Build confidence with self-promotion

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January 21, 2022

Leadership & Behavioral Interview 

Learning how to speak openly about your accomplishments helps others understand your strengths and skills.

Introduction to self-promotion

Understanding the power of self-promotion will help you make others aware of the unique contribution you can make.

The related video is here.

Just keep your head down!

Don’t be arrogant!

Stop showing off!

Nobody likes a bragger!

That’s not quite right. Here are the experts to tell us why.

So, what is self-promotion?

Self-promotion is about educating the relevant people about the skills and value that you can bring to the organisation. So people can make the best possible choice regarding recruiting you and knowing that you’re the best person for the job.

Self-promotion is a process you know, looking at what it is you do every day, analysing the skills you have, and what you do, and using them to further yourself.

The research is emphatic, it’s absolutely essential, and fundamental to succeeding in careers.

Why is self-promotion hard?

One of the biggest misconceptions around self-promotion is that it’s to brag. So if you look up the word self-promotion the first thing that comes up is: “The action of promoting or publicising oneself or one’s actions, especially in a forceful way.”

Universally, lots of people fear self-promotion and clients often tell me they hear a parental voice saying “don’t show off”. And culturally some people find it really difficult to show off and promote themselves.

People really struggle with self-promotion primarily because it makes them feel really icky. Fantastic studies have looked into what happens if you give people a different reason for why they feel uncomfortable. As soon as people can assign that uncomfortable feeling to something other than the act of self-promotion they’re much much better at doing it.

Why is self-promotion important?

Less than ten percent of people that apply for jobs actually get an interview.

Imagine if there are ten people as competent and capable as you, you need to have that added extra that makes you stand out. And that’s really where self-promotion comes in.

We know that about eighty-five percent of roles are fulfilled through networking, and the ability to talk confidently about your skills to a group of people you’re networking with is essential.

Studies have shown that being able to self-promote, not only is more likely to secure you the job, but it’s more likely to secure you a job that you will really thrive at. The more accurately you’re able to be about your talents and your qualities and your past achievements the more able the person you’re interacting with is to make the right decision about you.

Self-promotion can help you reveal your untapped potential. You’ll see it really works.

What if actually self-promotion could be something else than just bragging or being narcissistic or self-centred? And actually, it could be a way of sharing and giving back.

Explore what makes you stand out

Speaking openly about your accomplishments in the workplace and beyond can be challenging, but is the only way to ensure others will know about your experience and your talents.

The related video is here.

We’ve invited different people to find out why self-promotion is hard and explain why they fear it so much.

Now, try to write down what makes you remarkable.

Do you want a whole page?

How did it feel to write it down?

Yeah, tough, I think. It didn’t come naturally I wouldn’t say.

Instinctively I was thinking, how little can I get away with putting on the paper, but once you start writing and you start thinking about the things that you’ve achieved, they sort of pile up on each other, and you’re like oh actually I could talk about this!

Can you read it out loud?


I am remarkable because I have made customers smile.

I started my own business.

I am remarkable because I successfully balance a job and a business.

I am remarkable because I’ve rebranded 250 stores into a company portfolio.

I work hard to be a good boss.

I am the first one in my family to go to uni.

How did it feel to read it out loud?

Saying it out loud was harder than writing it I guess.

It felt like it was somebody else’s CV as opposed to my own.

Initially, you sort of feel unworthy, but then, actually all of those things they’re all true.

Yeah, it felt really good.

I am capable, that’s what this list has helped me realise.

It’s probably the first time I’ve sat down and thought about what my actual accomplishments were.

I should be selling myself, not like “I held this position, this company did this job”, it should be that in this company, I achieved this, I saved this, I grew this.

In those moments when I’m not feeling so sparkly and remarkable, I’ll still think about sitting in this chair having this conversation and saying yeah, I am remarkable.

How to practice self-promotion

Self-promotion, like any skill, requires practice and attention.

The related video is here.

Today we’ll hear from experts some advice on how to practice self-promotion and become better at expressing your achievements.

Write out your accomplishment list.

Firstly you can write down a list of what makes you remarkable. Perhaps you won awards for sports, or perhaps you were involved in fundraising for your community. So my recommendation is to actually start by writing them down and have them to hand so you can share how successful you’ve been.

Email your friends and colleagues.

My favourite exercise I tell everyone to do is to email ten people that they’ve either worked with, or that they’re friends with, and ask them: Can you tell me when was the last time I did something that helped you? And what was it? And then ask them: What are three things that you really value about me? And the fascinating thing is that most people get blown away by the emails they receive from people they work with or friends they know.

Create your confidence backpack.

One great way to increase your confidence around self-promotion is to practice talking passionately about your skills, your talents and your past achievements. A classic skill or a classic technique for increasing your confidence is something we call a confidence backpack. Thinking of all of the things that you’ve done that you’re really proud of, all of your achievements, imagine that situation and you put it in a mental backpack. Then when you go into a situation where you are nervous or you are concerned remember all those times that you were able to do it before and believe that you will be able to do it again.

Try power-posing.

Another great exercise is power posing with your feet firmly on the floor, and your hands on your hips. It changes your physiology, and helps you feel more confident, so you can take on the world. It’s really great for stressful situations like interviews.

Here’s how I want you to think about self-promotion. It’s something that you need to exercise just like a muscle. To be able to talk about your skills, your strengths, your achievements, and your accomplishments, in a way that feels right for you. And when you do that, eventually with time, you will own it and you’ll be proud to tell the world what you’re great at.