Everyone knows a shameless self-promoter. A person who can’t stop talking about him or herself. Everything you’ve done, they’ve done that only more. Whether it’s an airport horror story, a traumatic injury report or an account of a vacation, they have a better story. Every time you hear, “well that’s nice but let me tell you about the time…” you make a mental note to never be like that. You swear to yourself to never be a braggart!
The trouble with taking too much to heart from this turnoff is that you may error on the side of humility and politeness and not be noticed at all. In the words of Stephen Patrick Morrissey of The Smiths,
“Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to.”
There is a line between being a boor being someone with an interesting perspective. Even though your parents may have told you not to brag, it’s important to learn how to talk about yourself so that you will be memorable. Businesspeople are busy and they (especially the people you want to know) meet lots of people all of the time. If you don’t stand out in some way, you risk squandering opportunities along the complete social and business spectrum.
A few years ago, I read BRAG! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It by Peggy Klaus and have felt confident enough to tell a quick story about myself ever since.
Her book has tips on crafting a 30-second elevator speech or 3-minute interview scenario run-down, and advice on not feeling like you really shouldn’t be “bragging.” I read her page-turning book years ago on a flight and was impressed with how I can turn what used to sound like bragging into memorable sound bites about myself that others can quickly digest. They might not remember my name, but they will likely remember my 30-second story.
As she says, if you’re not going to talk about yourself, who is? Pick up this interesting and entertaining book and you’ll never feel the same about self-promotion again.