Tooting Your Horn: Men Do It, Women Don’t

Have you ever been with a group of guys and noticed that, ever so subtly, they drop tidbits about themselves – education, past work successes, athletic prowess – that highlight their strengths to the others? And they don’t drop just any tidbit – they only parcel out those of which they are proud. Hmmm. They’re bragging! Men do it all the time. Women… don’t.

Some of women’s reactions to the mere thought of self-promoting?

• “People won’t like me if I boast.”
• “Tooting your horn is just showing off.”
• “It’s ok to highlight others’ accomplishments, just not mine.”
• “Bragging is egocentric, disgusting, self-aggrandizing and just plain wrong!”

We may think bragging is distasteful but the guys sure don’t. Why is this? Most of it has to do with the way we were brought up. Most women have a social inhibition against boasting because society doesn’t afford its girls the same rights to certain behaviors that it affords its boys. Adults and girls’ peers don’t “approve” of girls’ promoting themselves and often discourage it.

So what’s the problem? Does it matter that girls are reluctant to let others know their strengths and accomplishments? Yes. It matters. Self promotion is imperative in today’s volatile, unpredictable workplace. Success means the ability to sell yourself… persuasively. If you aren’t proud of your accomplishments, no one else will be. The difficult part is learning how to blow your horn without appearing arrogant, self-aggrandizing, or obnoxious.

My suggestion is to formulate a three part strategic “methodology” for letting others know about YOU:

1. Build your story.

2. Always take the emotional temperature of your audience.

3. Be your authentic self.

So go ahead and boast a little. If you do it tactfully, you’ll be doing yourself a favor… and you may just learn that brag is NOT a four letter word!

By Erin Wolf

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