How to do self-promotion and still respect yourself
The more senior you get, and if you're aspiring to even more senior positions, the more important it is to be able to share with people what you do and what you know and the value you bring.
Ideally, you'd have people see you in action, but that's not always possible. So no matter what we're doing, we are going to have to engage in some form of self promotion.
For some people, they're naturals. Lucky them, right?
For most of us, this is something that's hard. In fact, sometimes it can feel embarrassing or unseemly. I even have one client who tells me he thinks of it as these people swanning around. How unattractive is that, right?
But you know what? It doesn't have to be that way.
It's all about the how, two kinds of how:
- How you think about it, which is what I call “how you frame it”, and then
- How do you actually do it.
Let's talk about both of those things.
So first, three ideas for how you can frame it in a more energising way.
How to think about self-promotion
- The first way is think about it as you are advertising your team.
It's your responsibility, in fact, to help your team be successful and look good, and your team can't always do this themselves because they don't travel in the same senior circles that you do. So think of it not as yourself but it's for your team.
- The second way to frame it is to think about as you're simply keeping others informed.
Unless you're working with mind readers, you've got to tell them what's going on and why that's valuable. In fact, think of it as you're really being helpful to them because they can take this information and probably either do their jobs better or feel inspired that someone, your group has achieved this success and maybe they can actually do that too.
Or maybe it's about just giving them information that will help them look smart in front of their clients, but you're helping them by sharing that information.
And you might want to set some triggers for yourself so that you actually do that. So triggers such as every time you finish a project, that might be a trigger to say, “Ah, who can I help by keeping them informed about this?”
Or your trigger might be every time that you discover a shortcut or a better way to do something or bring in a piece of business. You get the idea.
- The third way to reframe is to think about it as you're just helping your boss to look good.
You're sharing some nuggets with your boss that they can pass on to their senior management.
You're arming your boss with proof points and I know that, when I was in senior positions, it was really useful for me to hear these kinds of nuggets from my direct reports so that I can demonstrate the success of our whole unit and also show momentum.
So go out there and share some of those nuggets.
So now let's move into the other how. How do you actually do it?
How to do self-promotion
Here are three quick thoughts.
- Keep it factual. That's the best way to feel like you're not boasting and you're not bragging, but rather you're just giving them the facts.
So let's use the example of somebody on your team, let's call him Jerome, who has just done something really successful with a project and it's based on a new strategy that you started at the beginning of the year.
So your keeping it factual might sound something like, and this is talking to your boss, “Hey, Jerome and his team just completed project XYZ and that delivered P&L of A.”
- Then the second part of how is to put it into context. Give them the takeaways and the why it's important.
So you might say, “You know what, that's the third win we've had using this new strategy and it's also put us ahead of budget. By the way, you might want to go and congratulate Jerome. I know it would mean a lot to him coming from you.”
- Then the third part of the how is just keep it quick.
Remember, you're delivering a nugget, a proof point. And if your boss, or whoever else wants to hear more, they will ask you. But in the meantime, you want to keep it quick, easy, so that it becomes part of your normal repertoire of behaviours.
So get out there, share what you know and what you've done and start helping people by:
- Advertising your team
- Keeping others informed, and
- Making your boss look good.
I'm going to leave you with this question:
What are your best strategies for self promotion in a way that feels comfortable to you?
And then come check out our new Facebook page and share some of your thoughts there.