Self-promotion can be challenging regardless of your career stage, but there are ways to do it effectively and in a way that feels ‘right’ for you. That is the trick to doing it with grace and impact. Here’s how…
Self-promotion can be a challenge for professionals across all business sectors. It can be difficult to know how to stand out from the crowd; to reach the right audience; and to do it all in a way that is effective and even (gasp) enjoyable.
In a country where “having notions” about yourself is frequently mentioned as a criticism, it’s no surprise that so many businesswomen in Ireland don’t sing their own professional praises. But the reality is simple: you can’t grow your business if no one knows about it and you can’t progress to more senior levels if no one knows your achievements to date.
So, while it’s difficult to find the “right” way to do it, when you do find the right balance effective self-promotion can build your reputation; elevate your business; move you closer to your professional goals; and even boost your self-esteem. Here’s how to get started:
1. Challenge your limiting beliefs
“Nice” people don’t brag, boast or talk about their successes, right? Nor do they talk about their awards, the things they are proud of, or their industry standing. That would be arrogant, right?
Ask yourself if this belief is really true. How would you act if it wasn’t true?
We limit ourselves when we take constructed beliefs and treat them as fact. You can choose to believe that or you can choose to challenge that belief. Reframe your self-promotion as an act of service to your potential future clients (how will they find you without it?) or future employees or peers who might want to work with you or learn from you.
2. Honour the truth
It’s strategic to have a great pitch on your talents and achievements, but always remain true to the facts. This is not the time to claim you have done things that you have not. How you promote yourself now is not the same as how you will promote yourself in the future when you have, perhaps, different experiences or qualifications to include.
Own the truth and own it with grace. Similarly, if you are quietly dismissing your talents and achievements it is time to own them too. If you find this difficult to do yourself, ask a friend, colleague or mentor to assist. Task them with writing the first draft of your true achievements and talents and use it to get started.
Looking for the most inspiring business event of the year?
3. Fact-check your inner story
The stories you tell others about yourself and your work will impact the stories they will, in turn, tell about you to others. I know that is a bit of a mouthful, but this is the truth of storytelling for impact. The model created by The Story Lab shows that the stories we tell about ourselves to ourselves (our inner beliefs and stories) impact the stories we tell others and those stories ripple further when people around us repeat them and/or add their version to them. For example, if I choose to tell myself that I am creating positive change through my work, based on the testimonials of my clients, there is a higher likelihood of me sharing what I do with someone else or in a space where I could get wider recognition (e.g. the IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year Awards – nominations close on Friday).
By understanding what I do and the impact it has, that person is more likely to be able to communicate it to others, broadening the reach of my message and building my reputation. If I am telling myself a less positive story, the likelihood of that ripple effect is significantly diminished.
4. Be authentic
I believe that self-promotion is most effective when it is authentic. This is for many reasons but I’ll stick to two for now. Humans respond to congruence. We feel when something is ‘off’ if someone is promoting themselves in a way that is not congruent with how they show up in the world. It is proven that our subconscious recognises this and we internally question the validity of what we are hearing. In contrast, we can all recall someone who inspired us with their passion and energy for what they do, why they love it and why they believe others will need or want it. The product, service or industry that this person is sharing may not be for us, but we cannot help but remember their impact and we are sure to share it with the right person when we meet them.
Remember that your voice is unique and that, in itself, is part of its power.
5. Know your audience
If your promotion is to a potential future client, ask yourself ‘what is it they want?’. How do they want to feel after working with you and/or what do they need from your company or your service? That is the feeling or emotion that you need to evoke in them in your self-promotion communication. For example, someone might need to be inspired to apply for a role in your company. So, help them to access that feeling through your promotion – use active language and share a story that will encourage them to feel inspired. If they might need to feel nurtured to use your service, tap into a nurturing energy when you share your promotional story. Your story does not necessarily change but how you tell it might. For example, if a client is feeling frustrated with their career and is ready to make some changes, they will not be attracted to me if I am sharing a nurturing message that it’s not their fault or a carefree message of ‘don’t worry, be happy’. They will be attracted to me if I offer a strong message that I see them; I see their challenge; and I have strategies to share with them to enable them to identify where they want to go and how to get there.
If you know your audience your promotional work gets so much easier.
6. Back yourself
If you don’t fiercely believe in your company and share your positive message over and over again, including the unique part you play in its quality, you will not grow. This is a busy, noisy world and you need to communicate your message to enable your sales and your business to grow. I am sure you have promoted other great businesses or people you have met – giving them a high five online or telling pals about them. Start doing the same for yourself today.
When & Where
When: Friday, April 14, 2023, from 6:30pm until late
Where: The Clayton, Burlington Road, Dublin 4
The IMAGE PwC Businesswoman of the Year shortlist has been announced! Visit here for the shortlist.
How to register: You can purchase a limited number of early bird tickets below:
If you would like to pay via invoice, please email [email protected].
For terms & conditions, please visit here.