Self-promotion is a struggle for many of us. We know we should do it and do it more often if we are to gain the visibility and credibility we need to advance our careers. But it’s not a simple task. Although women seem to agonize more about self-promotion, the challenges transcend gender and status.
In general, people fall into three different categories relative to promoting themselves. Those who promote often in a flamboyant, ego-driven manner. (This may or may not be well-received.) Those who attempt it with ambivalence and are challenged to do it effectively. And lastly, those who don’t even try.
Regardless, of the category you may identify with, there are some common mistakes we make promoting ourselves.
Here are the top 7 mistakes:
We allow our limiting beliefs about self-promotion to hold us back.
Many of us have heard and absorbed the message that self-promotion is bragging, and if you brag no one will like you. This is especially true for women who were taught to be humble and wait to be recognized. When you permit these beliefs to control your behavior, you feel ambivalent about promoting yourself even though you know it’s important. The result is that you avoid it or don’t take the time to learn how to do it effectively.
We rely on an elevator pitch.
I’ve sat in on countless workshops about self-promotion that teach how to create an elevator pitch. We are instructed to memorize the pitch and look for opportunities to tell others what we do. This very stylized pitch is challenging and stressful to deliver because it never seems authentic. It doesn’t resonate with your audience and consequently, it either flops or backfires. The danger is that key stakeholders don’t get it, aren’t interested, and won’t remember your pitch.
We don’t understand our value.
If you don’t get how you contribute to positive business outcomes, how can you possibly promote yourself effectively? Any attempt will seem inauthentic. You need to know your value proposition and believe in the strength of your contribution. That allows you to position yourself as someone who can help others in the organization reach their goals; help the business reach its objectives. Understanding your value proposition helps you to build visibility and credibility as well as trust and influence.
We talk about past accomplishments.
It’s important to keep track of your achievements but reciting a list of your successes is not always effective. You want to position yourself as part of the ongoing future business solutions; as someone who can help the company move forward to reach its objectives. Your value proposition helps you see opportunities to do this with key stakeholders and decision makers. It’s the foundation of savvy self-promotion.
We don’t understand our audience.
Communicating your value proposition is essential but you need to understand what others want and need or your message won’t resonate. It’s a three step process. Understand your value. Understand what others want and need, and then identify how you can help them based on your value proposition. How can you add value? It’s a powerful way to create visibility and credibility.
Read the full article on FORBES.com.