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  • Writer's pictureKea McKoy

The Working Woman’s Guide to Beneficial Bragging

Many women have a hard time getting ahead in the workplace because they are reluctant to brag. You may feel conflicted when you would like to celebrate your victories, but you want to avoid coming across as arrogant. A Brigham Young University study confirmed that social norms about modesty tend to hold women back.

In one study, female students wrote an application for a merit scholarship after being told there was a box in the room emitting waves that caused discomfort. The box was imaginary, but the results were real. When they had something to blame for their anxiety, the women wrote essays that earned them more money. You can get the same results by following these tips.

Preparing to Brag

1. Seek motivation. Realize the value of self-promotion. By some estimates, the average woman still earns about a million dollars less than the average man over the course of her lifetime. Self-promotion can help narrow that gap.

2. Observe your male colleagues. Learn from the men you work with. Adapt their bragging style to your own personality.

3. Build your confidence. Take on new challenges. Learn a foreign language or a new dance. Sign up for accounting or computer courses online or at your local community college. These activities will make you more confident and might encourage you to boast.

4. Evaluate your strengths. Perform an inventory of your skills and accomplishments. Maybe you’re a whiz with numbers or you excel at writing.

5. Ask for feedback. Find out how your friends and colleagues feel about your qualifications. Think about what you get praised for the most. You may discover that you’re good at managing conference logistics or negotiating contracts with vendors.

6. Document your achievements. Start a brag book. Mark down when you save your company money or create an outstanding customer experience.

7. Limit self-deprecation. Watch what you say about yourself. Accept compliments graciously.

8. Manage stress. You may feel awkward talking about yourself. Visualize a calming image, like ocean waves or sheep grazing in a field. Find ways to relax through meditation or physical exercise.

Strategies for Bragging

1. Start small. Your grandparents will probably be enthusiastic about anything you have to say. Rehearse a story with them before you try it on your boss.

2. Network effectively. Form alliances where you can say flattering things about each other to those in power. Women are often better at promoting their friends rather than themselves.

3. Focus on outcomes. Make specific and quantifiable statements. Stating that you’ve won two prestigious awards for your marketing campaigns sounds more convincing than just saying you’re creative.

4. Serve others. People are more likely to welcome your remarks if they’re helpful. Update your boss on how you completed a project ahead of schedule. You’ll demonstrate that you’re competent and efficient without having to say so directly. Become known for sharing your ideas as well as your accomplishments.

5. Choose your setting. There’s a big difference between showcasing your skills at a job interview or performance evaluation and doing so at someone else’s retirement party. Ensure you have a receptive audience.

6. Hold yourself accountable. Accept responsibility for both your wins and your losses. Everything you say will have more credibility when your actions speak louder than your words.

7. Support others. Give others the opportunity to show off. Everyone likes to bask in praise sometimes. They may even return the favor and put you in the spotlight next.

8. Pace yourself. It’s good to be comfortable talking about yourself. Just save it for an appropriate time and place. Ensure you cultivate plenty of other topics of conversation to avoid seeming self-centered.

A little grandstanding is good for your career. Tooting your own horn pays off, even if it feels uncomfortable at first.


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