Avoid the dreaded humblebrag with these tips.
Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend of people talking themselves up … a lot.
An acquaintance might pepper the conversation with mentions of how she is the “best” or the “go-to” or “the” expert in her field. Or a friend will tell me how blown away a client or manager was by his work in a not-so-subtle attempt at humblebragging. In the spirit of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” society urges us to always be closing, incessantly selling ourselves.
I’m not always buying it. Incessant boasting can come off as inauthentic, desperate or a skosh too “try hard.” I start to question the veracity of their claims, the exact opposite effect they’re going for.
Here’s the thing: I’m a huge believer in promoting yourself and your business. You never know where opportunity lurks. Upon discovering that I’m a publishing consultant, more than one barista has told me about a book idea while pulling my latte. In today’s gig economy, we have to champion our successes and sell ourselves. However, I’ve found some methods to be more effective than others.
Back up your claims. Saying you’re the best in your field or that someone was astonished by your work can be effective … if you offer specifics. Tell me why your experience, skill set or work product substantiates your horn-tooting.
Leverage testimonials. Ask clients or colleagues for testimonials and regularly post those on social media and your website. Build up your LinkedIn recommendations, and make sure your profile also includes detailed information about your experience, accomplishments and awards.
Post any press that showcases you or your work. When you are recognized for your work, announce it online and post a link to any articles or press releases that feature you.
Tell me a story. Anecdotes are powerful things, and sharing a story about how you solved a problem or exceeded expectations will be far more memorable than talking in generalities.
Finally, think about your end game. Why are you talking yourself up? If you are in an interview, of course sell yourself! If you’re out in the world and talking to potential clients, ask about their needs so you can tailor your pitch rather than throwing out general boasts, which come off as more about you than them. And if you’re talking to a friend, you already closed that deal. She already thinks you’re spectacular so there’s no need to win her over.