Thu. Feb 21st, 2019

Tactful Bragging for Self-Promotion

Quickly revise what happens to many of us when it comes to self-promotion. We get caught off guard, we have not given our responses any thought, and therefore we have just nothing substantial to say on the spot. Tactful Bragging is about making a connection with the person you’re interacting with, while sharing something about yourself that will help you stand out. If you want to grab a promotion, cast a wider net. As you begin to get more senior, your manager alone can’t get you promoted or get you a raise. They need support from others, including their boss and peers, who have interacted with you and agree that you are ready for the next level.

Peggy Klaus, in her book BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Horn Without Blowing It, says that

Bragging in today’s culture is not a choice, it’s a necessity.

Know the difference between bragging and self-promotion. Self-promotion is educating RELEVANT people about your skills and the value that you bring to an organization or marketplace. Bragging is over expressing your value to relevant and irrelevant audiences for the purposes of making yourself feel secure or superior. Tactful bragging or Self-Promotion is a daily practice. It is much less effective to plead your case for a raise if you have not been promoting yourself all year long. Your manager will have to process and verify all that you share with him/her. We may think that our work will get us noticed, but the data doesn’t lie. Without practicing self-promotion, we run the risk of making significantly less money than we could–– or should––over the course of our careers. A successful brag, would have a few components, in fact three important ones.

Focus on results versus titles:

Many people think, just because they have an executive title, that they can do just about anything. Ending up with embarrassment by their peers. Describe a little bit of how you do what you do versus given your job title. For example, when someone in sales management is asked for what they do it’s better to say, “I lead a sales team that scored “five national accounts last year,” versus saying, “I’m a project manager.”

Be careful not to give others your due credit in lieu of office empathy. Research shows that when women give too many kudos to the team, people subconsciously wonder if they can repeat the performance again without that team. Don’t fall into that trap! Use “I” at least once when sharing achievements.

Focus on process versus job description:

Start with passion and enthusiasm. What would you share with friends and family about your job? Start by sharing achievements within this context and they will be taken as enthusiasm for your job. Try something like, “I’m having a really good day because…” add in your achievement and then end with “and it’s also great for Jane Doe and the rest of the team because… which is satisfying for me as well.”

Related: Conversation Skills

This is similar to the introduction of your self-promotion, but it goes a little deeper into the logistics of what you accomplish daily. Caution that the level of tactful bragging you do might depend on the occasion and the overall timing. If you’re talking to key company representatives at a social event, it’s appropriate for you to delve into logistics of your work. Always read your audience, and self-promote accordingly. Back to the project manager being asked to describe what he does, he’s better off saying that he manages by promoting autonomy and creativity for his team to reach their highest potential, versus saying that he oversees staff in five different regions.

Related: Communication Tips

However, when it comes to a raise, do your research and be prepared to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to ask for more than you want. Be aggressive (otherwise you won’t get what you want), but do it in a way that shows you value the relationship and demonstrate how your ask is good for the company. Get rid of the guilt. Most of us are significant breadwinners for our families, so think about it that way: You aren’t doing it to pat yourself on the back––you are doing it because it furthers your career which supports you and your family.

Loop back to your audience:

Tactful bragging belongs in the category of networking, connecting and building rapport when you describe your accomplishments and methods it’s always a good idea to reflect back on your listener. Find the right loop back, to bring them in, and connect the dots. If you’re worried about being labeled as pushy, try this: Talk about your work and success, but also refer to how happy it makes your client/team/organization. When you shift the focus to how your work benefits the broader community, you neutralize the potential likability backlash.

Ask for more feedback. Make regular, informal asks: When coming out of a meeting, ask your manager, “How do you think that went? I would love some feedback.” Then, follow up with a quick email thanking them for their feedback. As soon as people know you are open to it, they will feel more comfortable giving it!

Related:  Tact of asking questions

Did they hint at what they do? Is there something you discovered that the two of you have in common, or do you have an inkling as to what they may be interested in? The sales manager who talks about his team may loop back by saying, “I heard you mention earlier “that you work with a team, “do you find that autonomy is a motivator?” Think about ways to integrate your achievements into the conversation. One approach is to ask other people what they are working on and use it as an opportunity to respond with what you are working on. If they have any social skills at all they will ask about you!

Conclusions about Tactful Bragging:

The definition of Self-Promotion revolves around persuading others to act on our behalf through different means with specific words and images. Stay on your toes in social situations, and practice your skills as much as possible. You will only get better and more comfortable with time. Take care of yourself. You can’t be effective at self-promotion if you don’t feel good! Remember! self-promotion = tactful bragging = compensation. The difference could literally be millions at retirement.


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