In order to advance in your career, other people need to know about what you have done and what you can do for them and the organization.
Most women have been given messages by their family or community that they are “too much” and they should keep themselves “small” in order to not make others uncomfortable with their passions. Because of these attitudes, promoting yourself can seem awkward – as if you are going against everything you’ve been taught.
Here are five tips for successful self-promotion.
Shift from bragging to briefing
Start by asking yourself, what is the difference you want to make in the world?
Whom do you want to help and how do you want to help them? For some examples, maybe you want to heal your patients, help your clients have more financial security, help your community be safe, or be a role model for family members.
Self-promotion is not about bragging; it’s about briefing. It’s about educating senior leaders, manager, or prospects to know what you can do for them.
Shift from putting attention on you to bringing attention to the contribution you can make to others. If it feels awkward to talk about what you’ve done directly, then tell a before and after story of someone you helped.
Once people know how you can help them and their cause, they will want to support your work and help you achieve your mission. Self-promotion thus becomes helping them to help you fulfill your purpose and mission.
Own your outreach plan
Identify what the perception is that is needed of you and which decision makers need to have that perception. That will determine who needs to know about you and your abilities in order for them to support you achieving your next level. Is there a specific decision maker for a promotion? Are there people in another department or group that aren’t aware of the contributions you’ve made?
Make an outreach plan for decision makers you want to know about you. Set aside an hour every week to connect with influencers in your organization so you are cultivating relationships with decision makers. To reach senior leaders, get on their calendar. Ask them about their most important initiatives and look for a bridge between the work you are currently doing and how you could contribute to their function (or overall to the company),
Be intentional about your nonverbal behavior
If you have taken in others’ messages to not draw attention to yourself, you may unknowingly do body postures that constrict the space you take up. Know that your body language and tone are already communicating on the outside what you feel inside.
Think of the words that would describe how you want to show up in any interaction. Do you want to be confident and influential? Have a posture that conveys that.
If you are sitting in a chair, take a deep calming breath in to relax and help you feel more expansive. Then sit up in your chair, with your shoulders back and your head high. Have an open stance with your arms unfolded and leaning in toward the meeting table. This posture will convey your ease and engagement.
Avoid “upspeak” and filler phrases
Start to become aware of “filler phrases” that might have crept into your language, such as “know what I mean?” or “like.”
Similarly, be aware if you are using upspeak (which occurs when you have a higher intonation at the end of a statement). It makes your statement sound like a question, as if you are unsure of what you’re saying.
(How would you know if you are doing this? Get feedback from your Manager or from a confidante, or hitting the record button on your smartphone).
Inspire other women with your self-promotion
You might be worried that by you talking about your accomplishments it will make other women feel bad about themselves.
Here’s where a woman’s level of confidence matters. If you are insecure, talking about your accomplishments comes across as trying to prove you are good enough. In contrast, when you are secure in yourself, sharing your wins creates excitement and inspiration that pulls others up.
Second, as a woman, you want to learn to brag! The more each woman becomes comfortable sharing her gifts and accomplishments, the more we can change organizational culture so that all women are free to shine and have their wins recorded. In this way, think of bragging as playing your part in changing the world!