Negotiating for your Career – How to share your #IamRemarkable

My top 10 tips of how to shout your success over the roofs (without blowing the shingles off :D)

Last week, I went to my first #IAmRemarkable event. What a great initiative, started by a lady at Google in 2016 to empower people to celebrate their achievements and improve their self-promotion skills.

I went because as a Negotiation Trainer, one part of my work with large firms are sessions we call ‘Negotiating for your career’ ‘Beyond the billable hour’, ‘Make some noise’ or similar. In these sessions we talk about the fact that your amazing work does not speak for itself and billable hours are not enough to make it to the next level. “

At the #IamRemarkable workshop I participated in this time myself, it was all about becoming aware of what makes you, well, remarkable. You sit down in a group with a blank piece of paper and start writing “I am remarkable because…” Then you read it out loud.

For many people, this is eye-opening because we don’t usually think along these lines, we are afraid to come across as braggy, we are afraid of criticism, we feel it is not worth speaking about, or we often don’t even realize that “this small thing” is actually quite a big achievement.

Accomplishments do not speak for themselves!

As everyone went to write down their achievements and what makes them remarkable, my brain was already racing to think about the next logical step. How do you communicate all of it in a business context, bringing forward your best self in an authentic, enthusiastic and comfortable way?

Because in most business contexts you will not read out your “I am Remarkable” worksheet to your benevolent audience who rewards you with applause for your bravery.

Where are the right words when you need them?

In my experience, an equally big part of the challenge, beyond knowing what makes you stand out, is knowing just how to put it, i.e. the framing, language, context, situation and finesse of communicating your awesomeness.

Language is powerful and I often feel if only we had a better idea of how to communicate our value and accomplishments it would be much easier for people to shine an adequate light on their contributions and achievements to help them move ahead in their careers.

I would lie if I said that I find this easy myself. Like most of us, I too have been conditioned into wanting to appear modest. And the (gender) backlashes of coming across as too strong are real, so it is a very fine line to walk. But over the past 10 years, I have learned quite a few “tricks” of what works.

Here are my top 10 tips on what to share (and how)

1. Share achievements with real emotion

We all see it on LinkedIn every day: “I am elated about so and so award ..”, “Excited to share that..”, “Honored and humbled to have been selected for..”. Your friends might click “like”, but let’s be honest: Everyone is bored with these announcements or borderline annoyed. And most of us feel uncomfortable posting them but feel like we have to.

A better way: Work hard to express how it actually made you feel, or what it took to get there. Tell a story or share an obstacle that you had to overcome. Bring out as much authentic emotion as you can and people will be more likely to see this as an interesting post and you as a unique human being (see an example here about how I shared my “Top 10 L&D Providers APAC” award).

2. Celebrate Milestones

10 years, 15k followers, bar exam – all a huge deal in your life! People like celebrating with you if you share authentically. But again, authenticity is key. “It’s not bragging if it’s true” is one thing I learned at #IamRemarkable. Here is my best attempt at being my most authentic self when celebrating 15k followers in this post.

It may not behove in your position, role or industry to talk about your pet unicorn, your love for Schnitzel and how you kill off your houseplant (or you don’t care, like me). But I challenge you to push yourself to wherever your outer comfort and appropriateness level (and 10% beyond) in what makes you uniquely you when it’s time to celebrate. It gives people something to connect with you on a personal level and all the more reason to cheer you on.

3. Share knowledge

Your learnings are valuable to others and sharing it positions you as an expert without you having to shout “Look at me, I am an Expert”. This recent huge deal that you did, what did you learn from it about how to manage complex deal structures or a multitude of stakeholders? That ICO that you lead, what surprised you or what should others be aware of? That dispute that you settled, what did you learn that made your negotiations more successful?

Reflect on your work and share your learnings! And when you feel like “What can I even add, I am still junior/inexperienced compared to others” remember that there will always be someone more experienced than you, but there is also always someone less experienced than you and as long as you are even one step ahead of them, they can learn from you. And that is enough!

Look no further than this very blog post that you are reading here to see what I mean. I am no marketing expert. But I write down for you what I have taken from this workshop and the experience I have collated in my 10+ years of having to promote myself as an entrepreneur and working with professionals who have to do the same.

4. Share your take on something

A new law, judgement or industry development. Once you have become comfortable with posting things, share what your take is on those and what you think it will mean for your clients or what they need to be aware of. Just sharing an article or some news without your personal views has little value. Sharing with meaning for them will position you as an expert and give you 10x the effects of that post.

5. Tell stories

Our brains love stories. Tell a story of how your journey is going, where you have come from, what your challenges were, and what you are proud of. This could be about yourself, your team, a new initiative you have started, a non-for-profit you support, etc. You don’t do this for yourself. Stories inspire others! Even a success moment can be an unexpected story (I just saw this creative one here for being appointed to King’s Counsel).

6. Share a passion

Involved in D&I, Legal Tech, ADR? Passionate about negotiation skills, process management or AI? Find a passion and talk about it. Passion ignites passion and you will find your tribe of people. Look for up-and-coming topics in your field and focus on niche areas (especially if you find it hard to post passionate stuff about M&A, Litigation or whatever your core area of expertise).

7. Include clever language and facts about your experience

Get creative at weaving your experience and achievements into normal conversations, posts, your LinkedIn bio etc. I find a “matter of fact” language or giving context to a situation easiest: E.g. “As a lawyer who works with clients on 5 continents.. my view is..”, “Based on my background as..” “Based on my experience with more than 20 of these cases ..”

8. Use numbers

Like images, numbers speak volumes. Rather than “10 years of deal-making experience” (this is already good) you could go one step further and count the number of deals you have done. “Done 150 M&A deals“, Helped 300 companies go public”, “Enabled the largest ICO in the history of our country with 200 Mio in Investment”, “Helped negotiate deals of $50 million plus total value”, “Helped restructure more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies”, “Received the Legal Innovators Award 3 times in 5 years”.

Go dig for the metrics so people get a chance to understand better what you do and what you are really good at. It took me 2 days to collect and calculate how many participants have ever been in my in-person and online trainings across various countries and online platforms.

But here is my new headline:

“I help Tier 1 lawyers negotiate, communicate and network for their best results. Consultant, Trainer, Speaker since 2014. Trained 10k+ professionals live in 30 countries and 15k+ online in 126 countries.”

And don’t you think it was totally worth it to help people understand better what I do and why I’ve become so experienced and specialized in it? (Please say “yes“, those 2 days will never come back :D:D)

9. Use social proof (collect accolades)

Nothing persuades like other people’s recommendations. In fact, what do most of us do when we look for a doctor, an accountant, or in our case, a lawyer? Ask family, colleagues, friends.

15 Awards, a PhD and 5 papers may not be as persuasive as one strong personal recommendation.

Most dedicated lawyer I’ve ever hired!!

Now that has a ring to it 🙂

So when clients are raving about your work, ask them if they would be okay to put it into your LinkedIn (there is a recommendation section) or write it down in an email (or you can summarize what they said and send it back to them, thanking them for the compliment). Use these gems in your website bio, LinkedIn “about section”, annual review, promotion discussion, brochure, etc.

10. Talk about the benefit of your greatness to THEM

Remember: No one cares about what you can do. Everyone cares about what you can do for them. Frame your messaging accordingly!

My 15 years of expertise in … allow me to immediately grasp my client’s challenges when it comes to..”,  “My experience with over 100 high steak real estate negotiations allows me to advise clients on the best strategy that does not only protect them from the risks of .. but also give them leverage in…

Time to get to work!

One immediate way for you to start putting these into practice is to look through your LinkedIn profile.

–          What is your “Subtitle”. Are you “*Lawyer* at Firm”( yaaawn!) or a “Problem-Solving Advocate for Complex Disputes” (ohoo!)

–          What does your “About” section say (Do you even have one?)? Is it written in a personable, first-person language that captures who you are and what you do? Does it tell the reader how you can support them and how you are different from others?

–          Scroll further:  What is in the section that talks about your current job? Have you maximized that space to share what your value add is based on your experience and achievements?

–          Scrolling on:    What about Licenses, Publications, Awards, Recommendations, and Projects (just saw a great example here of how to mention projects as a lawyer). If you don’t have these sections in your LinkedIn go to “add profile section” at the top of your profile. All these sections are there for you to fill with clever language and subtle brags.

Once you are done with LinkedIn: What about the bio on your company website? Short bios you use for conferences or publications?

Two Last Tips

  1. Set aside an hour in your calendar right now to go and rework these to help you start thinking about how to better express your achievements, capabilities and what they can do for your career, client or promotion. We all know if it’s not in your calendar it’s not happening.
  2. Then copy this post and come back to the list later and see what posts and blogs you could write as you start your #IamRemarkable journey and Negotiate for your career by becoming more conscious of how you communicate your achievements.

If you need, print out your new mantra or stick it to your screen with a post it:

“Accomplishments do not speak for themselves.”

To your success! And I hope you share this post with everyone around you who also struggles to make their achievements noticed!

Dr. Claudia

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