3 ways to sell yourself without cringing
3 Ways to Sell Yourself without Cringing.
7 September 2017
Even though you know you should be promoting yourself to get ahead at work, you don’t do it, RIGHT, because it makes you feel uncomfortable? The good news is, there is a way to do it NATURALly yet powerfully that’ll BRING YOU the career success you DESERVE. 
Read on to learn the self-promotion mistake I made when I was a Tax Director so you can avoid it! Plus, learn the 3 simple yet powerful ways to promote yourself with poise so you get where you want to get to in your career. 

So, here's my rather embarrassing true story: 

It's 2010. He turns to me just as we come out of the shiny, glass atrium in Head Office. We’re about to walk back to our respective desks. His pale face is smiling and is unusually animated as he says in his soft Scottish accent, “Catherine is doing such a good job leading the risk project. She took me through it yesterday and I’m amazed at how much she’s achieved in just 3 months. And Tim, he’s been managing the team through a huge peak of work and they’re going to meet the annual filing deadline 2 weeks early! That’s unheard of. We usually file at 11.59pm on the deadline day.”

I feel a sharp jolt of surprise, and think:

“What! How does he know? They don’t even report to him!”

And in that moment I realised how my two colleagues had been actively promoting themselves to MY boss! I also understood how it is that their careers seem to be progressing faster than mine. 
I am older and wiser now!

Way 1: Casually remind people what you are naturally good at
It’s not bragging and you’ll feel more comfortable doing it, if you subtly promote yourself by reminding people what you are naturally good at. You know, the things that are brought up in your appraisals that you don’t pay much attention to because bosses and colleagues always say that about you; you already know you are good at those things and so do others.

The trick here is to promote yourself casually as you go about your regular work, for example, in meetings. 

Rather than just saying what you want to say, preface it with one of these power phrases to refer to the skill/ talent/ strength you want people to remember about you.

For example in a meeting, rather than saying: “You make a good point but I’m wondering how the business is going to implement what we are planning.” Instead use a preface power phrase and say something like:

“As you know, I’m really good at the practicalities, how is the business going to actually implement what we are planning?”

And in a few words, you have promoted yourself and reminded people that you are naturally good at practicalities.

The preface power phrases are:

“As you know, I’m really good at….
“As you know, one of my strengths/ talents/ skills is….
“As you know, I’m always interested in…
“As you know, I have a lot of experience in…

Way 2: Describe the alternative reality
When you are a competent professional, as you are, it’s easy to forget how much value you bring to your organisation. Imagine for one moment that someone else was in your job - projects would take longer, results would be less solid, processes would run less smoothly, revenues or savings would be reduced. It’s this alternative reality that you need to explicitly describe to your colleagues and bosses so they appreciate and are completely clear on the value you are bringing, value that would not be there if you were not in post.
‘Jo’, I hear you thinking, ‘give us an example’. Okay.

I negotiated an agreement with HM Revenue & Customs which my predecessor thought was impossible and our advisors had not seen negotiated before. It would have been very easy for me to have overlooked my success, thinking ‘I just did my job and got what I hoped for’, even though it saved millions in potential tax for my organisation and significantly reduced the work load for my department.

Instead, I enthusiastically talked about my success and the alternative reality that could have come to pass.

“You know that compliance issue we’ve had outstanding for 2 years, the one no one thought we’d be able to get HMRC’s agreement on? Well, I put together a detailed case with lots of supporting evidence and after much consideration, HMRC agreed it. It means we don’t have to set aside £X million for an uncertain tax position or dedicate 0.25 of a person each year to deal with the compliance. Isn’t that great?”

The key here is to explicitly compare and contrast what you did and what you achieved with the alternative reality that could have been had you not been in post.

People often don’t think to talk in this way because they believe it’s obvious what could have happened, and they think others know what could have happened. The truth is, it’s not obvious and they don’t. You need to spell it out.

Way 3: Make strategic use of those water cooler conversations
We all have them - casual chats with colleagues over the water cooler or coffee machine. These are the very moments to subtly promote yourself.

When someone asks you how you are, don’t answer with an automatic “Fine, how are you?” Instead, take the opportunity to talk about something you’re working on.

- Choose something you’re proud of or interested in as then you'll talk positively about it and leave a good impression.

- When deciding what to talk about, put yourself in your colleague’s shoes. Talk about something you think they’ll find interesting and/or relevant to their job. They'll be more likely to be interested, more likely to remember it, and less likely to notice you’re promoting yourself.

I used to have a couple of ‘go to’ pieces of work I would talk about depending on which colleague I bumped into.
To recap, the 3 Ways to promote yourself with poise are:

1. Casually remind people what you are naturally good at by prefacing with a power phrase.
2. Describe the alternative reality - had you not been in post doing your job!
3. Make strategic use of those water cooler conversations.

Good luck! Practice these 3 Ways and notice how your impact and influence grows.
Do you find that people don’t listen to your ideas at work - somehow they don’t seem to hear you? Perhaps you get overly nervous before important meetings? Are your peers climbing the career ladder quicker than you?

If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to some or all of these questions, don't worry, help is at hand. Get yourself a copy of my free Get More Influence Toolkit by clicking on the button or the image below today. 

This toolkit will move you forward. It has three, superb tools:
- Learn how to get yourself into a positive and empowered mindset before an important meeting. 
Learn how to influence those over whom you have no authority.
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About Jo Maughan
Jo Maughan is the founder of YourThinkingPartner. Her first career was as a FTSE 100 Tax Director. After suffering a fall and a significant brain injury, she overcame her fears to follow her calling as a coach and artist. She is now living the life she was meant to live, inspiring successful mid-life professionals at or near the top of their careers to rethink their careers & lives for more balance, fulfillment, purpose & joy. Jo is also a sought after speaker and is writing her first book.
Quite Interesting....
  • 50-80% of people in the western world are unhappy in their jobs. Don't let this be you!
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