The Right Way to Toot Your Own Horn at Work

It is crucial that your employers are cognizant of your hard work and efforts…and the only one who will communicate this is…YOU.

However, you may be like many and feel uncomfortable talking about yourself.  Without practice, informing can turn into bragging.

To avoid this and successfully communicate your progress to your employer, follow these tips:

Use a Positive Tone

Present yourself with a positive attitude, smile, and do not dwell on your dislikes.  You want your employers to think happy thoughts when they think of you.  So, you will need to talk about your achievements and what you like about the job.

If you feel like you are a victim and are forced to do a lot of work, then you are not going to get as much praise as someone who touts that they accomplished A, B, and C.

Be positive and speak about your progress.

Focus on Yourself, Not Others

This is not sibling rivalry and you are not your coworkers.  Even if you are doing a lot more work than others, do not mention this in a progress report.

When you compare yourself to your colleagues, you make them the standard (to which you are indicating that you should be held).  You also make yourself look petty.

This should be all about you and the great things that you are doing.  You really do not want your employers to be thinking about your colleagues during this discussion.

Provide an Update, Not a List

Lists are great for quantity, but details are needed for quality.  Have a conversation.  Let your employer know about any special cases or projects that you worked on.

Let them see your passion by explaining the process and details of specific tasks.  Show them that you go out of your way to do a great job by giving them examples.

Regulate Your Horn Tooting Frequency

Clearly, you do not want to give updates too frequently or to sparingly.  However, the frequency depends on the nature of your work…as well as your relationship with your boss.

Set up a standing meeting with your boss.  To decide whether it should be weekly, biweekly, or monthly, ask yourself:

  • How often do I complete new tasks that I can report?
  • What frequency would be most convenient for my employer?
  • How often does my employer complete spot checks where we discuss the task at hand?
  • Do I provide updates in staff meetings? How frequently? How detailed?

Always Mention the Future

Employers love employees that are always trying to improve.  To avoid bragging, you need to mention one or two challenges.

But, of course, you cannot mention a problem without a solution.  Clarify your desired end-result and a summary of your plan to get there.

For example: “I am struggling my patient load, since I want to give detailed attention to all of them.  But, I know I must prioritize.  So, I am going to pilot a strategy where I “screen” all the patients per station, prioritize them, and determine the amount of time that I can dedicate to each.  I will let you know how this works next time we meet.”

Use these strategies to reveal your value at work.  A little communication goes a long way.

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About the Author

Devon L. Golem, PhD, RD is the founder of the Institute of Continuing Education for Nutrition Professionals. She has spent over a decade providing education and career guidance to nutrition students, interns, and professionals.

Connect with Devon on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

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