No one wants to sound like a complete douchebag, but think about how many times you've read someone's LinkedIn profile and gawped. Or what about the times you've watched an arrogant presenter doing a talk and thought, "where do they get these people from?"
Such examples are hardly isolated - there are a heap of 'professionals' that think that you have the shout the loudest and say the most audacious things to get people to think you're awesome.
It's more important than ever to consolidate a strong personal brand, for sue, but it is possible to build it on a basis of authenticity, integrity and fun. If you're someone that feels a bit uncomfortable with the idea of personal branding and highlighting your strong points then the good news is that you can promote yourself in more subtle, positive ways.
You don't have to brag when you brand yourself, and you certainly don't have to turn into an awful caricature that no one wants to work with. Build a personal brand that connects with people.
You're an expert at being you, so use your experience. It's easy to spot when someone's trying to be something they're not or attempting to emulate what they 'think' everyone else wants to see. The truth is that people are drawn to authenticity, and if people see you as down to earth and relatable, then you'll have a more significant impact on them.
Focus on your savvy skills and your biggest strengths and present them in a way that stays in tune with who you are and how you speak to people.
Look at the experience you've got and stick to the facts. It can be tempting to try and amplify your achievements or make yourself out to be a 'guru' in your field. If you're exaggerating then chances are you'll get found out. Someone will ask a question about something you're supposed to know that'll go over your head or you'll take on a project that you can't complete properly.
It's better to work with the credentials you've got and simply describe and outline your experience and what you're capable of doing.
A bit of humor never hurt anyone - especially self-deprecation. When you share your achievements in a light-hearted humorous way it can make you more endearing to people. You don't always have to downplay your success, but adding a humorous aside or a joke to proceedings can make you look more human and engaging.
This is a big one. How people share success and react to it is often a good marker for the type of person they are. Arrogance is normally held up as one of people's most disliked qualities in another person. Hearing someone consistently talk about themselves and their achievements and showing no interest in anyone else in the room - or on the planet - is one of the worst situations at a networking event or dinner party.
Simply put, no-one else is ever going to find you as interesting as you do - so why enter into a 20-minute monologue about how many sales you've made this quarter? People like to have back and forth conversations - that's actually what a conversation is - and feel that they learn about you and that you learn about them.
This is where you can promote yourself in a subtle way, by building a rapport and telling people about yourself, if it's relevant to the conversation.
The art of conversation, and knowing when it's appropriate to share and work on building your brand, is key, as you don't want to alienate people by sounding pretentious, arrogant and selfish.
Stay humble and try to make real connections with others.
Bring others up
It's more than likely that you work in a team, and even when you're building your personal brand, showing you're a team player is useful. Talk about some of the great work you've achieved with others or as part of a group and people will appreciate seeing that you're not taking the credit for everything.
Most people's achievements have benefited from the input of others at some point along the way - recognizing those people for their help and expertise is a good way to share success.
Branding is about connecting with your peers or customers, and by doing this in a positive, humble way, you can highlight your true personality and empower others at the same time.
You don't need to brag when you can share your success in an impactful, authentic way.
This post was originally published on Bryan Kramer's blog.