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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Promoting yourself is not bragging

I'm currently taking a workshop on marketing for the introvert and extrovert. It's kind of an intriguing perspective for a class. It's too early to tell but supposedly the instructor will show us the kinds of marketing avenues that are best suited for our personality type.

But one of the students posted an interesting comment about promoting herself. She said she hated to brag. Aside from semantics, the instructor sympathized and mentioned how it could be due in large part to being a woman.

Maybe that's true for the general population, but I don't think that flies in the corporate world. The women in my company who are leaders in the industry have no trouble saying: Yes, I instituted this, or wrote that, or created those.

We are not talking about bragging rights. We are talking about taking ownership of our actions. Does that make more sense?

Bragging implies that it is an over-dramatized statement of an accomplishment.
Self-promotion is the act of encouraging awareness about a true accomplishment.

How you define bragging and self-promotion is colored by your personal perceptions.

If you wrote a book and you want others to know about it, why is it boastful to promote it? Why write it at all for publication if you don't believe in your work?

Hiding behind the misconception that it's bragging or conceited implies that you don't think you're good enough.

I had a teacher at university who yelled at me once when he praised my work and I stuttered an apology thinking it vain to agree with him. He looked me straight in the eyes and told me in his cruelest voice, "Maria, if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will." That's always stayed with me. I've never apologized for my talent since.

He was a wonderful mentor and friend who made me face the music whenever I was tempted to crawl back into the shadows. He also taught me the value of confidence when I was still finding my place in the world.

So yes, my marketing instructor is correct, some of our inhibitions are partly gender based and partly environment based. But neither need be detrimental to our marketing efforts.

Like everything else in life, it is a learned skill.

Tomorrow: Markets