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How to blow your own horn, without embarrassment or apology

By Amanda Miller (edited by Lea Bishop,WPN)

Self-promotion is one of the best tools for people to get ahead in the workplace. It is an effective way to make sure your accomplishments are known and recognized. But for people who aren’t natural self-promoters, this behavior can feel uncomfortable.

For women, one of the reasons that many of us feel so awkward about self-promotion is because talking about our achievements is stigmatized, according to Julia Silva, diversity programs specialist at Google. “There’s this stereotype that women aren’t supposed to brag about themselves…Our role is to be humble and the hard work will pay off… but your accomplishments won’t speak for themselves.” In fact, some studies have shown that “cultural expectations for women to be modest are often more heavily defended by women than by men,” Silva says. This attitude can do real damage because people on the receiving end of these biases are less likely to get credit for their ideas, are more interrupted in meetings, and have less influence on their teams.

The following are some steps you can take to promote yourself:

1. Reframe how you think about self-promotion It’s not bragging… it’s really sharing the truth about what you’ve accomplished.

2. Acknowledge your own biases A study shows that women who self-promote are viewed in a less positive light than self-promoting male peers. Most women have been socialized to respond negatively when women talk about their successes so it is important not to react judgmentally.

3. Practice saying the things you’re proud of out loud Make a habit to practice talking about your accomplishments to colleagues, friends, or family. Some questions to consider: “What have I done that’s remarkable?”; “What project or projects have I recently finished?”; “What’s something that I’m uniquely good at?” or “When was the last time I felt proud about an accomplishment, and what was it?”

4. Keep track of your achievements The point is that you keep a running list of things that you’ve achieved and that you’re proud of.

5. Learn to accept — not deflect — compliments Compose a one-liner response such as “Yes, it was quite a challenge” or “I’m excited to have accomplished that.” Or just “Thank you.”

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