Some people have no problem with self-promotion, others often feel guilty talking about themselves because it could be considered bragging.
But staying ahead is no longer about what or who you know – it’s about who knows you.
Self-promotion is less about prompting yourself and more about promoting your personal brand. Whether you realise it or not, you do have a personal brand – it’s the way other people see and perceive you, and the way you represent yourself as a leader or business professional.
“Treat your personal brand with care, it’s an asset that will carry with you throughout your career. Remember, it’s how you conduct yourself on a daily basis in your office environment, as well as at company events, external networking events and when interacting with other professionals in a variety of settings” explains Tony Roy, President of EMEA at CareerBuilder.
It goes without saying that there is a fine line between showcasing your talents and showing off. Here are five top tips on how to promote yourself at work – without being obnoxious.
1. Know when to hold ‘em.
Self-promotion is all about playing the right cards. Study your audience – those you want to impress. Make sure you know what they care about and if what you’re talking about is relevant to them. Also, try to mirror their tone and style when talking – it’s what they’re familiar with and what they respond to. Finally, get your timing right. It might be viewed as in poor taste to talk about an exciting sales closure the same day layoffs have been announced.
2. Promote others first.
Recognising others’ accomplishments subtly reinforces your own confidence, proving that you aren’t threatened by others’ success. Not to mention that when you promote others, they are more inclined to return the favor.
3. Carpe diem.
Seize the day – better yet, seize every opportunity – to promote yourself. The next time your boss asks you, “How’s it going?” be ready to expand on “Great!” and tell them why. Did you just get some great feedback on a project? Make headway on a long-standing goal? Overcome a daunting challenge? Have a few recent accomplishments at the ready, so you can take advantage of those few precious moments the next time you run into one of the higher ups.
4. Tell stories.
Simply saying “I did this/I did that” is not only uncomfortable for many of us, it can be tedious and boring for the other person to listen to. Instead, weave your accomplishments into the context of a story. Better yet, make it a story you’re excited to tell. Excitement, like laughter, is contagious, and people respond to and remember it.
5. Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to promote yourself. In her bestselling book, “Lean In,” Sheryl Sandberg discusses how she used to downplay her success, fearing that she would come across as unlikeable. Finally, she realised her need to be liked by everyone would ultimately be her downfall, preventing her from achieving her goals. Sandberg recalls an early conversation with her boss, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sandberg writes:
“He said that when you want to change things, you can’t please everyone. If you do please everyone, you aren’t making enough progress. Mark was right.”
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