There’s a time and place for everything. And it’s important to understand when the time is appropriate for those things you set out to do in life. The same can be said for knowing when to self-promote.
Self-promotion really means “selling” your strengths and abilities to whomever you want to listen. Certainly, there are times when painting a perfect picture of yourself gets you the desired outcome. But there are other times when it’s just unsuitable and unattractive.
Review a few instances when self-promotion is a good idea:
1. During a job interview. When interviewing for a job, selling yourself as the ideal candidate is a great idea. This is especially true if your qualifications are less than desirable!
• Before the interview, make a mental note of your strongest assets and highlight them.
• While giving the potential employer a look at your attributes, avoid being boastful and self-centered. Display confidence and stay poised during a job interview.
2. When seeking clients. Your clients want to know that they’re choosing to work with somebody who knows how to handle their business. This is the message you’ll want to send by self-promoting.
• Be sure to use examples of your work as part of your pitch. If you’ve provided exemplary service to similar clients, that’s something good to share.
• Avoid letting the client feel like they need you. While you talk about your achievements, let customers know how great it would be to serve them. They’ll appreciate feeling important!
3. As you’re choosing a work team. If you end up in the position where you’re able to choose your own work team, sell the positives of working with you. Let others know that joining your team brings wonderful experiences and great rewards.
• What you bring to the table is only part of the equation. Take some time to listen to everyone’s ideas. Others like to feel included.
• Spend more time talking about what you can do together as a team.
Now take a look at some scenarios when talking too much about yourself can seem self-centered:
1. When giving a reference. When someone asks you to give a reference on their behalf, it’s all about them. This definitely isn’t a time to talk about your ability to identify people’s good characteristics.
• It’s okay to talk about how long you’ve known the individual you’re speaking about. But it’s inappropriate to mention how you helped shape them.
2. As part of a successful team effort. Working as part of a winning team means each party shares in the victory. Even if you feel you’ve put in more work, it’s unwise to say so in search of greater recognition.
• The easiest way to lose respect of others is to gloat about your input in a team effort. Others tend to dislike those who are too boastful.
3. When being reprimanded. If your employer reprimands you for an action, it’s likely because it’s inappropriate or unacceptable. Your strong points carry no weight in such situations.
• If your employer recognizes an unacceptable performance, chances are they’ll notice a great performance, too. You’ll be commended soon enough.
As you’ve seen from these examples, there are times when saying less has a greater impact. Be wise about your assessment of appropriateness when it comes to self-promotion. Remember that it’s important to create a balance with those you co-exist with.