Are you truly successful if you need to talk about your successes?
We’ve all heard people make comments about others like “If you need to talk about your successes, you’re clearly not successful”. I can understand where they are coming from; there are lots of people who try to convince you they’re successful when they’re not. Just look at social media! It’s filled with people talking about what they’ve done or who they know. But think about it. Social media is an artificial environment, and users like you and I can instinctively pick our way through the fakes to find the real successes.
How does this translate into the workplace? How do you build a brand and a reputation without talking about what you’ve done? In my opinion, usually, you can’t.
Over the last couple of posts, I’ve shared some ideas on how to develop an executive presence and how to build your personal brand. In both cases, speaking up about your values, beliefs and abilities were fundamental. In my opinion, it’s vital to speak for yourself about what you can do and what you’ve succeeded in doing. It allows you to paint a clear picture. After all, you’re the only one who can fill in all the detail.
There’s no point sitting back and waiting for someone else to point out your accomplishments. It may happen but it probably won’t. Remember, you’re competing against others to win that promotion or opportunity so why would they talk about how great you are? It’s up to you to get the attention you deserve.
Speaking about your success is not the same as boasting of it. Constantly drawing attention to yourself is a sure-fire way to stop people listening. But you’re a professional. You won’t do that, will you?
This is how to speak about your successes without seeming to be ‘blowing your own horn’.
- Make sure it’s relevant to the conversation or situation. If you talk about yourself when there’s no clear reason to do so, that’s when it becomes ‘bragging’.
- Keep it concise. You don’t want to ramble on and on or the point will be lost. A simple statement describing the situation and what you did that made a difference is enough. The longer you talk, the more your listeners will tune out.
- Be factual. Tell people what you did. Be specific because that adds to your credibility.
- Don’t play down your success. You deserve to be acknowledged for your work. As soon as you fall into the trap of saying things like “it wasn’t hard…” or “I just…” you reduce your impact and undermine your professionalism. You don’t have to be humble about your success.
- Acknowledge the role of others if appropriate. If others worked with you or contributed in some way to the success, be sure you acknowledge them. Hugging the limelight won’t win you any friends but sharing the credit will earn you respect.
There’s no reason to be uncomfortable in talking about your skills or your successes. It’s all part of normal business. If you’re finding it difficult to start presenting your accomplishments this way, just look around you. Pay attention to the way the most influential leaders around you present themselves and model their behaviour. You can be sure they’ll be following these tips.
Would you like to talk more about this? I’d be happy to help you work through it. Feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work out a time to get together.