In my experience women shy away from self promotion because they:
- Are more focused on what skills and experience they don’t have, versus what they do have.
- Feel awkward talking about themselves.
- Seem concerned about how others will respond to a woman talking about herself.
So I’ve written this guide to help women:
- Feel confident talking about themselves.
- Be courageous and take steps to market their talents.
- Value and recognise their skills and experience, as well as their potential.
- When are you at your best?
Review your career and recognise when you’ve been at your best. Ask yourself questions with a positive spin, such as ‘What is it about you and the way you do your job that makes you the best at something?’
- Highlight the key words?
After answering the questions in step one, highlight the key words that you notice. The keywords or those words you see most often will be your strengths. Capture 3-5 bullet points that help you summarise your skills, experience and achievements.
- Find the benefit for the organisation
Find the value or benefit that the skills, experience and achievements that you have highlighted add to an organisation. Organisational benefits normally relate to one of three categories: financial, productivity or image. For example, if you were able to negotiate a preferred supplier agreement the benefit would be a reduction in the number of suppliers to manage and budget savings of $300,000 due to economies of scale with fewer suppliers
- Know what’s expected for your aspirational role
Review profiles on LinkedIn® of people in roles that you aspire to. What skills and experience do they have that are similar to yours? What skills and experience do they have that you need? Remember, that the research tells us ‘men need to have 60% of the qualifications to feel ready for a role and women need to have 100%’(1). What do you need to be 60% qualified?
- Understand your potential
In my coaching and HR experience, men appear confident when talking to their potential, versus women who tend to stick to the facts about their achievements and skills alone. Talking to your potential instills confidence in others about your potential to grow, develop and be agile. Based on what you know about the role you’re aspiring to, what’s your potential?
- Prepare a 15-second ad
When networking and talking to others about yourself, you need to be succinct and confident. I suggest to my clients to prepare a ’15-second ad’. You may have heard this talked about as an elevator speech. It needs to be something that you can say in 15 seconds or less, just 3-4 sentences.
- Role play until it feels more natural
Find a supportive partner, friend, colleague or coach who you can practice saying your 15-second ad out loud to. Or practice by saying it to yourself whilst you are looking in a mirror. It feels weird at first, but after a while, it will start to roll off your tongue!
- Update your self promotion tools
Use the information that you have gathered about your skills, experience, achievements, 15-second ad, organisation value and potential in steps 1 to 7, and update your LinkedIn® profile and CV.
- Imagine you confidently self-promoting yourself
Use visualisation as a technique to build your confidence. Visualisation is a technique used by 90% of Olympic athletes and 96% of Olympic coaches (2). Use visualisation to imagine yourself confidently talking about your skills, experience, achievements and potential.
- Step out of your comfort zone
Stepping too far out of your comfort zone can cause you to panic and take no action. But in order to learn and grow you need to step out of your comfort zone into your learning zone. This is a place where you might feel a small amount of discomfort but you are stretching yourself and growing.
(1) Hewlett-Packard internal report
(2) Clinical Sports Medicine: Medical Management and Rehabilitation By Walter R. Frontera