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Boast, Don't Brag - Talk About Yourself Without Sounding Like a Jerk

Despite what so many people believe, boasting and bragging are not the same. They are very different and produce very different results.

Boasting isn’t reading through a list of your greatest accomplishments. Boasting is talking about yourself – just a few details – from a place of pride and eloquence. It’s advocating for yourself and creating a positive image for others. Boasting sounds like: “I’m proud of the work I did at Company A,” whereas bragging sounds like: “Everyone at Company A was an idiot. I was the only person who could get anything done.”

While boasting is positive, true and not contrasting (meaning you are not comparing yourself to others), bragging is negative, contrasting and probably not true. It’s never appropriate or appealing to brag. No one wants to be around a bragger, work with or date that person. If you want to advocate for yourself – like in a job interview or social gathering – you never want to brag. You want to boast.

When you’re a boaster, you can walk into any room and confidently introduce yourself and let people know who you are and what you’re about. You attract people to you, invite them to ask questions and start a conversation. You become the person people want to be around.

But the truth is, most people avoid boasting because they’re uncomfortable talking about their achievements – or they don’t know how to do it without sounding like a know-it-all, a bragger.

So to help you get started, here are three prompts for boasting like a pro:

1. I’m proud to say…

This is a good segue into talking about something that required your action and resulted in your success – like an accomplishment or award. It’s an active statement that shows ownership. It doesn’t have to be something grandiose. It can be anything that you draw pride from. For example:

  • “I’m proud to say I’ve hit my quota every month I’ve been in sales.”

  • “I’m proud to say I personally coached a Ted Talk.”

  • “I’m proud to say I am never late for work and serve my customers in a punctual manner.”

2. I’m fortunate to have…

This segue is similar to the one above, except it slips into the passive. It’s softer and allows for a hint of humility, making it perfect for statements that might otherwise sound overbearing. For example:

  • “I’m fortunate to have just won the lottery.”

  • “I’m fortunate to have had a mother who pushed me to be my best.”

  • “I’m fortunate to have come from a wealthy family that could afford to send me to Oxford.”

3. I’m someone who…

While the first two prompts are for action and results, this segue is for a value statement that portrays the kind of person you are – who you are, what you’re about and what’s important to you. It’s how you want other people to think about you and your character or personality. You can still do it in a boastful way. For example:

  • “I’m someone who really prides themselves on the ability to get work done on a deadline.”

  • “I’m someone who can’t stand by and watch someone be bullied.”

  • “I’m someone who takes action when action is needed."

Use these prompts to string sentences together, and you have a solid introduction that sounds something like: “I’m proud to say that I have been one of the top-performing sales representatives at every sales organization I’ve been a part of. I’m fortunate to have had really great managers who’ve coached me to success. I’m someone who always puts my clients first and worries about commission later.” All the statements are boasts about the same person, but they cover different facets to create a dynamic impression.

So much of our confidence – or lack thereof – comes from the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. So when you get comfortable boasting, consistently and successfully, you are telling yourself a better story. And the results are obvious. You will exude confidence, which also tells the external world a positive story about you, boosting your image and opportunities.


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