Great shameless self-promoters know how to do this. They know that if they don’t toot their own horn, who will? I’m willing to bet that you were taught that it is rude to blow your own horn, right? Wrong! If you do it right!
Baseball great, Dizzy Dean, once said, “It ain’t bragging if you done it.”
In her book, “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It,” Peggy Klaus wrote, “Good self-promoters know this: They’re always planting seeds for the future. Karen, forty-two, a division head for a major global food corporation, is a good example. At an informal gathering, when asked how long she had been in the business and what she did, instead of the typical “I’ve worked with my company for fifteen years and run its dairy division,” she responded:
Who ever thought I’d be in the food industry, especially after my mom forced me all those years to eat Cheez Whiz? [Everyone at the table erupted with laughter.] It must have been fate, but after I graduated with my MBA from Columbia, I got a call from a friend who told me about a few interesting openings. I began working for my company in 1985 in brand management, working my way up to marketing director.
Two years ago, one of the company’s other divisions was really in the hole and they gave me the assignment of turning it around. I didn’t really know where to start, so I began talking to people on the floor. A lot of them had great ideas. From there, I got everyone involved and formed teams to pull in the various disciplines and put together a strategic vision. Today, I am the proud head of a dairy division that is number two in profitability worldwide.”
You may want to take a moment and analyze how Karen cleverly got everyone’s attention, bragged about herself in a great story about her work and did it without turning anyone off. She made it sound like she was sharing information. Knowing when and how to brag is a learned art.
Klaus says, “Humility does not get you noticed. Very few of us ever learn how to reconcile the virtue of humility with the need to promote ourselves. When education and training do focus on selling ourselves, we’re taught to pay the greatest care and attention to our wardrobe, our hair, our hygiene, our table manners, and our résumé. Get those things right, it’s a slam dunk! There’s very little instruction on selling ourselves with ease and sincerity. Somehow we think if we personalize our message or get too excited, we are not being professional, when in fact this is exactly what makes us effective self-promoters.”
Smart self-promoters show up prepared. They value face time with others and are always ready with stories about themselves that break through the verbal clutter.
If you do great work and no one knows about it… what then? Most networkers are lousy at talking about themselves and their accomplishments. They remain quiet thinking that others will toot their horn for them. Life doesn’t work that way.
Dare to promote yourself. Stop apologizing for your successes! Promoting yourself is important if you want to move up in the world. You are most likely to get a few “atta girl” and “atta boys” from your networking buddies. Celebrate your successes. Do it gracefully and tastefully. And if you learn to brag with finesse, you may find others begin to also come out of their shell. It’s a freeing experience.
It’s time for you to get over the self-promotion myths that hold you back. Learn the art of the brag. As Klaus explains, bragging is an art, an individual form of self-expression and communication that, once mastered, is the key to opening doors.
When someone says something good about you, what do you do? Many people, especially women, have the tendency to deflect compliments that come their way. Instead, smile, look the person in the eye and say, “Thanks. Coming from you that really means a lot.” You’ll be taking the person’s compliment graciously while flattering him or her at the same time.
Most people think they have two choices when it comes to self-promotion: remaining obscure or sounding obnoxious. Neither works.
Move forward. I hereby give you permission to say what you should be saying!
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Visit ” Networking HQ!”
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