Strut your stuff without bragging

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in Admins,Office Management

As Administrative Professionals Day arrives on April 21, it’s an ideal time to reflect on your ever-evolving role—and to shine a spotlight on your myriad contributions to the workplace.

You may think everyone knows that you’re a huge contributor, but it’s possible they don’t. That’s why you need to brag a little—in the right way.

“In situations ranging from a first date to a job interview, people commonly face the dilemma of how to make their listeners aware of their success without being perceived as braggers,” Nurit Tal-Or, a professor at the University of Haifa, tells the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest.

Tal-Or was so interested in how to brag that she conducted two studies to find out how to do it.

The studies hinged on four scripted conversations between a “show-off” student, Avi, and his friend. In two versions of the conversation, Avi’s friend raises the topic of a recent exam, and then does or does not ask his friend what grade he received. In the other two conversations, Avi himself first raises the topic of the exam, which does or does not prompt his friend to ask what grade Avi received.

In the study, regardless of who first mentioned the exam, Avi boasted that he got an “A+.” Observers of the conversation rated Avi’s character.

Here’s what happened: If Avi’s friend raised the topic of the exam, Avi received favorable ratings. If Avi himself raised the topic and then talked about his A+ without being asked about his grade, he was seen as a boaster.

Bottom line: To pull off a successful boast, it needs to fit the conversation. If a colleague raises a topic, you can safely brag about a related accomplishment. And if you’re forced to raise the subject, wait for others to ask questions that you can answer with a well-crafted boast.

Here’s what it might look like in your workplace:

You’re in a meeting, when a co-worker mentions how company XYZ was written up in the local newspaper for having a cleanup day at a nearby stream. She mentions wanting your company to do something similar.

You could say something like, “Great idea! I’d be happy to help organize it. You may recall how I recruited and organized 50 of our employees for last year’s Race for the Cure—and helped raise $2,000 for the cause.” 

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