On the Sippin’ Social Hour this week, Vee and I talk about how we can promote ourselves without sounding like total a-holes. As women, we find ourselves more reluctant to toot our own horns than men. Sweeping generalizations aside–it really seems to be true! Women aren’t equally represented in the board room and have trouble selling themselves without sounding full-of-it. Though we have all met plenty of men who have come off as pushy, condescending, or egomaniacle, men seem more able to discuss their successes than women. Why?
CEO and Executive Coach, Bonnie Marcus, claims this has to do with a woman’s upbringing, “We were told to stay in the background, to be humble, not to brag and that it’s good to wait until someone recognizes us.” She explains how this becomes hardwired into our subconscious and that these deep-seeded beliefs hold us back when we need to push forward. Furthermore, she suggests PRACTICE!!! How true. Like any important skill you need to be successful in life, self-promotion (for both men and women) is an art.
*As a side note, women need to practice hearing other women speak boldly without cringing. Get used to it. Just as we need to get comfortable accepting our bodies (and other women’s bodies) as beautiful, we need to learn to hear powerful language and promotion from other females without judgement.*
Cream.HR (whose article completely snagged the title I actually wanted to use for this article) gives a few suggestions on how we can all practice promotion–without coming off too harshly:
1. Serve without “selling.” What do these people need? After LISTENING to what they are really talking about, offer solutions, serve up some answers, rather than trying to sell, sell, SELL! Maybe, just maybe, the person you are speaking to needs something other than what you provide. This is your opportunity to do the next suggestion on the list…
2. Let others speak for you and promote other people. You don’t always have to be the one talking about your expertise. Take a buddy to networking events and let them toot your horn. It might make things easier in the beginning. Also, make sure to recommend other people and other products. Be real in the conversation. Maybe your friend’s comany is the one who can solve this person’s problem. That’s REAL and genuine networking. They WILL remember you for being the one who gave sound advice and who really listened to them. This is how word of mouth works. They will be handing over YOUR card along with a positive endorsement.
3. Show–don’t tell. We can talk until we are blue in the face. It is always our actions that speak the loudest. Demonstrate your knowledge on a topic by offering examples of how you actually helped someone (as it relates to the conversation you are having). Provide proof of your expertise by ACTUALLY being an expert in your field. The substance of your information matters.
In this week’s podcast, Vee speaks about the importance of improving on your strengths rather than trying to work on your weaknesses all the time. Read up on areas in which you already excel. How awesome would it be to have this person ASK for your card and leave thinking, “Wow. This gal knows her stuff!”
Practice makes perfect. Promotional opportunities are around us all the time. By being a great listener, we will find opportunities to SERVE people by helping them find solutions, and SERVE our associates by giving them leads. This will pay off—and then we don’t have to feel pushy, because we are not. We are providing a solution, whether it is our service or not. In providing a solution, we are demonstrating our success as problem solvers, listeners, and someone others would want on their team.
Expert in field? Contact us at the Sippin Social Hour! We are always looking for great guests.