Post by Jane K. Stimmler, contributing Women On Business writer
Last time we talked about how many women are uncomfortable with self-promotion even though it is undoubtedly an important ingredient to success in the business world. One of the keys to promoting yourself is to develop a comfortable way of talking favorably about your successes, accomplishments and experience. A style that works with your individual personality and approach.
A woman I know is a popular speaker at regional and national conferences. Each time she gives a presentation, she takes the opportunity to promote her healthcare consulting company and her role as a senior executive, by saying “In my position as head of the mid-Atlantic division of my company, I find I have both the opportunity and resources to address some of the critical issues affecting our regional and national health care.” When in meetings at her company, she invariably promotes her speaking accomplishments by saying something like, “While in Chicago as Keynote Speaker for the Universal Health Forum, we discussed the same topic that’s on the table today.” There is no mistaking who she is and the power she holds, but she promotes herself, and her company, in a way that is comfortable for her, and appropriate to her position and the occasion. She speaks anecdotally, underscoring her skills and accomplishments, and linking them to whatever she wants to promote at the time, such as her job position or recognition as a speaker. This technique of self-promotion works well for many women.
Ideally, discussing one’s skills and experience should come naturally. So, let’s try to develop a style that is comfortable for you. Imagine you’re at a fund-raising event for community youth programs and are in a conversation with a couple of people who are talking about the organization.
The first thing to do is get into the conversation by saying…
“Yes, I’ve heard about the work you’re doing in this organization and think it’s great. Can you tell me more about it?”
You have related to those around you, who go on talking about some specific points, after which you can say,
“That’s an interesting point. When I sat on a committee of the board for Another Worthwhile Youth organization, I noticed that….”
You’ve made the point that you are knowledgeable and are on a board committee of another important organization. The conversation about youth programs proceeds and you say,
“I remember exactly when I got interested in this. As head of Human Resources for ABC Company, I am responsible for hiring the summer interns…”
Now, you’ve shown that you are an executive of a well-known company. You continue talking with your group, and perhaps end by saying,
“I’d love to talk with you further about this sometime.” — Breaking Into the Boys’ Club 2009
Think of the conversation as providing a number of openings to connect with others, establish your credibility and offer value. This technique allows you to use various opportunities to “layer in” more information in an appropriate and comfortable way. Try it at your next networking event and adapt it to your individual circumstances.
It will surely take a little time and practice, but you will get into the “zone” and become more adept at letting others know more about your strengths and skills. Tell us about your experience!