Archives for April 2016

Self-Promotion, Part II: Four Don’ts

How to NOT Shoot Yourself in the Foot!

Our work environment is so fast-paced and full of distractions, if we wait for our supervisor/our customer/our peers to notice we’re doing great work, we’re going to be waiting a long time.

In my last post, I shared the first half of my recent presentation to Women@Hyatt, an event for women from the Hyatt hotels around Dallas-Fort Worth. In that post, I talked about the DOs for promoting yourself. Now I want to talk about the DON’Ts. If you’re not careful, a few bad habits can shoot holes in all the great ways you’re performing and promoting that performance. Be conscious of these four:

1. DON’T … Apologize or minimize your abilities. Attempts to come off as humble, when overdone, can come across as insincere – or worse – insecure. An example from Robin Meade, from Headline News’ Morning Express:

“Once I told a producer, ‘Go ahead and edit my story! I don’t know what I’m doing!’ She later used that against me when I asked for a raise. Self-deprecation can backfire!”

2. DON’T … be so sorry all the time. Have you ever made a mistake at work and it literally kept you up at night? The next day – even after you owned it the day before – you go to your boss and say, “I’ve been thinking about what happened, and I just wanted to emphasize how sorry I am and reinforce that it’ll never happen again.”

No one is going to give you brownie points for dwelling on it. And why are you reminding people you made a mistake?

A friend who owns an IT company has a great example of owning a mistake. His male techs are hard-pressed to acknowledge an error, but his female techs apologize so much, his customers start to wonder what else they might have done wrong.

Women are notorious for this. “I’m sorry to interrupt …” You’re being polite but you’re leading with a negative. “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” Why preface your question with an apology?

Approach it this way: If you mess up, say you’re sorry – once! Then fix it and move on.

3. DON’T … Let self-doubt own you. I was editing a document and it was time get it to the client, but this negative, nagging voice in my head was saying “I wish I had more time! I can do better!” I had to say to myself, “Get over yourself and hit send.”

The client said, “I thought your changes were excellent. It is really great to have someone to work with who understands us. I wrote things like ‘Yes’ and ‘Perfect!’ in the margin.”

Don’t let the negative nagger in your head own you! Own her! The way I owned my visibility (remember the last post?) in that example? I sent the client’s email to my supervisor, and she sent it to the senior partner.

4. DON’T … wait. Don’t wait for someone else to talk you up, throw your hat in the ring, or decide you’re awesome. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself, right? So do it! I would love to see your examples of owning your visibility. Do you have an example as a business owner? As a concerned citizen? As a person who once had to stand up for his- or herself? Please share in the comments!

Four Steps to Self-Promotion, Part I

Because if You Want It Done Right, You’ve Gotta Do It Yourself!

Last summer, Women@Hyatt asked me to speak at an event for women from the Hyatt hotels around Dallas-Fort Worth. Women@Hyatt is the company’s business resource group connecting female colleagues around the globe.

Hyatt Talk

Here I am with one of the four groups I talked to during Women@Hyatt.

Full disclosure, I might’ve gotten the gig in part because my significant other works at one of those hotels; that said, I jumped at the opportunity. I was one of four local execs who presented four 15-minute talks to rotating groups of 12 or so. My topic was Promoting the Brand of YOU.  I’ve summarized the first half here, and will share the second half in an upcoming post. If you want immediate gratification, let me know in the comments or via, and I’ll send the whole shebang to you!

Our world of layoffs, frequent job changes and economic instability has made 30 years and a gold watch a quaint history lesson. You have to take control of your destiny. That means positioning yourself to meet your goals, and part of that is being confident and comfortable with spreading the word about your successes. You must promote the brand of you.

“The brand of you” is the great work you do. Your clients and/or your boss know the brand of you, but what about your prospective clients? What about your future boss? I’m not talking about blatant self-promotion. We’re talking about professional, sincere actions that spread the word that you are good at what you do.

Here are a few ways to promote the brand of you:

1. When someone asks for advice, an idea or for volunteers – whether it’s at a meeting or on LinkedIn – if you have experience, an idea or an interest, speak up! Get out there as a subject matter expert. (Presenting to Women@Hyatt is an example.)

2. Did you get a nice thank you from a customer? Ask the sender if you can turn it into a LinkedIn recommendation. Tell him you’ll even draft it for him. He’ll be delighted. I’ve never had anyone say no. All he has to do is check it over, and you’ve got a new recommendation for your profile.

If you have a website or a blog, ask if you can post it there, too. I was once hiring a lawyer and met two I felt good about. Both were fine, but one had 20 recommendations on her website. You might think, “Twenty? She must think she’s pretty special!” No. They were so warm and specific; I didn’t think it was obnoxious. I was sold. I asked her how she got so many, and she said, “I asked for them.” What a concept!

3. Transition your bio content from responsibilities to achievements that are quantifiable or can be qualified. You didn’t just manage five staffers. You hired two people, doubling the productivity of your department. Here are a couple sources on this topic:

How to Qualify and Quantify Your Way to Job Search Success
The Perfect Resume: Qualify & Quantify

4. Have your elevator speech ready for every situation.

My next post will be a handful of DON’Ts. I don’t want you to sabotage your visibility right out of the gate. Meanwhile, do you have examples of how you own your visibility? As a business owner? As a concerned citizen? As a person who once had to stand up for his- or herself? Please share in the comments!