A little over a month ago I gave a personal branding training to a group of aspiring female entrepreneurs and I shared what seems to be one of the most difficult parts to understand and overcome within (life and) business; talking about yourself! From 9-5’ers to serial entrepreneurs there seems to be a consistent trend that most just don’t ‘get’ how to talk about themselves, their business, or their successes without feeling like they are bragging. Well, I can sum up my theory pretty quickly…if you have to eat based on what you say you should probably learn to sell yourself :)
Throughout the month I go to a few networking events and the BEST part is where you get a chance to tell who you are. You have to muster up the confidence to go from “Hi I’m Kia Jarmon, creative director of The MEPR Agency” to “Hi I’m Kia Jarmon, creative director of The MEPR Agency a boutique public relations firm and we are always seeking new clients with small businesses, non-profits, and government agencies. I am currently writing a book called “Learn How to Be Selfish”, and I speak on multiple topics regarding public relations, entrepreneurship, business development, and personal branding. Please let me know if I can come to your business and offer a training.” In that very moment I have identified who I am, what I do, what I am looking for, and how I can help you. After all, isn’t that what people want to know from you?! Of course you can tailor that “commercial” to fit the room that you are speaking to with recent awards and opportunities that you can bring to the group, like job openings.
Somewhere (over the rainbow) the words ‘brag’, ‘promote’, and ‘sell’ have gotten a bad rap but isn’t the saying true “it’s not what you say but how you say it?” This is the case for these words. Sharing with others your successes is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact you should share on multiple platforms and even yell from the mountaintop if you want. However, it is important to remain humble and gracious but by all means don’t feel like you need to keep your great work to yourself. There is hope for you also because eventually you will get to a point where others will do the talking for you and the process becomes easier and more comfortable.
As always I like to make sure you have a few quick tips to help. Here are a few ways for you to start your own “fan” club!
Learn to separate you from the business: Do you remember when you worked a 9-5 and you could describe your company, your job description, and all the other details surrounding the company? It’s probably because you had no vested interested beyond your paycheck that you could rattle those items off. Yes, I know your business is your baby but genuinely you need to detach. Take a step back, act like an employee (which you are at least half of the time), and don’t feel bad for sharing the great parts of the company.
Use social media: Online platforms are the best avenue to share immediate information from recent press to awards and accomplishments. Here’s a brief rundown: linkedin is great to share business news; facebook is a long form to show personality, post longer updates and notes, and even present a call to action; twitter is a microblog where you can share information in 140 characters or less; blogging allows you to share your thoughts in written form and even use tags to ensure you move up on the google search; youtube is a great place to post videos of you/your company and its updates; and pinterest allows you to share your thoughts through pictures!
Be genuine: This one seems so self-explanatory but I will give a little more insight. Talking about yourself really is hard and most people will empathize with you. Remain humble and sincere and the rest will follow. If you are truly passionate about what you have built it will become easier and easier to talk about your successes and even your failures without much hesitation.
Now let me give a caveat; everyone will not understand this concept and honestly it is not for meant for everyone to understand. This is really for those who want to grow their business and their brand under the concept of being their biggest fan! Happy Sharing!
Kia Jarmon is a brand strategist and PR coach with boutique public relations firm, The MEPR Agency, based in Nashville, TN. She speaks, blogs, mentors, and is soon to be an author. You can find more information at her personal brand site, www.KiaJarmon.com.