Blogs  / May 28, 2015

Bragging: Right of the accomplished or misguided pastime?

by Rebekah Iliff

What, pray tell, would we do without the ability to brag? More pointedly, what would everyone around us do without the ability to brag?

We’d never know that snooze-fest, dork-shoes Tami from the 8th grade turned into a supermodel and “feels #blessed to be traveling around the world to shoot in remote locations whilst sipping on organic-infused turtle water with the natives as she frolics in the sand.”

Additionally, wouldn’t it be sad if we couldn’t see every job promotion of that douche from college who couldn’t keep his mouth shut? I mean he is just “thrilled to have been promoted to partner in less than 18 months.

With the advent of social media, the inclination to boast has gone from zero to 100 as we all scramble to keep our feeds and walls updated with the latest and greatest. As one of my dear friends once quipped: “Facebook is like the US Weekly for normal people.”

Touché.

Bragging about yourselfBragging, boasting, and talking about oneself (or one’s company, or kid, or whatever) is often hidden under the auspices of “sharing” or “keeping everyone informed.” But when is bragging totally obnoxious and when is it somewhat socially acceptable?

By the way…did I mention that I just got invited by like, a really big company, to fly (business class, I know…so fortunate and grateful) over to Europe and stay in a fancy schmancy hotel so that I can share my insights (why would anyone care what lil’ ol’ me has to say?) with some of the leading entrepreneurs in the world? Isn’t that just insanely crazy. I can hardly believe it. #HumbleBrag.

But I really can. And that’s the point. And now you know about it. And I feel much, much better…at least for now.

In a not so recent article posted on Psychology Today – this $#*t is seriously evergreen – author Susanne Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D (braggy title?) dissects the art of bragging and explores the 7 types – only one of which is mildly okay. To be perfectly honest, even that one is a stretch.

As you may or may not know, I am part of a stellar team who has built the world’s leading technology solution for PR Measurement. We have really big, important customers. So we have tons of data around how to best keep people engaged in content, and one of these tricks is listing things out in number form. I will do that here, because as I may not have mentioned, I’m extremely perceptive and really attuned (#naturalgifts) to people-y type stuff.

The 7 types of bragging are as follows:

1. Directly drawing attention to your own great personal qualities. (The worst)

2. Directly drawing attention to something you’ve done. (Barf-o-rama)

3. Indirectly drawing attention to your own great personal qualities. (PR people – this likely sounds like a familiar tactic)

4. Indirectly drawing attention to something you’ve done. (Oh, and this one too)

5. Drawing attention to your success with a “disclaimer.” (Gross, just gross)

6. Basking in someone else’s reflected glory. (#Posers)

7. Reporting on a conversation in which you were praised where the evidence can be verified. (This one is the best of all evils, so take note and perfect it)

All that having been said…

It’s easy to get caught up in how great we all are, especially when it seems so commonplace to “just let everyone know in case they missed the memo” about our achievements, accomplishments, and accolades. If you feel like you MUST brag about something, do it gracefully. PR pros have perfected this art…so if you’re not sure, ask a friend who is adept in this area.

For example, I asked my dear friend and colleague Kristen Tischhauser, who runs PR firm talkTECH, if it would be okay if I announced on our blog that we were just endorsed as an official partner by Google Analytics; and that we are the ONLY company in the PRTech space to do so…which means that we’re kind of a big deal.

And she said: “You know what Rebekah, you get a pass this time. Go for it.”

So there you have it. Don’t brag (too much) and if you must, make sure that at least one person you trust gives you permission. Then go back to doing great things and building great products and being a top-notch human being who doesn’t NEED to talk about themselves.