You need to learn how to brag if you want to move up in your career — here are 2 easy ways to do it
- Meredith Fineman is an entrepreneur, writer, and speaker, and the founder and CEO of FinePoint, a leadership and professional development company with a focus on visibility and voice.
- The following is an adapted
excerptfrom her new book, "Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion."
- She writes that
braggingis a key part of your work — you get to control your own narrative and receive recognition for the work that you've done.
- To improve your bragging skills, come up with "superpower" adjectives that describe who you are and what you want to be doing.
- Writing a strong bio for yourself — and keeping it consistent across platforms — is a powerful way to brab better.
Somewhere along the line, we decided that bragging isn't included in the category called "work." Nine times out of ten a client comes to me saying, "I'd rather just put my head down and do the work than take the time and energy to brag about it."
Guess what: Bragging is part of your work. Being vulnerable, finding the right words, feeling good about yourself, and projecting confidence — these are all huge parts of your work. It takes a lot of practice because it feels counterintuitive to what we believe, but it is critically important to yourself and to our society.
Our economy and media place disproportionate value on volume. Especially in America, we reward loud. We have a terrible inverse relationship between volume and merit. And guess what — it leads to unfair outcomes. Look at any industry. You show me someone posing on the cover of a magazine or giving an important conference keynote, and I'll show you someone who is there because they are fantastic self-promoters, not because they are the most qualified.
Bragging gives you the power to be in control of your own story and narrative. Sure, you can't control the audience, editors, and critics, but it's much easier to create the conversation than to change it. Bragging helps you establish your own conversation, around yourself, your work, and your goals.
If you have done the work, but you don't know how to talk about and tout it — you're part of The Qualified Quiet. The Qualified Quiet are experienced professionals who want more than they're getting, but they're either afraid of talking about themselves, don't know how to, or both. Being a member of The Qualified Quiet is not a weakness; it's a strength. You are essentially the backbone of our society and workforce. You are the majority, not the minority. You are not alone.
Conversely, not bragging can hurt your career. I've seen clients, friends, and acquaintances miss out on big projects because they didn't throw their hats in the ring. I've watched up-and-coming figures pass up career-altering opportunities because they were too nervous to take them on. They downplay their accomplishments, forgetting that they've already achieved goals worth bragging about.
The good news is there's a ton of low-hanging fruit to Brag Better right now, in the next hour, day, or week. Two easy steps you can do immediately are:
Figure out the "superpower" words that describe your voice.
Superpower words are those that inform the way you talk about yourself. They help you feel good and center your brags, and they are the descriptors that will help you create your brags.
What are three "superpower" adjectives you can identify when you step back and think about your voice and what you want to communicate? I like to think of myself as "edgy," "polished," and "imaginative." And if I'm ever unsure of how to word a brag, or how to practice a particular introduction, I return to my superpower words and make sure I'm in line with my long-term intention. It's a baseline for consistency, which is one of the keys to success.
Craft a strong bio.
Your bio is a crucial way to introduce yourself and it's a classic overlooked place to Brag Better. A bio can help you get hired, gain visibility, and win you serious respect. If a journalist or recruiter cannot figure out who you are in under thirty seconds (because you have six different bios in six different places), you've lost your chance.
Everyone needs a long, short, and two-line bio. They all need to match so that someone can immediately deduce who you are, and you can stay consistent and strong in your message.
- Long bio: A page long, and includes everything but the kitchen sink. Your long bio may exist under your LinkedIn introduction, on the "About Me" tab of your website, or anywhere you have the freedom to describe yourself at length.
- Short bio: Distilled from your long bio, it is about a paragraph long (and includes only your best brags). Your short bio works for a presentation, describing you at a conference, or on a work project.
- Two-line bio: The most succinct description of who you are, of what you do, and what you stand for. Your two-line bio goes in all of your social media and after any published article.
All your bios must match at all times. Don't forget this. They, like all of your bragging, need to complement each other, to be a strong part of building the mosaic of who you are.
Like any other skill, Bragging Better is an ongoing practice of being proud of your work and sharing it with others.
Meredith Fineman is an entrepreneur, writer, and speaker. She is the author of Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion, out June 16, 2020 with Portfolio Penguin Randomhouse. She is the founder and CEO of FinePoint, a leadership and professional development company with a focus on visibility and voice. Learn more at www.meredithfineman.com.
Adapted from Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion by Meredith Fineman, in agreement with Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © Meredith Fineman, 2020.
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