself.
But most of all, hold your head high, get out there and sing your own praises. You bring amazing things to the world!