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Self Promotion – Making The Unnatural Feeling Go Away?

This week I was training in Geneva, doing a course on Networking skills and how to raise your profile for the important things that you are doing, without being seen to “blow your own trumpet”.  And an Italian lady asked me a question about why this is seen to be so bad and how can you really do it yourself.

Here are some ideas:

There has been a lot in the press this past week about the English dictionary changing its definition of the word ‘Geek”.  Previously to be called a Geek has implied uncool, hard working and to have a eagerness to study.  In school’s and work this has been thought of as a bad thing.  But this is now gently changing, hence the change needed in the definition of the word.

Now being a ‘Geek’ is definitely a cool thing, it has sparked a whole fashion and has even graduated to being ‘sexy’.

In the workplace I think this still has an impact where people think that if you try hard, or talk about what you have done then people will laugh or get jealous or bored or just think bad things.

There are three possible ways to do this without seeming to annoy those around you.

1 – Get other people to talk about you in a good way.
Getting others to talk about you and your achievements is a great way to get your profile up within a business.  However most people do not naturally do this, either because they are too busy to think about it, or because they don’t realise how valuable it is.  Therefore you want to help them to do it.

When your boss praises you for a good bit of work, or a client thanks you for doing something helpful.  Rather than just sitting on that praise, you could ask that person ‘Who else would be interested in this?’  This may cause your boss/client to stop and think.  Then you can discuss if there is anyone else in the business who would benefit from knowing you did a good job of this.

This sounds a little weird, but there is a reason why it will work: Does your boss/client look better or worse for having shared your good performance?  Always better.  Just by sharing your brilliance, some of that brilliance rubs off on them just for saying it.  It makes them look good in the eyes of others, and we all know that bosses love this.

2 – When people ask how you are – don’t just tell them how busy you are.
This is the stock response that most people give when other people at work ask them ‘How are you?’  Almost everyone says it is a really busy time, or I’m having a really busy day.  See this great description of why it is getting worse:
http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/09/please_stop_complaining_about.html?utm_source=Socialflow&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=Socialflow

Instead of this, think of the fascinating things you have have been doing, victories you have had or where you are working really hard.  Then respond to this most common question with something that is engaging.  It doesn’t have to be egotistical, but simply by thinking about what has been going on and telling an interesting idea or story; people get a message about you.

3 – Identify your Wins
This is linked to step 2.  People often don’t know how to promote themselves because they haven’t thought about the big things they have achieved.  I like the Win, Learn, Change framework for this.

At regular times, at the end of the week or month discuss with your boss or someone you trust the things that you have Won in the last week/month.  Then the things you have Learned and finally the things that you will Change as a result.

Not only is this a great way to monitor how you are doing and increase your performance.  It also provides the ammunition for the next time someone ask how you are.  You can give them something scintillating.

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