Ready to self-promote? Why would you? You will need to self-promote if ever you want to move up a career ladder or move into a desired position, or land a job or sell your services or product.
How do you do it? Self-promotion is the ability to let others know your strengths, capabilities, and accomplishments.
A study by the employee research and consulting firm, Towers Perrin-ISR, found that, “For women, it’s all about what’s good for the company. For men, it’s more about strategies for advancement.” That puts women at a disadvantage when it comes to self-promotion. It does require a willingness to have a plan to show yourself and your talents.
Women and some men, tend to feel awkward even when it is appropriate to present themselves in the best possible light. “Silly little me,” is often easier for women to say than, “My strengths include…”
Then add to that, if you have an introverted preference self-promoting may seem impossible. Fortunately, the book, Self-Promotion for Introverts by Nancy Ancowitz provides guidance including building on strengths, setting clear goals, and making a plan.
Shift to Self-Promotion
For years as a therapist and woman, my attention was focused on acknowledging others. When I made a career shift into professional speaking, I felt uncomfortable when told I needed to promote and sell myself and serves. If you’re like me, your initial reaction might be to judge this whole idea of self-promotion as crass. But we’re not talking about in-your-face pushiness or arrogance. We’re talking about informing others.
You Can Light the Way to a Solution
It is to your advantage to self-promote. It is also an advantage to others. Why and how? Think of a lighthouse keepers. They are paid to shine a light, to provide direction to safe harbor. Rocky shores are a problem for boats. Lighthouses provide solutions and save lives. The keepers put others in danger if they forget to turn their lights on. very day, we have an opportunity to shine our light; to sell or promote an idea, action, service or product.
After hanging around marketing and sales experts in the professional speaking community, I began to think of self-promotion as a way to be helpful.
It is a way to inform others about solutions to their angst. Hopefully, this article provides a solution for those reluctant to bring themselves forward by self-promotion. Forgive me; I know this is a cliche. But it works well here. Let’s say you had the cure for cancer. Wouldn’t you promote your solution?
The World Will Be a Better Place
You have experience, information and answers that others don’t. By announcing your offerings, your organization, the world can become a better place. The other aspect of letting yourself be known is deciding on the image you want to present. You can choose any picture you want from Rock Star to Geek. How you dress, walk, talk and relate gives a message. There are endless choices. Think of a car. What model and make would you be? Would you choose a sensible compact version or a sports car? When you buy a new car, you make sure it is shiny and clean. Then you show it off to your friends and family.
Whatever illusion or image of yourself you decide to present, do it to the max. We benefit by doing the same with our abilities. The basic guideline for résumé writing will also help you request a raise or a promotion. It will also assist you in a job interview or when starting your own business. The basic guideline is this—always present the best possible picture of yourself.
Self-promotion when done in the service of others takes away from the possibility of arrogant and aggressive pitching. It is true that aggressive promotion is offensive. Just remember the last time you cleverly escaped a pushy sales representative. There are ways to blow your own horn and still have people like you.
Here are some ideas from my book, From Woe to WOW: How Resilient Women Succeed at Work:
1. Shift from talking about your responsibilities to telling stories about your accomplishments—from, “I have responsibility for my department’s data inputting,” to, “Last week my manager had a rush job. I was working on another project but I managed to accurately input 5,000 plus words and format the annual report. Wait until you see it!”
2. Use numbers when possible. “I was surprised to realize that I averaged $10,000 in monthly sales for the company last year.”
3. Talk with passion about what you have read or learned. “The university class on Positive Inquiry gave me many tools that I now use to improve my staff ’s morale.”
4. Offer help to others. “I will gladly forward you my article that shows how to do that.”
5. Speak up and volunteer when you hear opportunities to use your strengths. “I can do that! It’s similar to a project I did last year.”
6. Think of yourself as a helpful sales representative. You are selling your ideas and worth.
7. Find a colleague who will promote you and, in return, do likewise. Find friends and clients who will endorse you and your work.
8. Make a list of your major achievements.
9. Journal your daily accomplishments.
10. Bring treats to share when a major task or project is completed.
In what way do you self-promote?
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