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How to promote yourself without being annoying

July 27, 2022 - 12 min read

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What is self-promotion?

The benefits of self-promotion

4 examples of self-promotion

4 best practices of self-promotion

5 disadvantages of self-promotion

Why is self-promotion so important?

Moving forward

Imagine this: you’ve just accomplished something big that you’ve been working hard on for a while. It's a special project, close to your heart, and you'd love for others to check it out. 

But how do you do that? Do you turn to social media to advertise your success, or do you bring it up in conversation whenever the opportunity arises? 

Sharing without coming across as boastful can be tricky. 

To get comfortable with self-promotion, let’s narrow down what it is, how to do it, and why it's an important skill to have. 

 

What is self-promotion?

Self-promotion is when a person highlights their own accomplishments. By doing this, you show off your experience and competency to others. You can become more well-liked, reach an industry expert, or share your talents through self-promotion.

Anyone can take part in self-promotion: entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, and artists, just to name a few.

Self-promotion is a great way to work on your personal brand and broadcast your name. If you're preparing for a job interview or looking for a career change, you can use self-promotion to help you stand out in the crowd. Social media platforms like LinkedIn help with that and lead recruits right to your profile.

 Self-promotion is also a way to speak up for yourself and your accomplishments in the hopes of getting promoted

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The benefits of self-promotion

Self-promotion applies to both our professional and personal lives. It teaches us transferable skills that help our careers and help us overcome personal challenges. 

As we sink into a habit of self-promotion, we’re working to eliminate our limiting beliefs. Highlighting our accomplishments fuels an “I can” attitude. It shows us what we’ve accomplished and banishes any previous thoughts suggesting otherwise.

Self-promotion also benefits us by silencing our inner critic that tried to tell us we couldn’t do it. Talking about ourselves and our abilities shows us taking purposeful action pays off. 

Promoting ourselves also teaches us the value of networking. Studies have found that people who network are more satisfied with their careers, more knowledgeable about their industries, and feel better about taking calculated risks

Woman-Taking-Notes-self-promotion

Because we keep seeing our accomplishments and highlighting our experiences, our confidence soars. After seeing ourselves overcome challenges, we begin to think that we can take on even more tasks.

This benefits our goal-setting because we feel confident enough to aim higher. Soon we’ll be life goals we didn’t think were possible.

Self-promotion doesn’t only benefit ourselves. We can engage, inspire, and most importantly, motivate other people to be proud of their accomplishments. It’s contagious, and it’s called prosocial motivation.

We’re setting an example of how we can respectfully and politely uplight ourselves. Studies have also found that prosocial motivation helps employees be more productive, creative, and improve their performances.

4 examples of self-promotion

If you're not used to this self-serving practice, it can help to see how others do it. In any situation, whether it's in front of a large crowd or in a one-on-one interaction, self-promotion exists.

Here are four examples of people doing some self-promotion:

  1. A freelancer gives their business card to a potential client to show that they specialize in their line of work 
  2. An entrepreneur who designs their own workout clothes wears them every time they go to the gym
  3. A journalist shares the link to their latest story on their social media accounts
  4. A baker hangs up a news article that they’re featured in on the wall in their store

Estate-Agent-Giving-Business-Card-To-Client-self-promotion

4 best practices of self-promotion

Maybe you’ve been holding off on self-promotion. You may be afraid you'll come across as self-centered and boastful. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: you can be a team player and still highlight accolades and your own good work. 

If you're unsure how to best approach doing some self-promotion, here are four strategies to use:

1. Do your best to network

Build a network of people involved with similar things. That could be connections with similar hobbies or people in your industry. When you network with those who understand your challenges and share similar values, conversation comes naturally.

Plus, your network can share your accomplishments with other people in your field and further spread the word. 

2. Don't tear others down in the process

Your self-promotion shouldn't come at anyone's expense — especially those who helped you along the way or other team members. While you want to acknowledge your great achievements, it's not respectful or kind to insult others in the same sentence. Your success doesn’t hinge on someone else’s failure.

It doesn't show strong leadership skills or caring for the well-being of others, either. Shameless self-promotion doesn't consider how your reputation is being developed, nor how it’s being harmed.  

3. Get comfortable with your strengths

Begin to realize that your strengths and skills are valuable. Take a moment to think about all that you appreciate about your skills. At work, in your relationships, your hobbies, anywhere. When we stop to identify our values, it helps us orient ourselves in a direction that focuses on them.

Becoming more comfortable with our strengths helps us talk about them with greater ease and confidence.

Colleagues-meeting-at-work-self-promotion

4. Be honest and authentic

Lying is never a great option, and it's certainly not a good thing to do when you're promoting yourself. Rather than be someone you're not, be genuine. Even if you've encountered troubles along the way with your work, it's nothing to hide. Social media is home to plenty of exaggeration and false information.

But in real life, people can sense when someone isn't being genuine. Plus, it feels much better to be your authentic self.

Someone who supports you while you figure out what works best for you is important. A BetterUp coach can guide you toward developing the ability to master self-promotion. 

5 disadvantages of self-promotion

With all that self-promotion can bring people, there are downsides, too. You should also be mindful of the disadvantages of self-promotion.

Here are five disadvantages that you could encounter while promoting yourself:

  1. You're subjecting yourself to criticism from others
  2. You could begin to feel pressured to perform well consistently
  3. Your self-worth gets tied to how much attention you receive
  4. You become over-confident in yourself
  5. People start to view you as selfish and less likable

Why is self-promotion so important?

Man-Sharing-Ideas-With-Colleague-self-promotion

Without self-promotion, you could work hard and do meaningful work without people knowing. What if your research could change lives for the better? You'd want to spread the news and promote it if it meant you could help people.

What's trending today is often long forgotten by the weekend, and people are busy with their own lives. Your accolades might be overlooked and lost within everything else that's going on. 

Self-promotion reminds your bosses that you're a valued employee. The more visible you and your assets are, the more your managers will remember them.

Self-promotion for introverts is especially difficult, but it's a great skill to improve. It helps to reinforce positive self-talk and boost confidence. Going from someone shy and holding themselves back to someone unafraid to speak about themselves will accelerate your career development, too.

Moving forward

If you're new to self-promotion, it’s challenging. But with practice, sharing your accomplishments smoothly will become second nature. 

Once you’re acquainted with promoting yourself, the disadvantages won't weigh on your mind. Learning how to promote yourself might go against what your inner critic tells you. But, once you experience the joy in celebrating your wins, your inner critic becomes your best supporter.

While you’re learning how to do some great self-promotion, you need to stay focused. A BetterUp coach or mentor can provide the accountability you need to build confidence and grow comfortable talking about your achievements.

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Published July 27, 2022

Shonna Waters, PhD

Vice President of Alliance Solutions

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