How to Brag Successfully

How to Brag Successfully

January 13, 2021
Shari Steinbach
Business Skills

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Bragging is bad, or so we’ve been told. But, communicating your worth and highlighting your contributions does not have to come across as egoistical. Research has actually shown that self-promotion, or bragging, is a key factor for being hired, promoted and getting more compensation. Women seem to especially struggle with bragging about themselves as they may fear negative backlash.

Do you feel comfortable and confident talking about your accomplishments to others? Do you start any comments regarding your successes with a preamble that actually works to undermine what you want to say? “This isn’t a big deal, but…” If you want colleagues and leadership to believe in you, you must believe in yourself first. Here are some tips for sharing your successes with humble confidence:

  • Don’t apologize or use words that minimize – Typical phases that minimize include, “it was no big deal, but I was proud to receive an award for…”, or “I was glad I could provide a small contribution to the successful project.” Regarding apologies, if you truly have nothing to apologize for, don’t say you’re sorry.
  • Use “we” instead of “I” if needed – If your accomplishment was part of a greater team effort then giving kudos to everyone can help you brag appropriately about yourself as well. For example, “On behalf of my retail team, I am pleased to share the news about…”
  • Don’t hide behind emojis – If you are trying to communicate a success via social or email, using emojis can actually undermine your effort to tout accomplishments. Think about the self-deprecating effects of a little laughing or grimacing face. They can send signals that you’re really not sure about what you are saying or you lack confidence with your message.
  • Be concise – Share your brag in a clear, confident manner and then stop talking. Don’t ruin it by then talking about why it was “really no big deal”, or “not that important”. Accept some well-deserved praise and simple say thank you.
  • Practice – Get comfortable with talking about your successes and strengths. Practice a few sentences that capture your work and the impact your expertise has. Include some of your key work goals. This is similar to having an elevator speech ready. With practice, it is possible to actively become your own advocate and replace your negative thoughts about self-promotion with its role as a positive business skill to possess.