Four Brainless Self-Promotion Techniques to Avoid

Many workers think that their hard work will speak for itself. They do their work quietly and stay late at the office hoping their boss will notice their efforts. However, when a job promotion or pay raise goes to someone else, many employees retreat to a corner, wondering what happened.

Many don’t realize that talking about your achievements with confidence is the best way to get ahead in your career. Promoting yourself at work doesn’t have to be shameless and you don’t have to brag.

Instead, you need to develop a smart approach to self-promotion in order to advance your career. Being able to blast your horn effectively without playing the wrong tune can only happen if you avoid these four common mistakes.

  1. Do not take advantage of a tragic event to launch your self-promotion campaign The recent hurricane that hit the US states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama left millions of people homeless and cities in ruins. Hurricane Katrina is becoming one of the costliest natural disasters in history in the continental United States. The tsunami that decimated 11 countries in South Asia in December 2004 is another extremely devastating natural event. Many people were displaced, and to date, more than $2 billion has been donated worldwide to help tsunami victims. However, it is getting to a point where the publicity being given gets more attention than the people who lost their homes, belongings and family members. Celebrities, companies and even countries are taking this opportunity to brag about the amount of money they have donated. Some companies are even buying full page ads in newspapers just to show what they are doing to help. While Hollywood and the Fortune 500 choose this moment to brag about their contributions, this approach lacks dignity, tact, and modesty. Don’t make this mistake with your career. If your company just lost a major client and is now facing a breach of contract lawsuit, now is not the time to be bragging about a new process you developed while working with that client. That shows bad timing on your part and you will look bad in front of your bosses and colleagues.
  2. Don’t brag by belittling the competition In season 2 of the hit show The Apprentice, a contestant, Ivana, was the project manager of a losing team. While she was arguing in front of Donald Trump why she shouldn’t be fired from her, instead of focusing on her strengths, she started badmouthing another contestant. What made Ivana’s comments so strange is that she focused on someone who wasn’t even on the same team as her. By the way, Donald Trump did not see Ivana’s comments very well and fired her from her without hesitation. Saying negative things about a coworker can make you feel good, but this approach does little to improve your profile at work. When you do this, you seem to be uncomfortable with your own accomplishments. Instead, develop a 30-second commercial about what you do well. That way, you focus on your wins and resist the temptation to make your coworker look bad.
  3. Never include cheats in your self-promotion campaign Remember Enron, WorldCom, and the adventures of media mogul Conrad Black? The executives of these companies cheated to succeed. Despite the fact that he was being investigated for siphoning company money into his own pocket, Black was outraged, stating that people should thank him for creating so many jobs, not waste his energy accusing him of stealing. The things he does at work may not include being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, but there are some activities he may be doing right now that undermine your company’s bottom line. Whether he brings office supplies home from his company warehouse, eats a two-hour lunch, or overcharges his company for gas on his expense report, all of these actions are dishonest. You will make enemies at work very quickly if you gloat over your dishonest acts in the lunchroom. Also, this is a surefire way to stop your career, as no one wants to work with a cheater.
  4. don’t brag too much There is a business woman I met recently. I had read her book and attended some of her teleclasses. When I heard that she would be in my city for business, I sent her an email requesting that we meet for coffee. We met and I immediately regretted it. You see, this businesswoman talked endlessly about herself for the entire 30 minutes. Here I was, one of her biggest fans and loyal customers, and my idol was bragging about her product line and how much money she made. This businesswoman didn’t take any time to figure out who I am or why I’m her biggest fan. I walked away from that meeting and never bought anything from her website again. It’s important to let others know about your achievements, but don’t do it at the expense of bad manners. Find the balance. Know when it’s appropriate to talk about her accomplishments and when to keep quiet. A good self-promoter knows the value of listening to others. This ability can do wonders for your career.

The way to advance in your career is based on your ability to self-promote. If you don’t talk about your accomplishments, don’t expect anyone else to, but remember that your goal is to be smart in your approach and leave brainless techniques to someone else.

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