Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion

Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion

by Meredith Fineman
Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion

Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion

by Meredith Fineman


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This effortless and unapologetic approach to self-promotion will manage your anxiety and allow you to champion yourself.

Does talking about your accomplishments feel scary or icky because you're worried people will think you're "obnoxious"?

Does it feel more natural to "put your head down and do the work"?

Are you tired of watching the loudest people in your industry get disproportionate praise and rewards?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, you might be self-sabotaging. You need to learn to Brag Better. Meredith Fineman has built a career working with "The Qualified Quiet": smart people who struggle to talk about themselves and thus go underestimated or unrecognized. Now, she shares the surefire and anxiety-proof strategies that have helped her clients effectively communicate their achievements and skillsets to others.

Bragging Better doesn't require false bravado, talking over people, or pretending to be more qualified than you are. Instead, Fineman advocates finding quiet confidence in your opinions, abilities, and background, and then turning up the volume. In this book, you will learn the career-changing tools she's developed over the past decade that make bragging feel easy, including:
  • Get remembered by focusing your personal brand and voice on key adjectives (like "effective, subtle, and edgy")
  • Practice explaining what you do in simple, sticky terms to earn respect and recognition from the public and people at work.
  • Eliminate words that undermine your work and find better ones—like your bio saying you're "trying" or "attempting" to do something instead that you ARE doing it.

  • If you're ready to begin Bragging Better—to telling the truth about your accomplishments with grace and confidence—this book is for you.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780593086810
    Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
    Publication date: 06/16/2020
    Pages: 288
    Sales rank: 341,320
    Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.30(d)

    About the Author

    Meredith Fineman is an entrepreneur, writer, and host. She is the founder and CEO of FinePoint, a leadership and professional development company that elevates individuals, from young professionals to CEOs, and particularly women on an upward trajectory. Fineman is a freelance writer of 15 years and book collaborator, with bylines from Harvard Business Review to Forbes, Fast Company, and more. She speaks and trains on the power of self-promotion to companies, brands, universities, and groups. She created and hosts It Never Gets Old, a podcast on second-hand and sustainable fashion.

    Read an Excerpt


    The "B" Word

    A few years ago, a thoughtful, personable, and talented client came to me wanting to determine why she felt consistently underestimated. Let's call her Nina.

    Nina was tired of feeling invisible in rooms and being passed over for opportunities she felt that she deserved. She did deserve them-it was dead obvious. Like the majority of my clients, she was a member of The Qualified Quiet: a group of highly competent individuals who are underestimated because they lack a strategy for self-promotion, thinking their will work speak for itself. Well, it does not.

    Nina was a star. She knew the material backward and forward, in this case politics-she reported on specific demographics and representation. Nina knew her stuff. She had worked harder than most to get a semipopular newsletter off the ground. She clocked sixteen to eighteen hours per day but wasn't taking any of this time to step back and talk about her work, either online or offline. She was stuck in the weeds-and it's easy to get there-analyzing dozens of political races and putting together briefs and research.

    Like most of The Qualified Quiet, she was working too hard on the product and not enough on the presentation. When Nina promoted her work, she didn't highlight her credentials and accomplishments, nor did she showcase her witty sense of humor, which made her more engaging than most of the other dry pundits out there. Nina made the mistake of focusing only on the "work" she produced, not realizing her assets included her personality. She also had a star quality about her, one that is difficult to describe but you know when you see it.

    At the time that Nina came to me, she was struggling to get on TV. She had done some past appearances, but she wanted to be a more familiar face, someone who viewers cared about. For Nina, TV made sense as a next step to sharing her knowledge-not only to grow her newsletter, but also to cement her status as a political authority. And the idea of shaking up the boring panels we're used to seeing on TV was appealing, too. I knew Nina was capable of it. I don't often say that, because TV is the hardest form of media to secure and on which to perform well.

    Nina and I had to tell her story and show the world just how exceptional she was in order to elevate her work. Our time together focused on maintaining her already outstanding newsletter and also creating a focused and thorough personal website. We updated all of Nina's bios to assure that they were consistent and strong. We got her new headshots. We also worked on boosting her confidence about herself and identifying any limiting beliefs that held her back from sharing freely about her accomplishments. Nina wanted to be a star, so she had to think and act like one.

    As we did this tactical work, I started to badger TV producers about using Nina as an expert. It's notoriously hard to break into TV, as television appearances are fickle (easily canceled, moved, or "bumped"). Most people aren't going to be good on television, and a booker who secures the talent rarely takes a chance on an unknown.

    However, I had to get Nina into the rotation. I sent Nina on trips to New York and told bookers we would "be in the area" and available for television. (I mean, technically we would be, because I had her travel there, a tactic I still use with a big cheese I want to meet. It only takes a flight or a train to be "in the area.") I know producers are more likely to book someone who is local. So, I made her local. We started getting traction, but it was slow going. Nina smiled her way through junior appearances, including one panel with five people in the audience.

    One of the reasons why it was easy to promote Nina was that she had unambiguous goals. She knew her audience, her desired medium, and her message. She knew exactly where she wanted to be. She wanted to be a television commentator, and she knew specifically which shows she wanted to book and that her audience was interested in politics.

    A few months later, Nina got her shot.

    I will never forget the day that Nina did her first appearance on the show we had been gunning for. As a cord-cutter millennial without live TV, I had to figure out where to watch her appearance. I turned off the sports channel blaring in the roof lounge of my apartment building to the chagrin of the dudes watching it and told them it was time to watch a woman do her thing.

    Nina really did her thing. I wasn't surprised, but it went beyond my expectations.

    Nina began the segment as a one of several standard commentators. When the host introduced her and asked her a question, she was ready. I watched her rattle off facts and pertinent information at lightning speed. She was armed with her key talking points, but she also took advantage of the short time that was allotted to her by immediately displaying just how deep her knowledge of politics went. The host was taken aback, in a good way, and began to engage with her exclusively for the rest of the segment. The host then began to ask her for advice and thoughts. It was by far the best television appearance I had booked to date. It was a magical moment.

    Nina told me later that the producers in the control room, the ones behind the cameras calling out the shots and angles, came out to speak to her after the segment-which does not happen, ever. She was that good. These people see commentators every day, and yet they cared enough to stand up and tell her what a good job she had done.

    It was a lightning moment for someone who had done the work and was ready to brag about it. Ever since that appearance, Nina hasn't stopped doing the show. She's on that same show at least once a week, as well as many others, and she has grown to be a formidable television presence. She is now so comfortable on TV-cracking jokes, calling out injustice-that she even has entire segments dedicated to her and her ideas.

    There are likely many Ninas among you. Even if you don't want to be on TV, even if you never want to stand on stage, you still want to rise in your respective field. You still want to be recognized for your work and respected for your well-thought-out opinions. No matter your goal, Brag Better will give you the tools to brag through whichever medium you choose. You already have what it takes to begin, and I will take you to the next level and beyond.

    Redefining Bragging

    "Brag" is a dirty word. I'm here to change that. I use it intentionally. I want to get your attention, then show you how to do it.

    You are amazing, and I want everyone to know it. I got so tired of hearing people say that talking about themselves "feels bad" or that they are scared people will think "I'm full of myself." I set out to change these sentiments through a decade of coaching, training, speaking, advising, and helping people Brag Better and get what they wanted out of their careers.

    Table of Contents

    Dear Reader ix

    Part 1 The Basics of Bragging Better

    1 The "B" Word 3

    2 Why Is Bragging So Hard? 23

    3 Be Proud 41

    4 Be Loud 67

    5 Be Strategic 87

    Part 2 The Campaign of You

    6 Résumés, Bios, Headshots, and Personal Websites 115

    7 Introductions 127

    8 Pitching 137

    9 Salary Negotiations 155

    10 Public Speaking 163

    11 Bragging Online 175

    Part 3 Going Pro

    12 Facing Your Bragging Fears 183

    13 How to Deal with Being "Out There" 205

    14 How to Help Others Brag Better 221

    15 Ask Others to Brag for You, Too 245

    Your Brag Better Future 255

    Acknowledgments 261

    Notes 263

    Index 269

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