Tooting Your Own Horn

Posted on July 29, 2009

Separate self-promotion from negotiation, says Andrea Schneider (bio).


How do you make sure that people know what you've been doing and how hard you've been working without sounding like an egotistical S.O.B.? That fine line. And to think about how you communicate that information in a nonthreatening kind of helpful manner of here's what's been going on and here's what I've been doing, and I thought you would want to know, and here's the general reporting. And separating that from the times that you're actually asking for things.

If you only are tooting your own horn when you want more money, then it sounds like it really is all about you, and you set this up for a very egocentric negotiation. Whereas if all along the principal investigator or the director or the faculty member has been seeing what your contribution is, then it's this very nice, "As I've talked to you before in email X, Y, and Z, or as you've seen in my report before, here are the things that I've been doing, and here's why I think I'm entitled to X, Y, Z based on the criteria or based on the other standards at other schools or what investigators typically get" or something like that.

And you're really trying to divorce your "yay me, yay me" from "therefore, give me more, give me more." And it becomes an easier conversation in some ways to have for you as well. I mean, most of us get very nervous about, "oh, I've got to stand up there and tell everybody how fabulous I am," and surprisingly, there's a chunk of the population that's really, really good at that and a chunk of the population that's not. And if you're not, you've got to find ways of still tooting your own horn in a way that's kind of nonthreatening to you and easy for the other side to access.

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Excerpted from interview with professor at the 2009 Career Development Institute for Psychiatry in Palo Alto, CA.


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