Every one of us is hardworking and motivated, doing her best to make goals into realities. But while hard work is essential to our success, if you're going to achieve the things you put your mind to, you need to make those results visible. But how do you brag without being obnoxious? Because in the end, sharing your successes is just plain boasting, right?
I think that's a terrible way to think of things. We're always very quick to self-depreciate and to highlight what went wrong (just think of happy hour pity parties and phrases like "Oh yea? Well listen to this,") but why is it seen as obnoxious to do the very opposite and celebrate our accomplishments? In the end, it all depends on how you go about doing it.
A braggart is someone who is overly prideful with what he or she has done, and makes others around them feel worse about themselves for not being in the same position. But sharing your stellar results doesn't have to be done in an abrasive manner. Below are seven tips on how to self-promote without seeming like a brag — no more keeping your head down!
1. Focus On The Impact Of Your Work
A lot of us feel uncomfortable about bragging because it feels obnoxious. You imagine this smug look on your face, with an eyebrow cocked that says, "Look what I did that you didn't." But it doesn't have to be that way. Instead, focus on the impact that your work has made, and talk about it. We're always quick to talk about our faliures (just think back to all those break room moan-lunches and pity party margarita rounds), so why not our successes, too?
Anne Libby, CEO of Management Consulting and career writer at career development site The Muse, pointed out, "Many women fear that they’ll seem like they’re bragging or self-serving. But keep in mind that self-promotion isn’t actually about you. It’s about the impact of your work — and that’s not something you want to hide."
You're not telling people about your successes because you want to rub it in their face. You're telling them because your work has made a difference and, especially if you're at work, they should know about that impact.
2 Put The Brag In The Details
It can feel awkward tooting your own horn, but if someone asks for the details, go and give it to them! Don't gloss over all the effort and hard-work it took to get the results you got, but don't go on a spiel as long and grand as the Iliad, either. Keep your details to the point, but do them justice.
Personal development counselor Caris Thetford suggested, "To promote yourself effectively, you need to explain what you’re doing without being obnoxious. So, for example, don’t dominate a team meeting with a lengthy and detailed description of every single thing you did over the past week. However, don’t pass up opportunities to discuss important accomplishments, either — simply use a well-thought out, succinct description." It's all about hitting the right balance — create a short elevator pitch for what you accomplished and share it when you have the opportunity. Remember, people should be able to know what stellar work you've done.
3. Become An Expert In Your Field
If you don't feel comfortable sneaking in humble-brags here and there, go a different way and instead show you're an expert in your field. Go to your social networks and share articles that pertain to what you accomplished and pitch into conversations with your own opinions and experiences, spreading the awareness that you know your stuff. And it doesn't have to be limited to platforms like Twitter and Facebook, either.
Libby suggested, "Beyond the virtual world, you can promote yourself as an expert by writing or speaking about your area of expertise. Industry publications and websites often need contributors — check out the guidelines for the ones in your field, and propose a topic or submit an article." By contributing to the narrative in your field, you're establishing you know your stuff and building credibility without out-right bragging.
4. Offer What You Learned Along The Way
A great time to share with someone all that you accomplished is after they paid you a compliment. The reason being that it means they've noticed your hard work and have been impressed with it on some level, which leads to the fact that they'd probably be interested in hearing more about it.
For example, in a scenario where someone tells you you did a great job with a fundraiser, Thetford suggested,
"A better way to promote yourself (while still being gracious) would be to say, 'Thanks! I’ll be sure to pass your praise along to the rest of the team. You know, I really had no idea how much behind-the-scenes work goes into booking a venue and band for such a large event. It really helped me learn a lot about managing timelines and professional contracts.'" Your self-promotion was just a natural part of the conversation, but it also let the person know everything that went into such an accomplishment. It's not necessary to pretend that what you worked hard for is "no big deal" — if someone pays you a compliment, agree that you earned it.
5. Create A Network That Will Do Some Bragging For You
Who says you're the only one that can toot your own horn? To help spread the word of your expertise and reputation, develop a network of like-minded professionals that'll help spread it for you, and you for them.
Libby mentioned, "Whether its five people or 50, consider how you can create or foster a group that’s dedicated to sharing resources and helping each other succeed. Consider a now-famous group of female healthcare executives who came together in the 1970s to regularly share information about their industry. Their goal was to help each other become visible leaders in their organizations and fields, and they met and shared ways to promote themselves, as well as to promote one another." You'll be each others advocates and promoters, and the neat thing is that when a brag comes out of a colleague's mouth it's no longer a brag — it's a shining referral.
6. Be Grateful For Your Success
Sometimes you did something amazing and you have to tell people about it, without being prompted to and without a strategic game plan. But during those moments you deserve to sing your accomplishments from the roof tops — you worked hard for it and you're proud of it! But without coming across as pompous or self-serving, show some gratitude for your success. After all, it's not often that we earn something 100 percent on our own.
John Corcoran, business writer and contributor for Business Insider, shared, "By any measure, he had been quite successful as an artist. But I think what made him so memorable without seeming like he was boasting was that he was sincerely grateful for his own success." Offer that you know you could't have done it on your own, and that you owe some of your success to the help and support of others. It'll make others happy for you, and only hope you keep moving on up.
7. Help Others With What You're Good At
Another great way to self-promote without outright bragging is to help others in areas you excel at. Career writer Jane Bianchi at career development site Fast Company wrote, "When you go out of your way to be generous, it builds your reputation as a kind and resourceful professional—and that sticks with people."
For example, if you're an ace researcher offer to help your colleague on an especially heavy article. If you revolutionized the workflow system at your office, lend a hand to a few people that are struggling with getting on top of their deadlines. If you recently helped smooth down the feathers of a seriously pissed client, help a sales rep in the same situation with pointers. That way you're a life-savor and showing that you're accomplished in what you do.
Everyone deserves to know the wonderful things you've worked hard to accomplish, so use these tactful tips and let them all know!