Most people have come across someone that likes to brag. Whether it's about their business opportunities, where they've traveled, or even how they network, they're usually irritating instead of inspiring. Maybe you've even felt that the way you presented your accomplishments came off as bragging and didn't result in much of a positive response.
The truth is that, yes, self-promotion can come off as bragging. While it's likely not intentional, it still requires attention if you're looking to make a good impression, both online and in-person. Here are several ways you can promote yourself without feeling or coming off like you are bragging.
Focus on your intention.
What are you looking to promote? Who will benefit from the promotion? If you're looking to promote an idea you've had that will help a large group of people, focus on the main mission.
If you're looking to promote yourself and how you've been able to grow a company, focus on the skills and the growth. In other words, show them the bigger picture and how you made things happen. Look at how it grew, how it developed, and the process it took to get there and what it will take to help it grow.
It starts teetering towards bragging when the intention focuses more on pride and being excessively boastful about the accomplishments you've made. Self-promotion usually has facts, witnesses, and actions to back up the claims. Bragging is more about hyping yourself and might not have much to hold it up.
Avoid using words that dismiss others.
One of the things people who brag a lot do is use a lot of language that focuses on them. For instance, you'll often hear them talk only of themselves and ignore the contributions of the other employees, even if it was a group effort. And if it was something that they did, they will make sure that the focus stays on them and not on anything else.
In order to not be this person, think of all of the efforts that went into the work and who did what. Perhaps you were the only one who made the difference. Even if that's the case, be careful not to use a lot of "I" statements but rather "we" statements. Explain how your actions benefited the company and how you came to the conclusion that this would play into the strengths of the team.
Focusing on how you helped and how it made a difference is key to keeping it more promotion friendly. Pointing out what you did, what the group did, then how both efforts made it a success can be a helpful strategy. While it's good to explain your thoughts and how your skills led you to help in a specific way, avoid only focusing on yourself for too long.
If you start feeling like you're talking about yourself too much, throw in some data that is neutral.
Stick to the main points.
Whether you're verbally explaining your accomplishments or highlighting them online, try to stick to the main points. Keeping to the relevant facts can keep you on track to self-promoting over bragging. Unless it's called for, talking about or posting every little detail can make people stop listening. Less is more sometimes.
Make it a narrative.
Explaining your accomplishments in the form of a story can help you better present it without it coming off as an opportunity to brag. It can also show the struggle that you and the company had to overcome to eventually get to success.
If you will be presenting your accomplishments to different people, you may want to practice your elevator pitch. Ask someone you trust for constructive criticism to help you avoid presenting your work as a brag. A little humor can also help.
Modesty is key. Don't lie but do show your competence and value. Help them to understand why you are an asset that can be a source of good to the team and company. Peppering in data and information can help solidify your presentation.