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Forbes: How To Brag Without The Backlash, According To New Research

From Forbes: Women face a double-edged sword when they self-promote. When they brag about their accomplishments, women are perceived as competent but not likeable. Opting for modesty or self-deprecation makes them seem likeable but less competent. Now researchers have uncovered a win-win approach that makes a boaster seem capable without appearing unfriendly. While both men and women run into likeability issues when they’re boastful, women can face more significant penalties than men. In research studies, women who broadcasted their accomplishments were perceived as less likable and less hirable than their male counterparts who did the same. Unfortunately, bragging can’t typically be avoided. Most careers require we tout our accomplishments, whether it’s to our managers, prospective employers or clients. A new approach, called “dual-promotion,” helps both men and women to speak about their accomplishments without taking a hit to their likeability. The secret is giving credit to others while singing your own praises. “We show that by combining self-promotion with other-promotion (complimenting or giving credit to others), which we term ‘dual-promotion,’ individuals can project both warmth and competence to make better impressions on observers than they do by only self-promoting,” the authors write in their research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Not only does dual-promotion result in more likeability than self-promotion alone, it also results in greater perceptions of competence. People will think you’re nicer and better able to do your job. From Congress to salespeople, the researchers found that dual-promotion was effective in a variety of professions. For politicians, dual-promotion increased the number of likely votes. In social media posts, those that tout others’ accomplishments along with their own are rated as warmer, more competent and presenting a better overall impression than those who only posted about their own accomplishments. For those who work in teams or collaborative environments, it’s easier to imagine how dual-promoting could be implemented. Employees could mention the significant contributions of their team members in achieving a goal. Eric VanEpps, a professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University and lead author of the study, says that dual-promoting is a little trickier but still feasible for independent workers. “While teammates and coworkers are natural people to promote alongside oneself, we think that independent workers can dual-promote too. In fields where one might know about the achievements of others, even competitors, we think dual-promoting that includes the achievements of others in the field would be appropriate,” he said. VanEpps adds a novelist might compliment a book by a fellow novelist, or a politician could praise other individuals achieving change for their constituents. Read more at Forbes. 

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