PM Articles > Carl Pritchard > A Few Lessons in Blatant Self-Promotion

A Few Lessons in Blatant Self-Promotion

by Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP

You were great! That was inspired! You’re the best! No one else could have pulled that off! Everyone was impressed!

Those kinds of accolades are hard to come by. And yet, when we receive them, we often take pause and find ourselves saying, sometimes in faux humility, "Oh, no. Really. It was nothing."

Forget THAT! It was something. It was a moment of high accomplishment. It was an achievement. And we need to learn how to leverage those achievements if we’re going to be able to advance our own careers and our goals. A team member at one of my most prized clients recently asked how she might be able to better promote herself and get some of the recognition that she merits in an environment where recognition is hard to come by. This article is largely my response. I told her she needs to invest some time in ensuring that she knows where she notices others and how she can put herself in those positions.

First – Find the Channels

The first step is to ask yourself where others in your field are recognized. Do they appear at international conferences or at the local community college? Do they write blogs or publish formal articles? Do they invest themselves in free public forums or paid symposia? Do they lead meetings or document the minutes? Are they stars or supporting cast? While any of these venues have the possibility of increasing our visibility, we would first identify the channels that are at our disposal for enhancing our professional visibility. If we know what they are, we can then clearly explore how to become part of the circle around them.

Second – Find the Criteria

For the channels identified, it’s important to ensure that we have a common understanding of what the criteria are to exploit the channels. I always find it interesting that folks don’t realize that PMI®’s selection process for their annual SeminarsWorld series begins almost a full nine months prior to the first seminar. Miss that deadline, and you cannot participate. And in order to meet that deadline, it’s essential that you’ve performed certain tasks in preparation. In all, getting a complete entry may begin more than a full year prior to the first offering. For some, that kind of timing is a showstopper. The reality is that it winnows the wheat from the chaff. It ensures that only the serious ultimately participate.

As such, it also creates an opportunity. Knowing the criteria to participate means that there will be individuals not willing to set the schedule and take the time to serve the criteria, and that narrows the field of competition.

Third – Identify “Best Fit” and “Long-Term” Criteria

“Best Fit” criteria are those that most closely align with our capabilities, our goals, and our vision of the outcome. These may be the criteria that are closest to what we’ve already done because we already know how to do them and do them well. These can also be those criteria that engender precisely what we want to do. They may be the criteria that will be the easiest to serve. These are the low-hanging fruit, ripe for quick return.

At the same time, we need to identify those criteria for which there’s a long lead time. If we have that information, we can begin building a case to serve those criteria early enough that we end up among the early adopters.

Fourth – Create the Master List and Master Schedule

Every promotional element or event—from article to coaching session—becomes a critical component of your master list of knowledge, skills, and abilities, and becomes the evidence demonstrating that those skills exist. Where there are gaps, it’s also possible to identify how soon you might be able to fill those gaps and how soon you can construct the evidence that renders you promotable. As for the schedule, remember that it opens the door for you to set loftier goals without making them seem unachievable. Set down the schedule, and even the most challenging promotional aspects of our careers seem more tangible and real.

Fifth – Start Building

The best fit and long term criteria need the first service. If there’s an opportunity to build relationships, articles, presentations or any promotional element, it’s important to start early. This also has the added benefit of creating a sense of forward motion and progress toward one’s personal promotional goals.

Even if the promotional aspects are all internal in nature, we need to pursue these steps. Why? Because no one else will readily step up to be our cheering section. We’re our own best fan club . . . or can be, if we’re willing to act like we merit a fan club. We need to make ourselves proactive and visible if we’re going to be able to have others promote us at some later date.

And oddly enough, the sooner we start promoting ourselves, the sooner we’re able to give others a reason to promote us.

Related Links
Make sure your priorities, goals, and actions are all heading the same direction with this worksheet. If you're uncomfortable with self promotion, try recasting career management as personal marketing. There are many ways to gain skills and experience without spending years living through it.

Not all comments are posted. Posted comments are subject to editing for clarity and length.

The article is quite invigorating and high achievable but things go unnoticed by most of us.
Thank you.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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