In the age of the humblebrag, it can be slightly complicated to know when or how to brag and when to keep your good news to yourself. “Being humble is truly a positive trait, bragging is not,” said Arden Clise an etiquette expert and author of Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success.
Clise offered some tips on how to share your good news and accomplishments without bragging:
Keep it to yourself unless asked: Don’t offer your good news unless you’re asked how you are or there is a relevant opening. In other words, don’t crow about just how well you’re doing and don’t share with people who might not be happy about your success. If someone asks about how you’re doing and seems to genuinely care about you and your professional or life journey, feel free to share your good news. If you feel like someone is just humoring you though, feel free to steer the conversation in a different direction.
Just the facts, ma’am: “When you share your exciting update keep what you say low-key and don’t talk ad nauseam about it” said Clise. Save the juicy details for your mom, spouse or sister since they’re required by law to listen to every single detail no matter how boring or repetitive.
Share the glory: Clise reminds us to give credit to others for helping or recognizing you. People seem more inclined to listen to happy news if they hear the details of how you got to that better place.
Make it a conversation not a declaration: Clise said: “After sharing your accomplishment and getting a response, turn the conversation back to the other person.” She offered an example: “Things are really good for me right now. I’m pretty excited that I was recently promoted to Vice President at my company. It will be a challenging job but I’m lucky to have a really talented team working with me.” Pause. “How are things with you? Did you enjoy your trip to France?” Allow them to brag about something they’ve done so it’s not all about you.
Let others brag for you: “It’s much more powerful and impressive when you hold back and someone else shares your news,” according to Clise. She reminds us though that “this needs to happen organically, it can’t be orchestrated. But if you spend time with people who appreciate and respect you, they will surely share the exciting news if you don’t.”
A few other things to keep in mind:
You don’t have to always downplay your own success. If you find that your friends respond best to your tales of woe rather than success, it might be time to find better friends.
Keep a brag list for yourself: Sometimes it’s as important to remind yourself about your worth as it is to share with others. Create a folder in your inbox to file emails with praise and career recognition. Make a short success list for yourself and reread it before your next presentation. Or read your CV and recognize all the amazing things that brought you to this place.
Listen to the nice things people say: We’re taught not to brag and to downplay the nice things people say to us. What about if you actually allow yourself to accept praise and acknowledge that it’s well deserved? Sounds pretty revolutionary, but it might also encourage others to better recognize your worth.
Praise others: Everyone loves hearing about how talented and inspiring they are. It also makes them more inclined to listen when you share your own good news.