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Toot Your Own Horn – How, When, and Why to Praise Yourself

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Nobody likes that one friend who brags too much. Whether it is about medals awarded, who they know, or the job they hold, something about it feels arrogant and disingenuous. Most would agree that humility is a desirable attribute in friends and business partners.

But what if humility is less about never speaking highly of yourself and more about knowing how and when to do so?

Why you should toot your own horn

In the words of Special Forces veteran, ADU speaker, and expert entrepreneur Larry Broughton, “If you’re not tooting your horn when you’re trying to get new clients, launch your business, attract investors, attract rockstars to your organization, who is going to do it for you?”

You are your best and often only advocate. You’ve done great things and it is okay to let others know that in an appropriate way. They want to partner with you but they won’t know that if you always sell yourself short in the name of ‘humility.’ 

You’ve got to toot your own horn appropriately.

When to toot your horn

As a general rule of thumb, tooting your own horn around your friends and family is not the move. Don’t brag constantly to your friends, it can get obnoxious. Yes, celebrate your victories with them – but you probably don’t need to layout your whole resumé.

The most appropriate time to praise yourself is when you are building credibility with someone. Someone who doesn’t know a ton about you won’t be willing to take many risks with you – whether that’s buying your product, hiring you, or investing in your business – unless you show them some evidence of why you’re trustworthy.

Don’t be shy about showing others why you are credible.

How to toot your horn

When you’re building credibility with others, don’t exaggerate the importance of your accomplishments. Be genuine about what you did and what the impact was.

Even the way you share your successes can have humility. Try not to puff yourself up. Instead, share the genuine facts and stories that display an honest assessment of why they should work with you. The goal isn’t to get them to worship at your feet, it’s to help them trust you. Let your tone and word choice reflect that.

If you toot your own horn appropriately, you may be surprised at how many successful connections you can make.

schuyler@americandreamu.org

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