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Don't Leave Yourself Behind: The importance of self-promotion in your professional PR journey

Izabela Hamilton, Executive Coach, Communications Consultant and CIPR International committee member emphasises the importance of self-promotion.

As communications professionals, we are adept at helping our clients rise above the noise.

Hence it should go without saying that we are good at doing the same for ourselves, to stand out from the crowded PR marketplace.

But, having delivered a number of Google’s #IAmRemarkable workshops for 150+ women, I have seen first-hand that many of those working in the PR industry still find it challenging to talk openly about their wins.

They admit that they should be better at it, however, for some reason they just don’t toot their own horn often enough.

So, why do many PR pros struggle with this?

Fear of coming across as a shameless braggart may have something to do with it, and perhaps also cultural and modesty norms. Research shows that women, in particular, are conditioned from a young age to “not be too bossy”, keep quiet or be grateful that they have a job in the first place.

Demonstrating our personal contribution is more critical than ever before, especially if we are eyeing up that C-suite position. For anyone working in a comms team, having “a seat at the boardroom table” might have been challenging in the past. Thankfully, it does not seem to be the case anymore.

When you speak up about what you have achieved and take credit for all the hours and hard work that went into a specific project, the chances of getting that seat are much higher.

So, what can you do to improve your self-promotion skills as a PR professional?

1. Flex your self-promotion muscle.

Just as you would go to the gym to work on your abs, you need to start flexing your self-promotion muscle too. It will take some time and practice – you may well have to fight your inner critic along the way – so be patient. Spot any opportunity to raise your hand, mention your input, demonstrate your value and self-advocate.

2. Identify someone who does it well and find your own way.

There are a lot of people within our industry (and beyond!) who are brilliant at talking about their achievements and they come across very naturally. Keep an eye on them, learn their tricks and find your own voice. Top tip: do not try to be like someone else – be authentic!

3. Think about your ‘why’.

One of the main reasons you may want to share what you have done is to inspire others to try new things for themselves. There is a reason why Ted Talks are so popular: they inspire us to take action, show us that we can always start over, and that it’s okay to fail.

4. Practice, practice, practice Whenever you reach a goal or significant milestone – at work or in your personal life – write it down. Then, practice saying it out loud until it rolls off your tongue easily. It might feel awkward to begin with (verbalising our success often does) but again, if you want to move up the career ladder, you have to persist with self-advocacy and self-promotion.

5. Keep a record of your achievements

Create a personal “feel-good file”. On a day when things do not go so well – you lost a loyal client, or you just did not get the expected results on the back of your PR campaign, looking at the list will act as a pick-me-up and get you back on track.

Building the self-promotion muscle is a one-step-a-time process that will help you rise through the ranks. After all, why put all your energy and effort into creating success for your client, but not do the same for yourself?

About Izabela Hamilton Izabela Hamilton is the Founder of Initiative Hub, Coaching & Communication Consultancy and a certified Executive Coach. She specialises in coaching and mentoring female leaders, and helping companies build sustainable and meaningful communication strategies. She is also an #IAmRemarkable by Google Facilitator.

You can find and sign up for an #IAmRemarkable course here.


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