If you’re like most people, the idea of “self-promotion” sends chills down your spine.
That’s why we’re sharing this 4-part series on the topic. We want to help you feel more confident as you leverage this invaluable career tool.
In truth, there’s a good reason so many people fear self-promotion. Most of us have seen it done poorly at one time or another. As a result, we’ve come to believe that self-promotion inevitably means looking like an arrogant, self-righteous [fill in the blank].
It’s no wonder we dread it. We know we’re supposed to self-promote, but clearly, it can go very, very wrong. Isn’t it better to have no reputation than to have a bad one?
Please don’t fall into this kind of thinking! Self-promotion doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Done in the right way, it can feel natural, authentic and comfortable for everyone involved. You’ll look helpful, valuable, enthusiastic; and you’ll build a positive, strong reputation.
Of course, this requires a shift in perspective for most people. If you currently fear self-promotion, consider these powerful strategies to help you view it in a different light.
It’s Not Just About You
Most people immediately get self-promotion wrong because they approach it with an attitude of “me, me, me.” That’s a surefire way to turn people off. The whole point of self-promotion is that you want people to listen. The best way to do that is to include others.
In the business world, it’s rare that any accomplishment happens without the help of others. So instead of promoting yourself only, discuss the entire team of people that made something happen, along with your own role in the success. Share credit and celebrate the victories of others. Doing so will enhance your own visibility while also demonstrating that you’re not a spotlight hog.
Speak in Facts
Instead of speaking in broad generalities, focus on the facts behind your contributions. Facts are indisputable. They aren’t about judgement; they’re based on tangible evidence.
So, don’t tell people you’re a really great project manager. That’s too general and it’s totally subjective. Instead, tell people about the project you just successfully managed. Talk about what results the project achieved for the business. Discuss the challenges and how you overcame them. These things are not only interesting and useful for others, they’re easier for you to talk about because they’re supported by undeniable facts, not personal beliefs.
Start with Your Own Interests
What excites you about your work? Whatever it is, incorporate that into your self-promotion efforts. After all, if you’re authentically enthusiastic about something, others will pick up on that.
For example, if you’re excited about a new certification you’ve just earned for a certain software, share all the cool things the software can do for your company. Your new certification isn’t the primary focus of the conversation, but you’re still positioning yourself as an expert on this tool. Plus, you’re showing your personal passion for it, which is always an attractive quality.
Make It Valuable for Others
Remember that everyone is selfish to a certain degree. When others are interacting with you in the workplace, they’re always thinking, “How does this apply to me? Why do I care? What value is this in my world?”
To be a successful self-promoter, you have to address these questions. Whatever you’re sharing has to have some value to the person listening.
If you want to establish yourself as being really knowledgeable in a certain area of the business, share that knowledge! Be a resource for your colleagues. Help them become more knowledgeable. Don’t do it from a place of superiority; do it with the intention of helping them succeed. The best self-promoters are also the best helpers.
Watch How Others Do It
Finally, keep your eyes and ears open around the workplace. While the “bad” self-promoters usually stick out in our memory, you’re bound to find some good ones as well. These people are usually more subtle about it. You might not even notice what they’re doing at first. But make note of those who have established strong reputations and watch how they do it. The best way to learn is often through emulation.
I hope you can now see that self-promotion doesn’t have to be something icky. Try implementing these strategies and see how it feels. You may be surprised at how easy it is and how receptive others are.
Now that you’ve conquered the fear, make sure to join us for the next article in this series where we’ll share more self-promotion strategies to help you advance in your career.