The Delicate Art of Self Promotion
Posted by Anni M.
In some contexts, self-promotion is a dirty phrase. It evokes self-involved businessmen with naked ambition, people who are unashamed of pushing their own strengths even when those strengths are exaggerated. As maddening as it is, often these people do succeed. Their relentlessness and drive wear on bosses and managers. Eventually, they give in, promoting the obnoxious loud mouth over the more industrious but reserved employee. Why does this happen and what can you do about it? While there is little you can do to stop that annoying self-promoter in his tracks, you can learn how to do your own inoffensive self-promotion. The first step: stop feeling guilty about touting your accomplishments.
One study, from employee search firm ISR (as reported in Forbes), found that women are notoriously bad self-promoters. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know how I feel about blanket gender stereotypes like this one. Still, I think it is telling that we have this impression of women. If we expect women to be demure and quiet about their own careers, does this mean we react negatively when they speak up? I think, for women, learning how to self-promote comfortably is even more important than it is for men. There is no reason why being a woman should make you hesitant to stand up for yourself. If you are a hard worker, let people know it. Be proud of your strengths and share them. Remember: your impression of how you come across may not be that close to the truth. Any boss worth his salt will recognize a strong, committed, industrious woman and will respond well when she is her own cheerleader.
If promoting yourself openly makes you deeply uncomfortable, don’t worry so much about overtly self-promoting. Instead, lead by example. Instead of telling people how great you are at negotiating, negotiate. Instead of explaining how hard you worked on a presentation, blow everyone away with your incredible presentation. Even the shiest among us can self-promote by doing quality work, every time.
If you are a small business owner who feels strange pushing your business, consider focusing on the struggle instead of the success. Tell your origin story. Did you start in you dad’s garage like Bill Gates? By focusing on your humble beginnings you’ll ingratiate potential customers. Everyone loves an underdog. When good things come your way, be excited but make sure you’re always humble. And always give credit to the people who helped you get where you are.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..