Self-Promotion: How to Be Less Awkward
Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to promote services and products you believe in, and yet, feel completely awkward promoting your own work?
The first thing to understand is that this is completely normal. The second thing to do is take action to overcome the awkwardness and promote yourself like a star.
Before you can do so, you need to be REALLY clear on why people should choose you to solve their problem. (Do you know what problems you solve? Start there.) Why are you better than your competitors? Who can you help the most (which target audience)? Have you developed your key messages?
I try to put myself in my clients’ position. What do they need? How can I help? Am I the best person to help them? If so, why? If not, why not?
If you struggle to answer these questions and you have clients you trust, it’s okay to ask for input. Ask them questions like, “What do you value most about our work together?” Or, “How does my product or service help you achieve your goals?” Let your clients know you want to continually improve, and gathering feedback is part of this process. I’ve yet to meet a client who reacted poorly to this type of inquiry.
If you’re just getting started (and don’t have many clients) or if the idea of asking your clients for input makes you want to close up shop and become a barista at Starbucks, there’s another option: pretend you’re someone else.
Yep, you read that right. Think of someone, a friend or colleague you really admire and respect. What is it about them–their personal traits, their professional skills–that engender such positive feelings? That was pretty easy, right? Now, imagine you are your own friend or colleague, and do your best to describe yourself in the third person. For the sake of convenience, let’s say your name is Jaden.
What are Jaden’s best skills? What makes Jaden stand out among peers? Why would someone want to work with Jaden? How would Jaden’s friends describe him/her?
As unorthodox as this sounds, I highly recommend giving it a go. As long as you’re honest with yourself, this type of self-exploration can lead to some insightful realizations.
When it’s time to promote yourself, the most successful way to do so is to focus on what others need, and how you help meet that need. How do you feel when someone tells you all about a valuable product or service? Most of us are grateful. Imagine that’s what you’re doing when you promote yourself, because hopefully, you are.