Why self promotion is crucial to your progression and how to do it gracefully

October 25, 2022 By

Self promotion is a phrase that fills a lot of us with a mild sense of nausea. How do I self-promote without sounding boastful, bragging or cringing? How do I self-promote if I’m introverted? What do I even say about myself? We know it’s an important skill to master, but it can one that women generally find difficult.

Catalyst Research Report found that when women are most proactive in making their achievements visible, they advance further, were more satisfied with their careers and had greater compensation growth than women who were less focused on calling attention to their successes.

So how do we do it authentically and without feeling as though we want the ground to swallow us up when someone asks us to tell them how work is going, or what we’ve achieved on a project, even if we’re the most introverted person in the room?

Michelle Redfern, executive coach says it all starts with authenticity.

“To be authentic, you have to be fully aware of what makes you great.” Says Michelle.

“Look deep inside and try to identify what is the greatness inside of me that I haven’t seen for a while and others probably definitely haven’t seen? It’s time for you to chisel away and find your greatness.” But how do we know what it is? Michelle says that although it takes practise, it can be done.

Know yourself

“You need to know yourself. There are two steps to knowing yourself – recognising your attributes and demonstrating your strengths. Have a think about this:

What are the attribute that you draw upon and for which you are recognised? What are your strengths and values? Write it down, make a list and reflect on it. Recognise your attributes. They could be that you are a good listener, credible, collaborative, decisive. What words can you attribute for yourself that make up your DNA as a person?”

Identify your strengths

Next you need to identify your strengths. Some examples might be management skills, master a networking, strategic thinking, people skills, professional skills. A good place to start is the Gallup Strength Finder which helps you understand what makes you you.

“When you have a list of your attributes and strengths, you need to practise!” Says Michelle. “Try finishing the sentence, ‘I am known for my…’

You need to know yourself because if you don’t know yourself, you can’t communicate this to anyone else.

Now you have your attributes and your skills, you can also add in your accomplishments. “Make yourself a brag book – it might be an email folder with testimonials from customers, or a dashboard of your accomplishments, or just a list.”  This helps you with ideas about to what to say when you need to self promote. For example, what is the best compliment a boss have ever given you? What training and education have you completed that helps you drive the business forward. What skills have you developed?

When to self-promote?

Once you have this, you are ready to self promote. And you need to do it regularly, says Michelle. “Your good work is not enough, unfortunately. What bosses tell me when speaking about amazing women colleagues is that they are fabulous hard workers but they never talk about what they’ve done right – they’re too focused on their work – which isn’t a bad thing, but in order to progress, they need to talk about what they’re doing too.”

So, when to self promote? “There are lots of opportunities, for example, when you get a new boss, when you attend a town hall meeting, in one to one meetings, in progress updates, online, your CV, at skip-level meetings. If you have an opportunity to take the business forward through your thought leadership you need to share that!”

Self promotion skills can be learnt! And can be mastered. So next time you find yourself in a position where you can talk about your strengths, attributes and accomplishments, you should have the tools to be able to do it authentically.

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