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Business Observer Friday, Apr. 16, 2004 14 years ago

Lasday: 'You've Got Bragging Rights'

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Be ready with a quick self-commercial. In today's economic environment, bragging is a must.Lou Lasday, an independent marketing advisor who resides on Longboat Key, creates action-oriented strategic marketing initiatives for emerging companies.

Lasday: 'You've Got Bragging Rights'

Be ready with a quick self-commercial. In today's economic environment, bragging is a must.

"Bragging" is simply a key strategic personal initiative and a very individual and highly specialized form of self-expression to promote yourself as an accomplished, upwardly mobile professional. Mastering it is easier said than done because we innately think that our employer, supervisors and associates know us and what we are contributing. We think it's necessary to choose between remaining obscure and sounding obnoxious.

Today, bragging is no longer an option if you want to survive and prosper. Fortunately, there is a bragging middle ground. It's a kind of creative portfolio of street-smart conversational, well-edited self-commercials you have at the verbal ready position. It's an artful, organized way of communicating. You'll turn a spotlight on yourself in a manner that not only feels natural and comfortable to you but to those on the receiving end as well.

One important point to acknowledge is that the days of job security in exchange for loyalty and hard work are long gone. If you agree, then you must also recognize the value of self-promotion in maneuvering today's volatile and unpredictable workplace.

Change is certain

Given the constant changes - mergers, management shifts, downsizing, restructuring, branch closings - you must let all management in your own organization know who you really are and what has made you unique in accomplishing your daily tasks. Look at it this way: the raise in pay, increase in commission percentage or additional responsibility you'll seek at year-end must naturally be earned, but must also be promoted on a continuing basis throughout the entire year.

Even if you do a credible job in keeping your immediate boss advised of your good work, don't think for a moment that he himself may not be out at the next financial shortfall.

So let's go on the "journey of self" by putting your best foot forward - while keeping it out of your mouth!

Show up prepared

As important as those inside your firm may be, those on the outside who could leapfrog your career are every bit as important. They are your industry associates, personal friends, influential business leaders, customers, suppliers and even direct competitors.

Smart self-promoters show up in front of everyone prepared! They value face-time with others and are always ready with pre-conceived, promotional short stories about themselves that break through the verbal clutter. They know that "positive regard" from others isn't going to "just happen." It's not going to "just happen" on job interviews. It's not going to "just happen" at performance appraisals, during presentations, at networking events, at social functions you attend, or all the events where one single great conversation could change your entire career path. So, like a good scout, be prepared. The really great opportunities to self promote are going to come your way when you least expect them.

A word from our sponsor

"Brag" may be a four-letter word. But it's not becoming something you are not or trying to push yourself in an intrusive manner. In fact, it's more about becoming who you are. It's giving you identity. It's realizing why you're truly unique and communicating your strengths and accomplishments in a friendly, informative, truthful manner. It's simply a small series of short stories - a mini campaign of 60-second "commercial messages" about you. In fact, one well-woven 60-second story about you will tell more to anyone than the most well structured resume.

You're a one-man brand

As in any good commercial, you'll list the features, accomplishments and then the benefits (results) of the product, which in this case, is you. The format should be that of a one-on-one conversation at a Tamiami Trail coffee house with a successful newfound friend. You'll leverage humor, antidotes, strength, enthusiasm, sincerity and a tad of humility.

Every product has a USP - a unique selling proposition, so why can't you? Well, you can. And, you must. That's because in this economic age, you are indeed a self-contained One Man Brand. It's what makes you stand out in a crowd.

So, let's stop the nagging and start the bragging. And, let's remember those famous words of that 20th Century philosopher and baseball maven, Dizzy Dean, who said, "It ain't bragging if you done it!"

Lou Lasday, an independent marketing advisor who resides on Longboat Key, creates action-oriented strategic marketing initiatives for emerging companies. A career direct response executive, he has been a general partner of a national advertising agency and regional president of the American Marketing Association.

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