Executive Coaching Articles

The Keys to Effective Self-Promotion

Most people are reluctant to promote themselves and their work. Are you one of them? You might update your boss about a few noteworthy accomplishments, but usually you stay humble and keep your nose pressed to the grindstone. Heaven forbid anyone accuse you of bragging or brown nosing!

“My work speaks for itself,” you think to yourself. “I don’t need to grandstand to get noticed and get ahead.”

Right?

Wrong!

Having coached hundreds of clients, I’ve learned that those who advance the furthest and fastest aren’t necessarily the most talented or deserving. One quality they almost always share is the ability to effectively communicate their impact and value to others in their organizations.

They’re able to promote themselves without annoying their superiors or alienating their colleagues.

How do they do it? You’ll learn useful tips below to help you get noticed and recognized without causing resentment to those around you.

Effective self-promoters have a different mindset. You realize there is nothing shameful or improper about seeking credit and recognition for your accomplishments.

You don’t assume you’ll get noticed and rewarded. Proactively seek out and take advantage of opportunities to communicate the value you provide to your team and organization.

Think of yourself as a brand, seeking to promote your “brand attributes.” For example, let’s say you want the reputation for “being a problem solver who gets results.”

The next time you solve a nettlesome problem or achieve or exceed your objectives, capitalize on opportunities to share your triumphs with those who are capable of influencing your career. It might be a brief “heads up” email to your boss or a casual conversation in the elevator with your department head.

promoteimpactandvalue

Here are the keys to effective self-promotion:

  1. Discuss the accomplishment and the specific steps you took. Promote the steps taken and your role in achieving the objective. Facts and figures take the focus away from personalities.
  2. Focus on the benefits to your group, department or company. A “big picture” approach softens the impression that you’re more concerned about promoting yourself than the success of your organization.
  3. Recognize the contributions of others on your team. Share the limelight with your colleagues. Use “we” instead of “I.” Name names whenever possible. “We couldn’t have done it without Shari Montoya.” “Jim Reynolds, in Accounting, helped us on the budget issues.”

When working with clients I find many of them are critical of others who are excellent self-promoters. They are angry because their colleagues have advanced faster in their careers and it’s frustrating when you consider yourself to be smarter and more talented. I recommend they stop being critical and judgmental. Instead, learn from these people because they have had great success and most likely didn’t work as hard to get ahead. You may not like everything they are doing, but you might learn a few tips that could directly impact your own self-promoting skills.