Let me share a simple secret to successful self-promotion: don’t focus on YOU, focus on your IDEAS. Self-promotion is the art of spreading ideas, concepts, and a greater vision.
The art of self-promotion can be a very natural practice and does not need to be a demanding or a grueling process.
What you need to remember is that promotion is an effective tool in your arsenal that you can use to set yourself apart from your competition; it will help you gain access to the networks and information that continually impact your career.
It’s a necessity to use self-promotion strategically. So, why is self-promotion still so hard for women?
Here are the stats from Forbes: In Fortune 500 firms, 15% of senior leaders and 3% of CEOs are women. Women have earned more college degrees than men since the mid-90s. Nearly 40% of MBA students are women. Women are 50% of the paid workforce.
Self-promotion is taking the lead to let other people know about the good things you have done, can do, and are doing.
Before we can jump into effective ways to better self-promote, let’s look at why women still have such a hard time with the concept. Women often view self-promotion as daunting, annoying, and even terrifying. Women who tend to find self-promotion as a daunting task may be concerned about hurting other people’s feelings. They are hesitant to self-promote because they do not want to isolate less-successful people.
Women have taken huge leaps in establishing themselves from a career standpoint including, but not limited to: educational advancement; actively trying to receive high profile assignments; reading self-help and career books; seeking guidance from professional career and life coaches; and even developing and establishing rapport with influential leaders.
In our society, women are often penalized for self-promotion; sometimes, self-promotion is even perceived as pushy or outspoken. Therefore, women will tend to pursue other, less effective methods of self-promotion. Women also still believe that their talent and hard work will be enough to get them ahead.
Self-promotion is critical for your success regardless of what position you are in or aiming for in an organization. Here are some tips for better self-promotion:
- Be confident - if you aren’t inspired by your ideas or actions, no one else will be either.
- Use your strengths –learn and focus on your individual strengths and leverage them. Once you have identified your strengths, focus on what your vision is; be clear about what you really want.
- Let your results speak for you – don’t wait for the annual performance review. As soon as you accomplished a great result or milestone, send your manager a brief email summarizing the result as soon as it happens. This may be hard for women because we see it as bragging, but remember that self-promotion isn’t just about you, it is about the impact of your work.
- Get noticed and put yourself out there– this will vary depending on where you work. If you work for yourself, be strategic on social media and use those platforms to communicate what you want to be known for. If you work for an organization or a company, ensure your accomplishments are highlighted in a newsletter, town hall meeting, or annual update
- Decide what you want to be known for - figure out, then promote, what sets you apart. Be known for doing one or two things at the superhero level.
Perhaps most importantly, the women best at self-promotion are those that are interested in others’ successes and show it by starting conversations; by sharing something about yourself, you are finding a way to connect to others.
Tooting your own horn doesn’t mean you are a show-off. Self-promotion shows others your value in the workplace and is a crucial element to your success.