Winning Through Effective Self Promotion Part 1

by Brad Isaac on June 26, 2007

Promote_YourselfSetting personal goals and working single-handedly toward their success is both noble and a worthwhile use of your time. But as you reach for more challenging goals you are going to need the cooperation of others. Others can help you with their skills and resources. They will make it easier to succeed in the long run.

Effective self-promotion is the way to get others to “buy into” your vision.

For a moment, think of all your friends. Look at the clothes you bought recently, look at the car you drive. Why did you choose all these?

Likely, a major factor influencing your choices is promotion. You heard some word of mouth about your car and decided you wanted one. You read some websites about your cell phone and decided you had to have it. You and your friend ‘clicked.’

Similar to how marketers promote stuff to buy, people who are good at goal setting need to be good at self-promotion. People need to see you and what you offer as a benefit so they can help you reach your goals.

Why self-promotion?

Job seekers may think “hey I’m the best, people should just know I am the best. Here’s my resume”

If you are shy or introverted (the term I like to use) then you may feel self-promotion is too much like bragging. You don’t want to boast and brag.

That’s not what self-promotion is. Self-promotion is giving people enough of the right information that they can make a ‘buying’ decision. By buying decision, I don’t necessarily mean pay money for something. Buying could mean hire you, or form a relationship with you or to be your ‘goal buddy’ who you work with you on an exercise program.

Without Self-Promotion People Are Oblivious

Let’s be honest. People are concerned with WIIFM? Translation: What’s in it for me? If you don’t know how to promote yourself, others make a snap judgment on what they see right then and if you don’t meet some need they have, they ignore you or worse, they pigeonhole you into some category.

“He’s the computer guy”
“She’s the fast-talking secretary”
“She seems like a lazy accountant”
“He’s a showoff with his red car”

People don’t ignore you or make snap judgments to be mean. They take their first impression and then size you up based on what they see. Mostly, they just don’t have the time to figure you out all out by themselves.

There are distractions everywhere. The phone, Instant messages, e-mail, web pop-ups, drop in coworkers, lunch appointments, bills and family all competing for attention. So how do you make headway with people who can help you?


If you are looking for a job, is a resume enough? Is a phone call to a recruiter enough? If you work for Google or Microsoft, maybe. But the rest of us have to promote ourselves.

If you are looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend is an ad on a dating site going to do the trick? Hmmm… It might, it’s worked for thousands of others, but what might work better is self-promotion.

If You Take Your Goals Seriously Then Self Promote

People who take their personal goals seriously will need to promote themselves because so much of what we do can’t be done alone. If your goal is losing 50 lbs, it won’t be effective if a spouse is eating Twinkies and Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream in front of your face. Or let’s say your goal is to get a raise. If you can’t effectively promote yourself, a raise is difficult for an employer to justify.

Our goals need other people to help us along the way.

Let me give a personal example. You probably wouldn’t be reading this or my blog if someone hadn’t directed you to me. Be it the guys at Google who run a great search engine, another blog, or maybe someone dropped you an e-mail saying “hey this guy knows a thing or two about getting things done.” Most of my readers come by the way of someone else – thanks someone else!

But it wasn’t always that way. People didn’t just psychicly know that I ran a blog and make a B – line for I had to do self-promotion in the earlier days. And I never stopped, I still do self-promotion.

In fact, whether you think you do or not, everyone is promoting themselves to some degree. But some may be projecting the exact opposite image of what they want to promote.

Like I pointed out above, you might not like to be pigeonholed based on only one of your skills or attributes. You are a 3 dimentional human with many wonderful traits. Not just “the tall guy with the PDA.” But unless you have the money to hire a publicist, you are going to have to promote yourself in order to get the word out to the right people.

Self-promotion is usually easier for extroverts because talking and interacting with people is natural. So introverts will need to buckle down and get out of their comfort zones to do it. Sorry introverts! But introverts can do it, I am living proof of that.

Gain the Self-Promotion Mindset

So now that we’ve established that self-promotion is a good thing, where do we start?

You can gain power by recognizing the point I mentioned before about how (for lack of a better word) selfish people are. Again, I am not saying ‘selfish’ as a judgment or insult. People want the best for themselves and their families, don’t you?

So, a simple awareness of how others are often thinking “what’s in it for me?” will give you a new perspective on how to approach them. With a simple twist in your approach, you can start defining yourself to others more effectively. You can paint a more accurate picture of what benefits a new employer would get from hiring you. A potential date will know that they are not taking such a big risk by going out with you.

Continue reading part two of this series: Winning Through Effective Self Promotion Part 2: The A.I.D.A. Formula Explained

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June 27, 2007 at 10:50 am


Another excellent post! (You are racking up the Pillar Content.)

People who use the “I don’t like to brag about myself” response when confronted about their lack of self-promotion often have a very complex internal story built up to support self-sabotaging behaviors. The root cause is nearly always a low self-image and insecurity, and it’s not easy breaking through that story/shell to have a meaningful conversation about promoting their talents.

I have a very talented artist friend who has spent nearly 20 years working in non-artistic ‘day jobs’ because he does not ‘go after’ work. Instead, he practices and practices and practices his drawings where no one can see him.

You’ve done a great job explaining the need for self promotion and why it is actually a help to the people who are trying to find you.

Andrew Seltz
The Go-To Guy!

Brad Isaac June 28, 2007 at 9:29 pm

Andrew, thanks for the comment and the encouragement about the pillar content. :)

You going to get your buddy out of his shell to sell some art?

June 29, 2007 at 1:28 am

Great post. It’s true that most of our goals are hard to achieve without self promotion. We need to inform the right people to help us do great things for our goals.

July 1, 2007 at 10:44 pm

I’m with you. There are situations that needs us to have the courage to do things. We can’t expect to achieve our goals if we are not prepared to do those challenges.

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