The Etiquette and Purpose of Self Promotion

Three young women drinking coffee in a cafe
Enlist the help of others when you need to promote yourself. kristian sekulic/E+/Getty Images

Are you in a field that requires self-promotion in order to get ahead or be noticed? Do you wonder how to do it without getting on the nerves of your friends and coworkers?

Purpose of Promoting Yourself

Sometimes self-promotion is necessary because it's the only way to get noticed. Without it, your business may flounder or even fail. Remember that self-promotion isn't just about closing the deal. It's more about showing yourself in a positive light for a long-term relationship.

Tips on How to Self-Promote

If you want to become noticed in this very busy world, there are ways to do it without coming across as crass. 

  • Be as good as you say you are. Don't be one of those people who touts a product or service that will ultimately disappoint the person who believes in your promotion.
  • Be authentic. As you promote yourself, make sure you are sincere in what you promise. Otherwise, you'll lose respect from others.
  • Encourage others to participate. Sometimes it takes someone else to show you in the most positive light to keep from coming across as a bragger.
  • Have good promotional materials. Make sure others know how to find you by passing out cards and having signage that is clear and easy to follow.
  • Be trustworthy. Never lie just to make a deal or close a sale. Eventually, your lies will catch up to you, and you will wind up with a bad reputation.
  • Keep track of achievements. As you accomplish something, jot it down and add it to your list of what you are able to do. 
  • Practice. Before you make a presentation to a group of people, practice in front of people who can help you and listen to suggestions.
  • Offer to help others. Your kindness and generosity will go a long way in showing people that you are an upstanding person.
  • Use social media to your advantage. Make sure you are up-to-date with social media. Always present yourself in a positive light by avoiding negative drama.
  • Nurture relationships. Having good relationships with coworkers, your boss, and others in your field can present opportunities that will help in your self-promotion efforts.
  • High fives all around. When you accomplish one of your goals, include others in your celebration. If your friends and coworkers feel as though they've had even a small part in your success, they'll become an important part of your promotional team.
  • Write thank you notes. One of the best ways to stay on someone's mind is to send them a letter thanking them for their time. Even if you didn't get the business, your good manners will show that you are worth considering in the future.

Tips on What Not to Say or Do

When promoting yourself, you may fall into the temptation of saying or doing something you shouldn't. Prospective customers and clients may fall for it at first but will eventually see right through you.

Here are some things you shouldn't say or do:

  • Don't trash other people in your field. If what you have to offer is as good as you say it is, others will eventually flock to you without your having to stoop low with insults.
  • Don't offer something you can't deliver. Know what you are capable of doing and stick with that. If you want to increase the number of things you offer, spend time learning and fine-tuning your skills.
  • Don't boast. There is a big difference between boasting and showing confidence. If your promotion is accurate, and you can deliver what you say you can, you're showing confidence. If you want to tell others that you're the best, then do what it takes to be the best.
  • Don't over-extend. In other words, don't schedule more appointments than you have hours in the day and never sell something you don't have.
  • Don't use high pressure. Whether you are selling yourself or a product, most people want to make an informed decision without high-pressure techniques from an overzealous salesperson. Present what you offer, give the person printed materials such as brochures, and offer to call back in a day or two.
  • Don't betray a confidence. If you are selling to two or more businesses that are in competition with each other, keep what they tell you to yourself. It isn't your place to share inside secrets.
  • Don't take credit for the work of others. If you are on a team, always acknowledge what others have done to help with your success.

 

Edited by Debby Mayne