Self Promotion as a Strategy
It always surprises me how most people find it easier to speak well of a vegetable peeler or a new shampoo they discovered than to promote themselves and their own skills and ideas.
Despite great successes, a large number of people are still insecure about their talents and abilities.
I think there are two reasons for this. The first is that many of us are shy to be in the spotlight, afraid that it will expose our inadequacies.
The second is that we equate self-promotion with bragging and nobody wants to brag. We are taught that culturally from childhood. Nobody likes a show-off, our mothers remind us. Don’t get a swelled head, our fathers caution.
So we shrug off praise instead of getting it for a written testimonial for our website. We dismiss and diminish our roles in big projects or attribute our success to “luck.” We tell people it was totally our team, even though we were the leader and strategist on the project.
We shy away from opportunities to speak in public about our work because we are embarrassed we will look like we are spotlight hogs. We turn down interviews or give horrible quotes because we could not bring ourselves to think and prepare in advance.
If you cannot address your issues with self-promotion early in your career, you will be limited at every step you take.
From this day forward, accept that there is nothing at all wrong with a level of self-promotion as part of your overall branding and business plan.
You have value, and when you come up with something that adds value to the lives of other people, why be shy about it? Nobody, including yourself, benefits when you insist on thinking small.
Where does it say that to be successful you have to wear a mask or hide in the darkness? Where does it say that everyone is born to sing in a chorus? Where is it written that your vehicle to the stars must have alternating drivers?
Self-promotion is as much a business tool as a piece of technology or a sales contract.
You have to change your mindset and be ready and confident to promote yourself as a regular part of your work life.
What can you do to accomplish that?
Start right now to pay attention to your daily and weekly successes. Keep an “accomplished” list right beside your “to do” list so that when you look to see what has to be done, you can also see what has been completed. Tracking your success like that will build your confidence, which is needed for self-promotion.
Make it clear which of your many skills came into play in completing a project or handling a difficult negotiation. Keep notes about the experience that brought you to this point of achievement.
Keep a success journal to help yourself get ready to have the stories and examples on hand that will be useful to tell in your self-promotion campaign.
You may think that you will remember all the shining moments of your work life, but you won’t. Most of us are programmed to remember more vividly the things that go wrong than the things that go right.
Even when you are working on a team, write in your work journal an outline of the specific contributions you made to the project.
The process of noting these accomplishments and writing about them will solidify them in your mind. Then, when you are at a networking event, a social event or a conference, and someone asks what you have been doing recently, you can mention a recent accomplishment with ease.
Practice having this answer ready because “what are you up to these days” is one of the most frequently asked questions in the world.
You don’t need to give a detailed account of every stage of your project. You just need a couple of casually and sincerely delivered sentences that tell the story of what you did and show that you are an expert in your field.
People enjoy talking with other people who are successful. Deep within us we all want a little of it to rub off on us. But if you are so hesitant that you can’t explain your value, the reverse is true. People will disengage from you and head off to find someone more interesting and successful.
I recommend that you have three recent success stories that you can weave into conversation if the opportunity arises. That also gives you a repertoire to meet the circumstances of the person with whom you are conversing.
If you are talking to someone in sales, your story can be about sales. If you are talking to a strategist, your story can be about strategy, and so on. Practice your stories until they come out naturally.
Paula Morand, CSP is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and bold impact. 23 years, 25,000 clients, 19 countries, 11 books, former radio personality, 10x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
To check out Paula’s book, “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
Speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.