Why does self-promotion feel like bragging?

7 May

I want your advice…

I just received an email message titled “The top 20 webinars of all time” from a company for which I’ve done webinars in the past. It was sent to the 20 top speakers out of the hundreds they work with and it started out: “An interesting list. If you are receiving this message, you are one of our top webinar leaders based on registrations…” (Sidenote: This company has done thousands of free expert IT webinars over the 5 years). The list followed in reverse rank order.

When I perused the list I found visionaries from my industry (software development and leadership), authors, competitors, and friends. When I got down to the second last item (#19  on the reverse ranked list having the second highest number of registrations), I noticed that its 1000 registrants was 400 higher than the first (lowest) entry on the list. Then I got to #20 where the speaker had more than double that number (over 2200 registrants) and found MY NAME! No fanfare, no hype, just my name beside my topic and over 2200 registrations!

Top DogWhat would you do?

Here I am the TOP DOG of all the webinar speakers this company has ever had by far, and it’s going to be up to me to promote it!  Certainly it’s an honor (I’m also a speaker) and yet it feels like bragging if I self-promote this (yes, that’s how I was raised…)

Does this happen to you?  I know I deserve my own “A pat on the back, and a bit of applause” (my posting earlier this week) and I’ve done that, yet it still doesn’t make it easy to tout my successes to the world — but here goes:

Carol Dekkers is the top webinar presenter of all time!

(for this NY based company)

Now that I’ve told you, what’s the best way to tell the business world?  Please send me your ideas and comments.

Happy weekend!


Carol Dekkers, Software Measurement and Global Software Development expert, author, speaker. Want to engage Carol to be a speaker at your next event? Email Ms. Dekkers at dekkers@qualityplustech.com or carol@caroldekkers.com or visit http://www.caroldekkers.com for details.

5 Responses to “Why does self-promotion feel like bragging?”

  1. Bill Ravensberg Monday, May 10, 2010 at 8:28 am #

    Congrats Carol … You really are a great speaker … personally, I find you fun to listen to while learning something at the same time.

    Re the self-promotional thing … It’s tough having those tendancies that many know are common to many in your native country. We’ll even get chastised for it when we try to do something about it. We saw some of this in the recent winter Olympics. It’s like some people expect us to step aside for others.

    Does that mean we are too polite and courteous and thoughtful of others?

    If so, I’ll stay that way and I’m sure you will to. But, at the same time, I believe you will gracefully find a way to get that self promotion out there.

    You deserve it!


    • caroldekkers Monday, May 10, 2010 at 10:48 am #


      Thank you for your sage comment. Friends commented that they thought it was more “genderized” but I forgot about the Canadian humbleness (except during Olympic Hockey!)

      Yes, I’ll stay humble (the only way I can face myself when I look in the mirror) and hope that others take the same stance as you do. Spread the word. 😉

      Have a good week!


      • Bill Ravensberg Monday, May 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm #

        Go Canada Go!

        The World Hockey Championships are underway right now.

        By the way … love the top dog pic!!!


  2. Roberta Guise Friday, May 7, 2010 at 9:22 pm #


    As a consultant who develops experts and thought leaders, I frequently run into people who feel the same as you do: how do you tout your success without sounding like you’re bragging?

    First, let’s dispel the myth that we shouldn’t let people know they’re working with a winner. People love winners, and your clients will value you more if they know you’re more successful than most in your field. So announcing significant achievements, especially when a third party has bestowed them on you, should be a key part of your marketing. If you don’t, others will, and they’ll leapfrog over you.

    Second, there’s a way to promote your success so that it resonates, and a way to do it so that it sounds like a bad brag.

    To tastefully promote your success, the key is to insert some value for the reader while making the announcement — think of what useful information you can put into it.

    So you could say that xyz organization announced today that Carol Dekkers has been named top speaker for 2010. Then briefly describe what you spoke on, and why your presentations bring value to audiences.

    If the announcement is for a press release, write it in 3rd person. You’ll also quote yourself briefly — here’s an example of what you can say for your quote: (“This came as a surprise,” said Carol Dekkers, President of Quality Plus Technologies of Seminole, Florida. “The feedback from audiences has always been that they get great value. and now I know why xxx has invited me to keynote three times in the past four years. So of course, I’m delighted,” she said.

    So to sum: it’s not bragging if you add value in your promotion. And it’s OK to forget that we were taught as kids (especially girls), not to brag.


    • caroldekkers Saturday, May 8, 2010 at 12:19 pm #


      Thank you so much for your astute comments. Your advice is timely and sage and I know that it will work. Have a great weekend. Carol


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