Brag!, whose full title is “Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It”, teaches readers how to effectively self-promote without coming across as a big show-off.
About the Author: Peggy Klaus is a communication and leadership coach who works with Fortune 500 corporations to help executives improve their self-presentation and promotion.
To Brag Effectively, Know Yourself
To brag effectively, you need to know what you should be bragging about.
Peggy Klaus provides the readers with twelve questions to go through.
Once you know the answer to those questions, you will better know yourself, and what to market about yourself.
Here are my favorite ones:
- What are your five personality pluses?
- What are the ten most interesting things you have done?
- What do you like/love about your current job/career?
- How do you use your skills and talents in your job and career?
- What projects are you working on right now that best showcase your skills and talents?
- What success are you most proud of?
- What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are?
- What have you learned from your mistakes?
A Job Well Done Does NOT Speak for Itself
Some people believe that doing a good job is all the promotion they need.
My Note: It Actually Depends on The Situation
Some jobs to speak for themselves, while some others, don’t.
If you have the spotlights on you and people see you struggling and achieving, for example, you don’t need to brag. Let others do it for you and it’s much more powerful.
But in cases where people only get to see the result, without the hard work and skills, then you do want to add some promotion.
Humility Does Not Get You Noticed
Yes, being humble can be good.
But if being humble means never promoting yourself, then that does not work.
Few people have managed to combine humility with the need to self-promote for success.
Don’t be one of those people who fail to self-promote and hides behind humility as if it were a virtue.
Sell Stories, not Numbers
No matter how good your numbers are, they do not make you sound impressive.
Klaus says that you want to talk about how you achieved those numbers, weaving a good story around them.
How it started, the challenges you overcame, how you insisted and maneuvered and, only after all the tribulations, how you managed to turn into a win.
Mix Bragging With Interesting Content: A Bragalog
If you only brag, people will think you’re a showoff and they will not like you.
If you only tell facts, you are boring.
And if you only tell interesting stories, you are an entertainer, but you’re not marketing yourself.
Peggy Klaus says that the solution is to mix an entertaining story with your bragging strong points.
Then people will want to hear more about your marketing and, while you sell yourself, you also come across as intelligent and likable.
One example of a bragalogue, for a NASA engineer introducing himself:
Hi, I’m Dan.
I’m one of those rocket scientists everyone always makes jokes about. I work on the space station program for NASA
- Confused willingness to stay silent with a failure to brag?
The author shares an example of a guy who “failed” to brag effectively.
On a plane, she asks him what he does, and he replies “management consultant”. The author asks in what field, and for what company.
The guy keeps replying with short sentences in spite he has a lot of strong points to brag about.
The author then stops, saying that he is failing at selling himself and making it interesting for her.
To me, it obviously looked like the guy just didn’t wanna talk.
And by providing short sentences he did the right thing: he clearly sent the message he didn’t want to be bothered.
- Does not differentiate between the time to brag and the time to show strategic humility
There are situations when humbleness is the ultimate bragging.
For example, when you others touting your own horn, that’s the perfect time to say little and come across as bigger than life.
I wished the author differentiated between the two scenarios: when you need to brag, and when it’s best to be self-effacing.
That’s true strategic thinking, but I didn’t see it here.
- Lots of examples, some of them good
The book lists a lot of examples of how to turn descriptions, facts, and accomplishments, into effective self-promotion messages.
Some of them were good.
- Wonderful idea of mixing entertainment with bragging
There is one great idea I take away from this book, and that’s to mix entertainment, storytelling, and bragging.
That was an eye-opener for me.
“Brag!” is a good book, with some good ideas and examples.
Most of all, I loved the idea of the “bragalogue”, which is a mix of bragging, storytelling, and entertainment.
That was really a great idea.