How to Toot Your Own Horn Without Sounding Like You Really Are

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You ever run into one of those people who consistently say “I am the best”, “I am the greatest”, I, I, I… get the point.  There is actually a way to show off what you have to offer without it sounding like, “Ta da! Aren’t I great?” It doesn’t have to contain even a hint of bragging. Believe it or not there are ways to let a wider audience know how good you are without ever saying so. Here are a few approaches you might try:

Create a confident, not arrogant, mindset – Arrogance is created by insecurity. Arrogant people often speak loudly about their accomplishments or possessions to get attention from other people, because they are trying to cover up feelings of being not good enough.  When you are confident, you will be secure because you know yourself and you know what you have to offer. You don’t have to feel superior to other people. You promote yourself because you know that what you have to offer can truly benefit other people. Confident people know that although not everyone will like them, they should still pursue what matters to them without being fazed by unwarranted criticism.

Speak purposefully about yourself.  Who doesn’t love to tell people about what they done, what the experience and what they have achieved in life.  If people believe they have learned something from you rather than thinking you’re merely bragging about yourself, then you will be viewed as leader.  Focus your conversation on pointing out your achievements with a sense of purpose. Convey ideas and guidance for others who want to do something similar. Then, you’ll have an opportunity to brag a little while teaching others the principles behind your successful approaches.

Admit your insecurities.  Who doesn’t have insecurities?  Bragging is a direct correlation between feelings of inadequacy. Even the most confident people in the world sometimes wonder if they’re going to be able to do what they need to do.  Believe it or not showing a little vulnerability in public is actually a sign of strength.  By you sharing your feelings, you can help others who are feeling the same doubts that you’ve felt.  Laugh at yourself when you make a mistake. Don’t cover up for mistakes by making excuses. People will appreciate your ability to assess yourself honestly and with good humor

Keep the “I” Out the Conversation. During a conversation, don’t use the word “I” in every sentence.  This will make you come across as arrogant, self-centered and self-absorbed. You can’t accomplish everything on your own, and you shouldn’t take full credit for every good thing that’s happened to you. A person who can unite other people together behind a cause and acknowledge their work is much more valuable than someone who takes all of the credit for everything. Give other people kudos. Whatever you’ve done, you’ve done thanks to the help and support of others.

Avoid the sound of your own voice. Arrogant, self-centered people tend to go on and on about themselves and their exploits while their listeners are looking for an escape route.  When talking focus on body language cues like glazed eyes, glancing at the watch or picking at fluff on clothing. These cues can show you that you’re getting tiresome and you need to stop bragging. Stop talking about yourself and ask the other person about himself or herself.  Listen and give feedback that reveals that you understand what the listener has said. If you ramble on about yourself, then people are going to run away from you the next time they see you coming down the hall because they’ll think you’re arrogant and annoying

Don’t criticize other people to feel good about yourself. Arrogant people try to bring everyone else down, but generous people build people up. Don’t criticize others in the same breath you are flaunting your achievements. Do compliment them on anything you actually like or appreciate about them. Frame your opinions of others in a positive way when you talk about them. If you can’t say something genuinely positive, just be neutral.

Give sincere compliments to others. Compliment people often for the things you genuinely admire about them. Never give a compliment that is phony. When a person compliments you, don’t launch into a discussion of how great you are. Be humble, accept the compliment.  You don’t always have to return a compliment if you don’t have anything sincere to say.

Let your actions do the talking. The way that you conduct yourself, if you’re honorable, will win you the respect of many people. You won’t have to brag at all because people will admire you just for how you live your life. If you want to fill a room with awe when you walk in, you’ll need to do something to deserve it.

Pick just one or several of these approaches to pursue and make a plan to showcase how good you really are without having to sound so arrogant.

Jacqueline Morgan is an advocate for business success. As a business leader I strongly believe in tapping into the power of your potential. As President of J Morgan Designs and Consulting, she can help your business to strive in both the real world and online. Find out more about her at


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