Most people struggle with self-promotion. For women, especially, self-promotion can be difficult to master. From an early age, we are taught that “nice girls” don’t brag. This is something that stays with us long after we enter the workplace.
The problem is that self-promotion is an integral part of career advancement. Research has consistently shown that visibility and how you are perceived in the workplace correlates directly to promotions and pay. If there are two employees with equal qualifications, the one who is more visible and who has been more vocal about their accomplishments will be the employee who is rewarded.
While women are great advocates for their team, somehow that doesn’t translate to advocating for themselves. This is part of the underlying reason why there are fewer female executives than male executives.
For female entrepreneurs, the stakes are higher because there is a whole roster of people they need to impress: clients, investors, potential partners, etc. Since your persona is so directly tied to that of your company, selling yourself is equally as important as selling your product or idea, maybe more. With this in mind here are 12 tips will help you master the art of self-promotion and become a more confident businesswoman.
- Be Real
You can’t promote something that you’re not. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our perception of other people’s expectations that we lose sight of who we are and what we offer. This can make you seem awkward. Don’t lose sight of your authentic self.
- Have Confidence in Yourself
This ties closely to being real. Have faith in yourself. Believe that you can add value to the people around you.
This may remind you of the Saturday Night Live skit with Stuart Smalley reciting affirmations into a mirror. While it may seem hokey, reminding yourself of your strengths and accomplishments is good practice for when you speak to others, and it will help you overcome the uncomfortableness of talking about yourself. Remember you’re good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.
- Know Who You Want to Help
You provide many services, but there is probably one specific type of client or person for whom you can make a huge difference. Find this ideal client and use them as an anchor to develop the ways you talk about yourself. Not only will this help you have a clear and defined message, but it will also serve as a positive reminder of the impact you’re capable of.
- Take the Initiative and Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Getting in front new people is hard, but there is no substitute for having face-time. There is only so much you can do via social media or the phone and email. Be proactive and intentional about meeting people who can help advance your career and business goals.
- Be Curious
Ask questions and find out if you can help them. Self-promotion is not just about you but is also about the knowledge and connections you possess. The best way to get people to realize and understand your value is by putting them in the right frame of mind. Sometimes this involves solving a problem outside of what you offer. People will appreciate this and want to help you in return.
- Develop Relationships
Connect with people on a personal level. Don’t look at people solely through the endgame of how they can help you or what you can sell to them. Relationship building is a long game. Don’t be afraid to invest the time and don’t deprive people of the pleasure of getting to know you.
- Client Speak
Make sure you use words and phrases that resonate with the person and speak directly to their needs. It’s not about your credentials, it’s about what they are looking for and packaging yourself accordingly.
- Practice Makes Permanent
Self-promotion is not easy, and it’s not a one-size fits all. What works in one situation might not work in other. Understand that you need to be flexible in how you interact with people. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go well. Instead, make sure that you analyze and reassess. Then get back out there.
- Receive Compliments
When you accomplish something, and others congratulate you, don’t minimize your work or brush off the compliment. Show pride and be grateful for the acknowledgment. Always accept credit for the good deed you’ve done. Don’t say it was nothing simply because it comes easily to you.
- Ask for Help
Women often fail to ask for help. We think asking for help makes us look less capable. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and recommendations. The people that know you are your biggest champions. Use them.
- Love Yourself
Self-care is overlooked, but you need to be in the right state of body, mind, and spirit to be effective. The better you feel; the better people will respond to your message.
By Maria Hall
Ignite Business Coaching