Self-promotion is hard. At FinePoint, I teach leaders, founders, and CEOs how to go about it in a strategic and cohesive way. But that doesn't mean it's easy. However, it is important, especially for women.
Not only do we live in a world of constant noise (written and otherwise); it can also feel uncomfortable or embarrassing to tout our accomplishments. So how can you sing your own praises without… screaming?
There is a gender aspect here too. I see many young women who come into my office wanting to work in PR, and yet they have a lot of trouble bragging about their accomplishments and professional strengths, which works against them when they interview for a job. It's important to understand the brand of you; how you show it to the world is just as important. This is true of very successful women too, and I work with a lot of women leaders who want to showcase their professional achievements and gain better visibility. I've worked with and represented many incredible women for whom this is incredibly difficult. You cannot be what you cannot see.
Here are some quick tips I employ with my clients and some things I've employed myself too.
1. Stop thinking "brag" is a dirty word.
I hear lots of "I don't want to brag but," and "I hate to brag but,"--stop it.
Your accomplishments are your accomplishments, and you should be proud of them. There is a difference between rubbing certain things in a friend's face and telling a potential employer or colleague about all the great things you've done. It's OK to brag a little. If you've done the work, there is nothing wrong with bragging.
2. Get excited.
Promoting yourself and showcasing your background can feel very uncomfortable. But don't get passive about it, even if you feel a little embarrassed. If you present that you are embarrassed or uncomfortable around whatever it is you're talking about, it will translate to the person reading or hearing it. Don't say "self-promo alert" or something negative; instead, be positive about what you've done. That will not only be more effective (why would I want to read something written by someone who is embarrassed by their own work?) but also it gets to the point faster.
3. Save a big ask.
When you are promoting and sharing an article, a project, a new client, a new hire, be careful that you don't do it too often. As a rule of thumb, this means no more than one email blast every three weeks. Social sharing you can showcase more often. But save a really big ask from your contacts or Facebook friends (such as "please share this, and here is a link and phrasing to use") for something really big. I'll probably be willing to share something of yours, using my personal networks and attaching my name to it, but I'm not going to do it all the time.
4. Hi, haters.
It's pretty easy to take a shot at someone who has put herself out into the open, in public view. Online, it's so easy to hide behind the screen. And it's easy to read the nasty comments that people make and to internalize them (I purposely don't read mine), but there is no escaping people who say mean things. They come with the territory. So if people are saying not nice things, take it as a positive: At least you're out there and giving them something to talk about.
So you may as well shout.