My friend and I were recently discussing self-promotion. We all know it is important in business to make people aware of our services and our credentials. And we certainly know how *eyeroll* it can be when we are listening to someone drone on about themselves. So how we can promote ourselves without sounding like total a-holes? As women (especially), we find ourselves more reluctant to toot our own horns than men. We know we are making huge generalizations, but it seems women struggle with this more than men. Why?
CEO and Executive Coach, Bonnie Marcus, claims this has to do with a woman’s upbringing, “We were told to stay in the background, to be humble, not to brag and that it’s good to wait until someone recognizes us.” She explains how this becomes hardwired into our subconscious and that these deep-seeded beliefs hold us back when we need to push forward. Furthermore, she suggests PRACTICE! Self-promotion is an art and feeling guilty for taking up space is so last year. If you have trouble promoting yourself or have been told you don't come off well, here are a few tips from the team at Cream.HR:
1. Serve without “selling.” After LISTENING to someone in conversation offer solutions. Serve up some answers rather than trying to sell, sell, SELL! Maybe, the person you are speaking to needs something other than what you provide. This is your opportunity to do the next suggestion on the list…
2. Let others speak for you and promote other people. You don’t always have to be the one talking about your expertise. Take a buddy to networking events and let them toot your horn. It might make things easier in the beginning. Also, make sure to recommend other people and other products. Be real in the conversation. Maybe your friend’s company is the one who can solve this person’s problem. That’s REAL and genuine networking. They WILL remember you for being the one who gave sound advice and who really listened to them. This is how word of mouth works. They will be handing over YOUR card along with a positive endorsement. Promote your friends online and ask for them to do the same. Fill out Google Reviews and ask for them in return!
3. Show–don’t tell. We can talk until we are blue in the face. It is always our actions that speak the loudest. Demonstrate your knowledge on a topic by offering examples of how you actually helped someone (as it relates to the conversation you are having). Provide proof of your expertise by ACTUALLY being an expert in your field. The substance of your information matters.
4. Substance over style. Focus on being real in a conversation and making a genuine connection. When you promote yourself, offer up real stories from when you genuinely helped someone--work that you are proud of. People want to be seen and heard. Follow up on a conversation or meeting and remind people you were listening.
*As a side note, women need to practice hearing other people/women speak boldly without cringing. Get used to it. We need to retrain our ears and minds! If you hear someone talking about themselves and feel like they are being braggarts or pompous, ask yourself why you feel like that. What is it bringing up for you? Practice hearing powerful language and promotion from other people/females without judgement.* I'm open to hear your thoughts on this...
Practice tip: Practice telling someone about something you did that made you proud! Ask for them to share a moment from their life too. See how you feel and what you notice.