Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Does Humble Bragging Work?

The general consensus is that social media, especially Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have created a culture of self-promotion.  Given a vehicle to let people know how great they are without appearing to brag has led to the trend of humble bragging.

The term “humblebrag” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary last year as “an ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud."

The challenge is that we often need people to know about our accomplishments in order to promote our business.  When people don’t know us very well, it’s our job to help them understand who we are.  There is a risk that we will appear to be self-promoting and self-centered if we simply share facts about ourselves.

Enter humble bragging. These can be seen on social media, and heard at cocktail parties or over coffee.  Examples:
  • “I was only his assistant, but I singlehandedly attracted a new million dollar client.”
  • “I’m exhausted after all this shopping, but at least I found the perfect gift for everyone on my list.”
  • “I’ve received so many requests for proposals that I'm not sure I can fit them into my schedule."
To see more examples: https://twitter.com/humblebrag 
Branding your company or yourself is serious business.

What you can do:
  1. Have somebody brag for you….particularly in a way that makes you appear innocent of the praise.
  2. Share a compelling story.   Listeners can become immersed in the moment with you, making a deep impression. A story allows them to feel it for themselves. (This is perhaps the easiest, most effective and sincere.)
  3. Focus on facts not interpretation.  Keep it simple and straight forward.
When we’re striving to create a brand for our business, we need people to recognize that our accomplishments could make us an “expert” in our field.  Even though bragging might seem self-serving, at least it is sincere.  People instinctively know that the humble bragger is being inauthentic and will want to steer clear of them.

Being authentic is more likely to get someone to do business with you or fund your project. Be yourself.

I am president of Leadership Dynamics. Check out my Leadership Coaching Program on her website or email: ann@leadyourteams.com