Selling yourself or Personal Branding is important in any relationship, personal or business. The truth is that if you do not promote yourself, there may be no one else to do it for you. And even if you managed to find others who are willing to fly your flag, they may not do it as well and as often as you would like them do. But more importantly, how will they even agree to sell you, if you have not effectively sold yourself to them? The fact is, in order to rise within an organization you have to toot your own horn.
So the question is not whether you should self-promote or not but how to do it without appearing to. Everyone knows at least one person who blows their own trumpet too often and too loudly. We often view such people as nuisance to be avoided. The challenge is to find the balance between avoiding being overlooked because no one knows what you have done and repelling people with too much talk about your accomplishments.
Why is Personal Branding Important?
- Your Work Does Not always Speak for You: In the typical office environment, task or projects are completed by many people and it is hard to tell who contributed what. The stakeholders often do not realize the complexity of the project or the obstacles/challenges you are facing or have faced. Communicating about the project status and lessons learned will bring a lot of value, while also helping you to shine the light on your own contributions.
- Noise Gets Noticed: When situations arise where a specific skill or quality is needed, the worker with the highest visibility – not necessarily the most competence – will be selected. Make sure you stay top of mind.
- Bosses Are Human: Sometimes your boss may even forget what you are currently working on; this is why it does not make sense to expect him or her to always keep your past successes in mind. Accept responsibility for letting others know what you have done in the past.
- Self-Promotion Leads To Promotion: People remember and recommend those they know. If you want to rise in an organization, you have to stick in people’s memory.
But how do you toot your horn without becoming obnoxious?
- Solve problems: Use your past experience as a reference for solving current problems; in conversations, you may refer to that problem and how it was resolved.
- Disperse Your Competence: By helping others with their work, you build a reputation as the expert in that area; the go-to-person and the guide on that matter.
- Use We Not I: Even if you were the only one in a project, make it less about yourself by not using I. That way focus is on the point rather than on you, which may be off-putting.
- Keep Bosses In the Loop: Seek opportunities to discuss what you are doing with the boss – even in those times when he/she just stops asking how you are doing – share challenges, progress, opportunities, lessons learned and needs.
- Get Others To Do It For You: Having someone else promote you carries more weight than doing it yourself. But people will only talk about you if you have helped them to shine, that includes your boss. Remember, what goes around comes around.
There are three important things to keep in mind when marketing yourself.
- Firstly, every action must be in the context of the moment – it must be relevant. Never digress from the subject to talk about yourself.
- It must be to solve a problem or contribute to the solution and not just to advance yourself.
- Finally, it must be done within the framework of relationships – helping colleagues or answering a superior’s questions about what to do in a situation .
If you follow these rules on personal branding, people will not only appreciate that you are helping them, but in their subconscious, your name and competence will stick, to be recalled at the proper time.