Three Strategies to Share Your Successes Without ‘Bragging’
Few people want to come off as a ‘braggart.’ It can alienate people around you, make you appear insecure, and prompt a lack of trust if the claims seem outrageous. There are, however, times when we need to present ourselves as confident, accomplished and competent – whether we’re applying for a new role, want to gain a promotion or win new business. Many of my coaching clients ask how to share their successes without coming across as arrogant or bragging.
Here are three strategies for presenting your successes so you are recognized for your hard work, and able to position yourself as ‘accomplished.’
1. Identify your ‘success stories.’
Think of the times when you’ve completed a major accomplishment. Sometimes, we don’t even consider what we do as an ‘accomplishment,’ when for others, it would be an incredible challenge. For example, maybe you developed a successful public relations campaign that brought positive publicity to your client, resulting in more new business. Or maybe you identified ways to streamline your company’s processes, resulting in improved customer service.
I’ve asked this question to coaching clients: “What’s a success story you can share with me?” On occasion, I’ve had clients who couldn’t answer the question until we drilled down considerably to understand their strengths and how they work.
One of my clients wanted to land a corporate role after spending 10 years working at an upscale pet boarding company. It was difficult for her to come up with a success story until we uncovered why Ann was so popular with pet owners. Her customer service was off the charts, as were her communication skills. People kept boarding their pets with this kennel because Ann kept them informed and truly cared for their pets. Building upon her customer service and communication skills eventually led her to a role in Human Resources at a giant tele-communications firm.
2. Explain your success story using the ‘tried and true’ method of CAR.
This is a simple formula to explain what you do or did to be successful.
What’s the challenge with which you were presented?
What action did you take?
And finally, what results did you accomplish?
One of my clients, Ed, faced the challenge of rebranding his real estate investment company’s website. What action did he take? He thoughtfully clarified the company’s values, identified what differentiated it from the competition and used inspired graphic design (colors, fonts, photos) to match the leadership teams’ vision for the company. The result? A modern, fresh and innovative take on what had been a rather conservative website. In fact, the rebranding effort lead to a promotion for Ed and a move to company headquarters.
3. Use a confident, ‘matter of fact’ tone of voice to share your success story.
Often, it’s HOW we share our success story that can make a difference in how it’s received. One of my coaching clients works as a project manager in a male-dominated tech industry. Suri is brilliant being the liaison between the clients and the IT team who build out what the client needs. Expressing her brilliance to a rogue IT manager who often made unauthorized changes at the last minute was extremely challenging for Suri. The IT manager was highly respected, had been with the company for years (while she was relatively new), and she needed him to understand that his changes were changing the outcomes of their tests. Admittedly, she was nervous about approaching him.
Suri identified her strengths – her success stories at managing previous projects, and we role-played the conversation she would have with this IT manager. Using a confident, firm tone of voice, she explained ‘this is what I do,’ and explained the impact his actions were having on the rest of the team. In the end, it wasn’t as ‘scary’ as she thought it would be, the rogue IT manager quit making the unauthorized changes, and the two of them built a solid relationship based on mutual respect.
The tone of ‘quiet confidence’ she used to share her story made the difference in how Suri’s message was received. And her self-confidence grew as a result.
How do you share your ‘success stories?’ What’s been an effective way to talk about your accomplishments without bragging? I’d love to read what’s worked for you in the comments below.
About the author: Margo Myers is an executive coach and communications consultant who helps her clients speak more powerfully with everyone, everywhere, every time. For your 4-Step Cheat Sheet to Give a Great Talk, please visit margomyers.com.