Self-promotion is a sticky subject, especially for us women.
We were taught to be humble and to be likable. I would get nervous when I self-promoted because I didn’t want to come across as boastful or cocky. I also had a fear that when I say I’m great at something, someone could say, “No, you’re not.”
There are a lot of mixed feelings that come with self-promotion, but there’s also something that won’t come without it. And that is growth.
Self-promotion is key in helping people understand what you’re good at, what you want to do more of, and why you should be able to do more of that thing.
We must learn to advocate for ourselves and it doesn’t have to feel gross.
Think of it positively, as a good way to bring more value to the world, because when you get yourself out there, you are sharing and helping others understand where you can actually contribute.
You can learn to promote and endorse yourself in two steps.
Step 1: Learn to accept compliments.
Start with accepting compliments with gratitude. I had a hard time and I still have a hard time accepting compliments. I am continuously working on this. If someone says I did a great job, I usually respond, “Oh, you could probably do a great job at that too.”
I always have this urge to downplay a compliment. I am actively working on it. I try to say thank you, just accept it and receive it.
A compliment is a gift.
When someone gives you a compliment, just accept it. Because if you can’t accept compliments, it’s going to be very hard for you to talk about yourself positively.
The more you accept it, the closer you are to believing it. Once you believe it, the sky’s the limit.
Step 2: Start talking about how amazing you are.
There are three ways to talk about your skills without sounding cocky.
The first way is to take advantage of natural opportunities to self-promote. A natural way is when somebody allows you to share anything about yourself, share something positive.
If someone asks you how you are doing, don’t just go with the default “Fine” and “Good.” Keep it moving instead and say,
- “Oh, I’m great. I just kicked butt in this presentation.”
- “Oh, I’m awesome. I just made this Excel sheet that is so enlightening, it’s going to give me all the answers that I need.”
- “I’m amazing. I just had the best meeting with this business partner and I’m sure we’re moving forward with that sale.”
- “I just had a great meeting with one of my teammates and I was able to encourage and motivate them and I know that they are going to do better at what they do.”
When someone asks you how you are, tell them about something great that you’ve done. It’s a natural opportunity to share what you’re passionate about.
Another way to do that is to tell a story. Saying you’re awesome is not as memorable as a story might be. When someone asks you, “How’d the presentation go?”
✗ Oh, I knocked it out of the park.
✓ I was so nervous. I worked on the presentation all night and when I walked into the room, my hands were sweating. I was looking at the CEO and looking at the CFO and thinking to myself, can you really do this? But because I had put in the preparation and I really knew my stuff, I was able to deliver. I answered every question that they had. I even made some jokes and made people laugh.
That is one example of sharing about yourself naturally. It won’t sound arrogant and it’s going to be much more interesting to the person you’re sharing it with. It’ll be memorable to them and more valuable to you. It helps build relationships because everybody loves a good story.
The third way to speak about yourself excitedly.
When you walk into a room, share the positive emotions you’re feeling. Your energy makes a huge difference when you’re self-promoting. If you don’t sound like you believe it, then people aren’t going to believe what you’re saying. Let people feel your enthusiasm.
Remember that when you self-promote, you are offering to add value to your workplace and to your colleagues. So, go ahead and talk about the things you’re great at.
I want you to think about one big accomplishment that you’ve achieved that represents something you want to do more of.
Maybe you negotiated a contract in another language, maybe you spoke in front of a crowd, maybe you were able to manage a team – whatever you want to do more of, think about it.
Write down the story that you will tell others when they ask you how you’re doing. “I’m great. I was just remembering this time that I…”
Run with that story, write it down and then practice saying it. This is how you get comfortable with talking positively about yourself. You are amazing and you should speak positively of yourself.
The next time that you have the opportunity to share with someone, you won’t hesitate anymore.