When I talk to groups on personal branding, there is a level of discomfort that participants frequently express about self-promotion. At the same time, there is an understanding that expecting others to communicate your value and desired next steps carries significant risk. Who better than you knows what you’ve accomplished and where you want to go? So, how do you promote yourself and feel good about it?
Look for Opportunities
Self-promotion doesn’t happen in a vacuum or without context. You don’t wake up one morning and decide that today is the day you’re going to promote yourself. Letting others know about your accomplishments usually happens in the context of a performance review, a promotional opportunity or when interviewing for a new job. Look at these situations as the chance to showcase what you’ve done.
Take the Emphasis Off You
When you connect your accomplishments to business outcomes and their importance, it’s not self-serving. Saving an organization time or money, developing new business, opening new markets and contributing to increased revenues that resulted from your actions demonstrates your value. If you think of self-promotion in terms of your business impact, you shine the spotlight on results, not only yourself.
When someone compliments you for a job well done, resist the urge to brush it off. If you’ve been recognized for giving an excellent presentation, helped a medicine make it to clinical trials, or closed a new deal, don’t follow it up by saying, “Oh, it was nothing or I wasn’t sure I could pull it off.“ Instead, just say “thank you.” If you discredit yourself, you diminish your achievements and convey that your success may have been an accident.
Recruit Others to Assist You
If you want to bring visibility to an achievement or build consensus around an idea you want others to adopt, don’t go it alone. Particularly in group situations where the most vocal people tend to get all the air time, line your ducks in advance by asking colleagues to speak up on your behalf. Often the best way to share an accomplishment you want others to know about is to ask a trusted co-worker or manager to share it. By building internal alliances, you can assist others to gain recognition as well as yourself.
Let Others Speak for You
LinkedIn is a powerful platform for others to promote you without you having to say a word. Asking clients or colleagues to write a recommendation or endorse you for a skill or strength is an excellent way to highlight your capabilities. The more specific the endorsement of your work, the more powerful the impact. When the comment about your accomplishment comes from another person, it lends a valuable level of objectivity.
Self-promotion is not the same as bragging. When you talk about the business results you’ve achieved, it becomes a strategic conversation. If you plan in advance how you want to communicate, the opportunity to choose your words is yours. So go ahead and talk about the achievements that make you proud and have made an impact.
What self-promotional strategies have worked for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.