Want to get ahead at work or land that job you’ve been eyeing? It’s time to do something that might initially make you uncomfortable: Brag.
Today, bragging is a necessity, not a choice, says Peggy Klaus, Fortune 500 communication and leadership coach, and author of Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. “Staying quiet about your achievements only leads to being underappreciated and overlooked.”
But there’s a fine line between tooting your horn and blowing it so loudly people cringe. Follow these tips from Klaus to master the art of self-promotion and advance your career:
For most people, self-promotion is about as comfortable as having a root canal, says Klaus. “But it doesn’t have to be obnoxious and overbearing, or a laundry list of ‘I, I, I.’ “Her advice: Talk about yourself and your accomplishments in a conversational, story-like manner. The more you do it, the less forced it will feel.
Create a brag bag. Klaus advises clients to keep a brag bag — a running collection of easily accessible information about your best self. A brag bag includes your accomplishments, passions, interests, and colorful details that underscore who you are professionally and personally. Bring out these gems for everything from performance reviews to new client presentations – and don’t forget to emphasize them in your resume.
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Prepare until you’re bragalicious. Whether you’re getting ready for a job interview, networking event or any gathering where you need to shine, the trick is to prepare so you’ll be at your natural best. “Crafting creative, memorable messages and stories about yourself and accomplishments is at the heart of your bragging campaign,” says Klaus. Don’t wing it: Rehearse important points and stories so you’re not groping for words or stumbling along.
Borrow a move from athletes. To be at their best, athletes study their performance on video. So should you. Klaus suggests having a friend record you in a mock interview, presentation, or whatever event you’re preparing for. When you play back the video, examine how you come across. Does what you said sound interesting, unique and compelling? If not, reach into your brag bag for new nuggets to set you apart.Don’t forget your attitude. You can say all the right things, but if you’re not excited about your work and accomplishments, your bragging campaign will go nowhere. “People want to listen to others who are excited about who they are, what they do, and what they are saying,” Klaus says. You don’t have to be an over-the-top cheerleader. Just realize how much you have to offer, and the enthusiasm should follow.
Take a free career interest test to help you identify all the brag-worthy qualities you have to offer.