Written by Karen D. Swim
This post is the second in a week long series on Learning to Love Self Promotion. You can read the introductory post here.
Self-promotion is integrally entwined with negative emotions for many people. You may have been raised to cloak yourself in humility and view self-promotion as bragging. Or you may have seen the trait in others and found it distasteful or overbearing. To begin to overcome our discomfort and fears let us first define some terms.
Brag – 1 : a pompous or boastful statement 2 : arrogant talk or manner : cockiness (boldly or brashly self-confident)
Self – 1 a: oneself or itself <self-supporting> b: of oneself or itself <self-abasement> c: by oneself or itself <self-propelled> <self-acting>2 a: to, with, for, or toward oneself or itself <self-consistent> <self-addressed> <self-love> b: of or in oneself or itself inherently <self-evident> c: from or by means of oneself or itself <self-fertile
Promotion– : the act of furthering the growth or development of something ; especially : the furtherance of the acceptance and sale of merchandise through advertising, publicity, or discounting
We can therefore define self-promotion as selling yourself. You will note that by pure definition promotion is not inherently “arrogant” or “pompous.”
Self-promotion is necessary to make others aware of your capabilities, or offerings. You may be immensely talented or have a top-notch product or service. However, it is possible to get bypassed for opportunity simply because you did not speak up.
Have you ever watched an “expert” on television and realized that you could have provided the same information? Has someone else held a position that you were entirely capable of performing?
Imagine that someone you love has the voice of an angel. When they open their mouth to sing, the sound is so beautiful that it moves you to tears. Further they love to sing and dream of one day singing on a world stage. One day you and your loved one are at a coffee shop and a well-known music producer walks through the door. As you wait for your order, you overhear him telling the barista of his dilemna. He is putting on a local show and his lead singer has taken ill. Without a replacement, he will have to cancel the show. Do you tell your loved one to make his/her talent known or do you encourage them to keep quiet because self-promotion is an unattractive quality?
I’m going to take a wild guess and assume your answer was “Are you kidding me, I’d tell them to sing their hearts out right there in that coffee shop!”
So, why do you feel okay about self-promotion in this instance but not others? In our example, there was an expressed unmet need (opportunity) and your loved one had a solution. Not only was it okay but there was a benefit for the producer (prospect). It’s hard not to feel good about offering value to another person.
Not every sales situation is this transparent. If it were, self-promotion would be as easy as offering a band-aid to someone with a cut. We have to uncover opportunity and we do that by actively seeking people we can help. We share what we have to offer to others. They may not need what we’re selling today, but when they do, don’t you want to be the first person that comes to mind?
Were you associating self-promotion with a negative connotation? When you remove that emotion does it help remove some of the barrier for you?
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