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    Women Business Leaders: Try Idea Promotion Instead of Self-Promotion

    I am in the business of promoting others. Being in the public relations business has afforded me the opportunity to learn and refine the art of promoting. However, promoting myself is another story. I was a shy child with an unimpressed sense of self. It took me years to realize that my intuition and experience are valuable assets to my clients, but what about me? I have to admit that now, even as a woman business leader and business owner, I struggle with self-promotion — even though I know all the rules.

    I found a great article by Kristi Hedges on how to think of self-promotion as idea promotion, instead. I thought her concepts offered some valuable lessons for women business leaders, and I’ve condensed highlights from her article here:

    1. Find a cause that combines your career and your passion.
      Determine what you value about your career, industry and profession. Consider what you talk about with your close colleagues or dream of changing with your co-workers. For example, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg talks often about the importance of women to forge ahead in ambitious leadership roles.
    2. Put yourself in places to take advantage of your position and provide a larger platform.
      Now that you have your ideas, you have to find opportunities to express them. Write a blog, author articles online, or develop a Twitter following. You can make thought leadership a professional side project by starting a small think tank or industry watch group. This is easier than it sounds if you take advantage of social media channels.
    3. Extend your reach.
      This may be the most uncomfortable part, but it’s also where the leverage lies. This is beyond professional networking; it’s idea networking. Find others who share your ideas and figure out ways to work together.

    For example, a colleague of mine blogs about social media and just joined forces with an entrepreneur group to talk to members about building their businesses through social media marketing. Some of you may be thinking, “Isn’t this self-promotion in another form?” And, of course, you are promoting yourself alongside your ideas. But remember that this is about becoming more comfortable, and to that end, consider others you respect who put themselves out there for causes they genuinely care about.

    I like Kristi’s advice on idea promotion. I would add that you need to impress yourself before you can impress others.  If you are interested in growing your business, consider reading my blogs: “Women Business Leaders Reveal 7 Secret Ingredients for Women to Grow their Business” and “Seven Strategies for Women Business Leaders to Achieve their Business Goals.”

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