“You’re doing your employer or client a disservice by not telling them how you’re helping the company succeed.”
This is a quote I ripped out of one of my Women’s Health magazines. (Or at least I think it came from Women’s Health. It’s been floating around my house for a while as a scrap, but since Women’s Health is the only magazine to which I subscribe, I’m assuming that’s where this came from. But I digress.)
I ripped this quote out because it’s so true and, often, professionals – especially young professionals – struggle with this. I could go a step further and suggest that this can be especially hard for female professionals, as I’ve read such claims numerous times. In fact, that’s probably why this quote was in Women’s Health in the first place.
Many people struggle with telling others what they’re doing for them because they think it will come across as bragging or lacking in humility, and society tells us that quality people don’t do these things. And that’s true, to some extent. In the literal sense of the word, bragging isn’t cool; it means to “say in a boastful manner.” Boast: to “talk with excessive pride and self-satisfaction about one’s achievements, possessions, or abilities.” The problem is when more is attributed to the definition than is actually there.
Communicating one’s successes – especially to those who are paying for it – is just good business sense. Company owners need to know how their employees are making an impact on the bottom line. Clients need to know when their investments are paying off – and how they’re paying off. Otherwise, both parties will see those expenses as expendable.
So how do you go about communicating your successes if you’re uncomfortable with self-promotion? Try simply taking the factual route.
For clients: “As you know, we did X, Y, Z for you and, as a result, X, Y, Z happened.” Take things one step further and create a monthly wrap-up report, including results.
For your company: Try bringing a highlights report of your accomplishments at the company to your annual review. Also, compliment co-workers’ accomplishments in front of the boss or other decision-makers. Chances are, they’ll return the favor.
What are some ways you communicate your successes to those who need to know?
Melissa Rothermel Biernacinski serves as director of media relations for Imagine Communications.