How To Brag About Your Successes Without It Sounding Like You're Gloating

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Life is full of complexities and contradictions. If you want to be socially successful, you must understand and play along with the nuances of communication. For instance, people preach about feeling proud of your achievements. But when you actually do, you risk looking like a narcissist singing his own praises. Instead of winning admiration, going public with your wins might make people want to find faults with you and knock you down a notch. When you come across as immodest, you'll encounter the opposite of your desired impact on other people. But does that mean that you should downplay your great feats? Is it fair to consider a champion arrogant if she doesn't hide her gold medals in her closet?

First of all, bragging isn't always akin to showing off. While bragging does give us the satisfaction of flaunting our personal worth, sharing our accomplishments can actually stand others in good stead, per Lark. For instance, if you share about how you've successfully combated a chronic disease with a fitting diet and fitness routine, you bring hope and helpful tips to those who're going through the same problem. Per Susan A. Speer's self-praise framework (2012), bragging is typically undesirable when you try to draw attention to yourself and your success, bask in another person's glory, and boast with a claimer. So, how do we communicate our achievements without sounding like we're fishing for compliments? Here are some tips to help you brag without bragging.

Highlight your hard work and don't belittle your audience

If you want to toot your own horn without sounding arrogant, prioritize talking about your difficulties and how much effort you put in to turn out well, Forbes advises. In fact, the success stories of famous figures that resonate the most with people are those that dwell more on failures and less on success. The truth is that not everyone wins in life, but almost everyone has had their fair share of failures. Instead of dismissing your challenges as easy or attributing your achievement to a stroke of genius, wax lyrical about your humble beginning, your low points, and how you got back on your feet. Knowing you put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get somewhere makes people respect you and draw inspiration from you.

Avoid sounding too humble using the camouflage of a self-deprecating joke, lest you veer into humble brag. In no part of your bragging speech should you include any disparaging comparison between you and other people in order to elevate your standing, as Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne advises on Psychology Today. You can jazz up your story with supporting stories, but make sure you're not making anyone, especially a competitor, look insignificant. For instance, you may claim that you closed the biggest transaction of the month without mentioning who came in second or the difference in profits raised by you and that individual. Instead of inspiring awe, comparing and contrasting easily fuels animosity.

Give credit where credit is due

In order to come across as genuinely humble, give credit where credit is due. There's no reason why yours shouldn't include a few lines expressing gratitude towards those who helped you on your journey to success. Even a full-on Oscars acceptance speech includes a long list of acknowledgments extended to families and colleagues. Not only does credit sharing increase your credibility, but it also helps your teammates feel valued and promote collaboration, per Harvard Business Review. In addition, people are unlikely to perceive you as boastful if you recognize both your accomplishment and the fact that you were not solely responsible for it.

According to Peggy Klaus, author of "Brag!: How to Toot Your Own Horn Without Blowing It," making your braggy story fun to listen to is an effective way to make it less braggy. Instead of making a tedious list of accomplishments, use jokes and supporting stories to jazz up your speech and make people laugh. At the same time, inject useful tips and takeaways into your story to make people feel they aren't wasting their time. When people relish your story and feel comfortable enough to comment on your achievement, they will be more likely to admire you instead of thinking you're gloating.