The Female Lead

Strategies to master self-promotion

A recent study at Montana State University confirmed, women have a hard time speaking up when it comes to their achievements for fear of sounding arrogant or conceited. Men, on the other hand, don’t share this problem. While women feel uncomfortable touting their own success, men see self-promotion as a positive trait.

Here are some strategies that can make self-promotion easier:

Tell the Facts

Own your achievements without overdoing it. It’s important to be concise when explaining and state the facts in a simple, direct manner. Self-promotion backed by evidence to substantiate it is well received. This conveys confidence and authority as opposed to arrogance.

Give credit to your team

Giving the rest of the team due acknowledgement and using ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ is a good rule of thumb to avoid coming across as narcissistic. Be sure to highlight and thank ‘the team’ for valuable accomplishments as you articulate your own personal contributions.

Don’t down play your praise

When you are recognised for your accomplishments, do not shrug it off. Many women love using the phrase ‘Oh, it was nothing.’ You need to remove this from your dictionary! Accept your star role in your own production. Downplaying your involvement doesn’t help build your brand – it damages it and questions your credibility.

Share your challenges

If you are reluctant to share a personal accomplishment, try weaving it into a story.  For example, when you are sharing a win, focus on the challenges/ vulnerable moments related to it or other lessons learned as a result. This simple change of approach can help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself because it is less directly about you.

Moreover, showcasing achievements by sharing your struggles and sacrifices along the way is always an engaging way to help people relate to, and learn, from your experiences. People love heroism. And it makes you human too – a genuine and relatable one. Inspiring stories that have a zero to hero angle always resonate well. By retelling how you survived and overcame a challenge, you make your story applicable for others around you. Such stories give hope, and hope can be a very powerful thing. Owning your mistakes and sharing them honestly can also help you build solid relationships.

The importance of wing women

In the book Reinventing You, author Dorie Clark suggests bringing a friend along to events where you may need to talk about your accomplishments. The author suggests making an arrangement with the friend that you both will ‘talk up’ and support the other. Thus, instead of bragging about your own experience and background, you boast about your friend’s and they brag about yours. “People you are speaking with are much more likely to be receptive to a third party bragging about you than if the information was coming from you personally (even if you’re standing right there, giving your best ‘aw shucks’ grin).” Also, women are often found to be far more confident when advocating for others.



About the author

Hira Ali is an author, executive career coach, leadership trainer and keynote speaker. She is Chief Executive Officer at Advancing Your Potential and Founding Director of The Career Excel for Trailblazing Women. She is the author of the new, revolutionary book Her Way To The Top (Panoma Press) designed to empower women across the world to work together to overcome barriers towards success.