You probably already know that self-promotion is a necessary evil in the workplace.
After all, if you aren’t a vocal advocate for yourself, your work will likely go unnoticed—not because you aren’t doing anything worthy of acknowledgment, but simply because people are busy.
Of course, you probably already know that too. In fact, the busy environment is one reason many people avoid self-promotion. They don’t want to be viewed as wasting other people’s time on such things. As a result, they often hold back and save their personal horn tooting for the annual performance review.
Still, if you want to get noticed and build a powerful professional reputation, you have to speak up—and once a year just isn’t enough.
Here’s the good news:
Self-promotion doesn’t have to be some big, elaborate, time-consuming affair.
In fact, you’re probably missing a lot of golden opportunities to do it in a way that is easy, fast and comfortable for everyone involved.
For example, how many times have you bumped into one of your workplace leaders in the hallway, break room or elevator? In these kinds of situations, most people enjoy some casual, inconsequential conversation. They talk about the weather, their kids, or their plans for the weekend.
Sure, building this kind of pleasant rapport is useful, but it’s not necessarily the most effective use of limited face time.
Then there are those who really squander the opportunity.
“What’s up?” says the leader.
“Oh you know…” they say. “Same old, same old.”
Casual interactions like these are truly invitations for self-promotion. Wasting them is practically criminal for your career.
It doesn’t take more than 20 seconds to respond to a simple inquiry like, “What’s up?” with a thoughtful answer.
For example, imagine saying something like this instead:
“Actually, I just wrapped up that big contract negotiation I’ve been working on for months. It looks like we’ll be saving nearly $20K this year, and that’s just the start. Guess all that time was worth it!”
See the difference? Offering a short, simple answer that highlights a recent accomplishment has the power to leave a lasting, positive impression. Plus, it’s much more interesting than the bland break room banter most people fall into out of sheer habit.
Also read: Build Rapport With Senior Managers
When you share something real and tie it back to tangible business outcomes, leaders will take note. They may even dive deeper into the discussion and want to know details. But, if nothing else, you’ve put a bug in their ear. You’ve used those few moments wisely.
In order to really do this well, you need to be prepared. You should always be able to quickly articulate what you’ve been working on and the results you’ve achieved in a clear and concise manner. That way, when the golden opportunity presents itself, you aren’t mentally racing around trying to think of something.
Keep your eyes and ears open for these kinds of self-promotion opportunities and you’ll probably find they’re abundant. You don’t have to seize on every single one. After all, you don’t want to be “that” guy or gal. But take advantage regularly. Remember to keep it short and simple, though. Time is always of the essence.