Briefing Notes: Self-Promotion, Minus the Braggy, Self-Serving Stuff

Published: August 30, 2020

The 37th | a Money Talk Edition


Self-promotion. Ugh. Right?

It’s one of those on the list of things we know we must do. Learn how to do. And do, preferably, without all the awkwardness.

Maybe it’s just me? It’s definitely one activity that makes me swing back and forth between “Am I doing enough?” and “Am I doing too much?”. And all the questions in between.

Through her company, Masthead Media, Amanda Pressner Kreuser has observed hundreds of freelancers who have successfully maneuvered that balance beam of self-promotion without coming off as “braggy” or too self-serving.

As well they should too because the world of freelancing has gotten even more competitive with the pandemic-associated layoffs. If you’re a freelancer today, you better believe it, you’ll need to master the art of self-promotion.

And I would say, it’s not just freelancers who need to do this in this climate. Now is not the time to hide or (my old-time favorite) “let the work speak for itself”.

Whether we’re employed or self-employed, we’ve got to promote ourselves and our work. Enthusiastically. Consistently.

Otherwise, how will others ever know what we’re doing or are capable of doing? Or the projects we want to be involved with. Or the direction we want to take our career.

Writing for Inc., Kreuser suggests four steps to strategic self-promotion, taking point on how we do it in this modern marketplace/workplace. She wrote the piece for freelancers and self-employed folks for sure. But it’s equally applicable to those of us who are employed and work for organizations.

Bottom Line
Kreuser reminds us that no matter how we promote our work, let’s not be holding back for fear of looking self-serving. As the CEOs of our careers, we are — necessarily — its chief evangelist.


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  • Crafting the Elevator Speech. What do we say in that proverbial 60-second elevator ride? (Note to self: Is there a zoom equivalent of said elevator ride?)
  • Looking to help communities in need? These eight non-profits are helping Americans stay fed, housed, and mentally healthy during these pandemic times.


“Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Some of those experiences are not as “perfect” as we might want, but even those experiences are a source of ideas and creativity.”
— Nilofer Merchant, 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era

Mary Beth Simon is hosting a free webinar “Entrepreneurs, Are You Prepared for an Emergency” on Wednesday, September 2nd, at 3 p.m. ET. She’ll cover the must-have plan we need to reduce stress and steps we can take this week to better prepare for the unexpected. Register here. The webinar recording will be sent to all registrants.


The pandemic has accelerated the use of digitally assisted consultations, ranging from telephone appointments to “carebots” (artificially intelligent robots delivering healthcare). Some in the industry have predicted we won’t be rushing to go back to face-to-face consultations after this is all over. The effectiveness of the carebots — particularly around how empathetic these carebots can be — is being examined.

This is important because research shows empathetic and positive messages (especially those delivered by doctors and nurses) are crucial to a patient’s health and recovery. But it appears arming carebots with good bedside manners isn’t quite that easy and is proving to be both technically and ethically problematic. If being empathic and caring is a key component of an effectively delivered positive message, it is important to know whether carebots are capable of caring. Hmmm…


… when Home Alone came out in 1990 making Macauley Culkin a household name? Well, that kid just turned 40 last week.


🎙 Nowadays, having some kind of online presence is a requirement for businesses of any kind or size. Having a website is the easiest way of establishing a stake on the interwebs. And the most popular way to do this is through WordPress. Supporting WordPress is an entire ecosystem providing different roles and career paths to people interested in joining the online world. This week, we’re exploring the role of the WordPress website designer with Susanna Perkins, who’s been working in this space since 2008. She talks about how she got started and how you can too, with minimal investment. She also shares where she’s setting her sights in the near-term and why she’s not eager to branch out to newer platforms.

Listen to Episode 138. Or read the show notes and highlights.


Briefing Notes is researched, written, and edited by me alone. Each issue takes hours to produce and requires paid subscriptions to numerous journals, magazines, and books to get the widest source of information. If you find value in the newsletter, I’d so much appreciate you subsidizing my coffee habit 😊 It helps with the research and the writing!

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This past week is one that simultaneously flew by and felt like forever. I don’t know how to explain it. But I’m definitely experiencing that weird pandemic time warp sensation. What’s your experience been like?

Hit ‘reply’ and send comments or sightings of robots, cool elevators, or self-promoting robots in elevators. Home Alone GIFS are welcomed too!

Stay safe. Stay sane. Wear a mask.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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