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No one wants to come off as boastful, self-involved, or a pest. But we all want to be recognized for our accomplishments and network with leaders in our fields. 

So, how can you respond to this tension? Jennefer Witter has some ideas. Jennefer is a public speaker, author, and founder of The Boreland Group, a public relations agency that specializes in minority-led and women-owned companies.

She came on my live-streaming show Inside Scoop to share her knowledge as a seasoned PR expert.

Here are her top tips for feeling more comfortable with self-promotion.

Recognize your brand.

Before you even start thinking about self-promotion, Jennefer says it’s important to think about what you’re promoting. She said it all started with Tom Peters, who coined the term “personal brand’ way back in 1997 in this Fast Company article. He wrote that everyone should think of themselves as the CEO of their own company — like Jennefer Inc. or Paula Inc. 

Tom Peters wrote that “The brand is a promise of the value you’ll receive.” That’s why your brand is so important. It’s communicating to others the value of your skills and expertise.

When you’re thinking about what your brand is, consider what makes you unique. What skills and insights do you have? How can you highlight those things? 

Know when to share.

Jennefer says that one of the keys to self-promotion is relevance. If you’re sharing things on social media from months or even years ago with no context, you might start to be a pest — or at the very least, people will just ignore you.

But if you can tie in your past accomplishments with something that’s happening in the news or on the calendar, you can keep people’s interest. Jennefer also suggests varying the platforms where you share things so that you can increase your visibility with different audiences.

Network thoughtfully.

Rather than trying to connect with too many people, Jennefer suggests making targeted lists of people you want to network with. Add this to your calendar and keep it manageable — Jennefer suggests no more than one person a week. 

When you’re deciding who to reach out to, be strategic about your picks. Why do you want to connect with that person? What are you hoping to learn from them and what could they learn from you? After you have a conversation, keeping in contact with those people is so important for maintaining an authentic, caring connection.  

Never assume and don’t be afraid to ask.

When it comes to relying on your network to spread the word about an accomplishment, Jennefer says you should never assume but also don’t be afraid to ask! Instead of sending a blast email, you can reach out individually. Sometimes people are busy, but often people will be thrilled to share things you’ve done with their networks. 

Self-promotion doesn’t need to be stressful or awkward. In fact, talking about what you do can lead to meaningful, lasting relationships.

Here is my full conversation with Jennefer if you want to learn more. 

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