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Has it been drilled into your head that “bragging” is a bad word and something that you’re not allowed to do? Years ago, when I was learning how to become a professional speaker, I was told time and time again that it’s not your place to talk about your own accomplishments because you risk turning off your audience. My guest today, Meredith Fineman, talks about why this is simply bad advice and how bragging is actually an art that is essential for communicating your full self.
Meredith is an entrepreneur, speaker, women’s advocate and best-selling author. Her latest book is “Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion,” where she offers an effortless and unapologetic approach to self-promotion and championing yourself. Listen to our conversation about her amazing book and the parts that make up an effective brag.
You Have Something Worth Talking About
Meredith has found that, all too often, people from interns to high-powered individuals have difficulty confidently discussing their accomplishments with others. “No matter the level of seniority, particularly for women, nobody knew how to talk about themselves,” she says.
She explains to us that although it can feel like a bad word, bragging is actually a learned skill that is absolutely essential to master if you want to effectively communicate your achievements. And you don’t need to wait to brag until you’ve made waves with huge accomplishments; small wins are worth self-promotion, too. “No matter where you are in your career, or who you are, you have something worth talking about.”
The Pillars of Bragging Better
In order to help others overcome their reservations about bragging and engage in useful self-promotion, Meredith came up with the pillars that form the idea of bragging better, which she discusses in detail in her book:
- Be proud
- Be loud
- Be strategic
- Be explicit
Being proud involves experiencing genuine pride in your work. According to Meredith, this can be the hardest point. “Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it,” she says. Being loud “isn’t about the volume of your voice, but involves how many times you are repeating something and how easy that message is to digest. What really breaks through is repetition and consistency.” Being strategic involves breaking through the noise of others by figuring out who our audience is and what we hope to accomplish in order to effectively deliver our brag.
What can we say about bragging during the pandemic? Meredith added a fourth pillar especially for these times: Be explicit. For so many of us, the only opportunity we have to brag takes place over video chat. Since we lack the body language and nuance of face-to-face interactions, she says that we have to “be extremely explicit and direct because you don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the computer. And also nobody can infer anything right now.”
The 4 Parts of An Effective Brag
Now that we’ve learned why bragging is not only good but also essential, and what the pillars of bragging better are, it’s time for us to come up with a good one. Meredith talks with us about the four components of creating an effective brag:
Gratitude and pride involve the inward experience of the brag and the emotions that you feel about your accomplishment. “It’s OK to be excited about what you do. There’s nothing wrong with that,” she reminds us. Presentation and showmanship are the outward expressions. According to Meredith, the presentation “involves the medium and the message,” asking “how best someone can absorb this information?” and delivering it through the appropriate channels. Showmanship means putting your unique flair on the brag, expressing your individuality.
Meredith reminds us that bragging is also a team sport. Not only should we learn the skill of bragging better for our self-promotion, but we should also effectively communicate the accomplishments of our colleagues. She says, “It’s part of your job to brag on behalf of and in service of others. Or sometimes pass that mic entirely.”
Want to Win a Copy of Brag Better and Betting on You?
2) Like the BRAG BETTER x BETTING ON YOU promotional post
3) Tell us your best brag about yourself in the comments
Bonus Entry: Share in your stories and tag us!
This giveaway is not affiliated or endorsed by Instagram, and Laurie Ruettimann will pick the winner at random. Open to residents of the U.S. who are 21 years of age or older. The contest runs until Friday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. ET. The winner will be announced Monday, March 1, at 9 a.m. ET. Laurie will DM the winner and reveal it in our stories!