You know those people who don’t really work that hard, but know how to talk a big game and frankly are so good at it? Oh, how I envy them sometimes.
A lot of the times I can be my own worst enemy. Is there such a thing as being too modest? Growing up, my parents always taught us to be humble and modest. While they were absolutely right to teach us this, being modest does you no favors in the work place–especially as a woman.
There are few things I truly hate in this world: spiders, waking up early on Saturday mornings and talking about myself. The thought of talking about my accomplishments and bragging about myself and what I do makes me so uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, there are many woman who share these feelings. Is this why women still make less money than men? Why women are still severely underrepresented in C-suite and upper management positions?
Someone recently told me I need to shift the way I think about self-promotion. It’s not about bragging or tooting your own horn.
The secret to successful self-promotion is don’t focus on YOU, focus on your IDEAS. Self-promotion is the art of spreading ideas, concepts, and a greater vision.
The art of self-promotion can be a very natural practice and doesn’t need to be a demanding or a grueling process.
What you need to remember is that promotion is a powerful tool that you can use to set yourself apart from your competition. It will help you gain access to the networks and information that continually impact your career.
If self-promotion is imperative to moving up in your career, why is it still so hard for women to do?
Here are the stats from Forbes: In Fortune 500 firms, 15 percent of senior leaders and 3 percent of CEO’s are women. Women have earned more college degrees than men since the mid-90s and nearly 40 percent of MBA students are women. Women also make up 50 percent of the paid workforce.
Like I said, over-qualified and underrepresented.
Women often view self-promotion as daunting, annoying, and even show boating. Women who find self-promotion as a daunting task may be concerned about hurting other people’s feelings. They are hesitant to self-promote because they do not want to isolate less-successful people.
In our society, women are often penalized for self-promotion and are even perceived as pushy or outspoken. Because of this we tend to pursue other, less effective methods of self-promotion. Many women also still believe that their talent and hard work will be enough to get them ahead. WRONG!
You know that person that does the bare minimum, but yet management thinks they can do no wrong? Yeah that person, let’s call her Barb. Barb does a few things every so often that adds value to the business, meanwhile you bust your a** everyday going above and beyond, but you feel like a lot of it goes unnoticed. That is because Barb over hear never misses an opportunity to bring up her successful projects. While you and some co-workers find her painfully annoying and condescending (let’s be honest, she kind of is), management loves her. Be Barb.
Self-promotion is critical for your success regardless of what position you are in or aiming for in an organization. So to help you get over your self-promotion fears and into the Barb mindset, here are a few quick tips:
- Be confident – if you aren’t inspired by your ideas or actions, no one else will be either.
- Play to your strengths –learn and focus on your individual strengths and leverage them. Identify your strengths and focus your strategy with a clear focus.
- Let your accomplishments speak for you – don’t wait for the annual performance review or team meeting. As soon as you accomplished a great result, send your manager a brief email summarizing the outcome as soon as it happens. This can be hard for women because we see it as bragging, but remember that self-promotion isn’t just about you, it is about the impact of your work.
- Decide what you want to be known for – figure out, then promote, what sets you apart. Be known for doing one or two things at a superior level.
Most importantly, women best at self-promotion are the ones that are interested in others successes and show it by starting conversations. Crazy concept, I know. When you share something about yourself, you are finding a way to connect to others. These connections will propel your forward–past the Barbs of the world.
Self-promotion doesn’t mean you are a show-off. Self-promotion doesn’t mean you are over-confident. Self-promotion doesn’t mean your are narcissistic. Got it? Good!
Self-promotion shows others your value in the workplace and is a crucial element to your success. Go forth and talk about your work, your ideas–share your vision!