Graceful Self-Promotion

Last week I attended a gathering of faculty development and faculty affairs professionals at a nearby medical school. The theme for the meeting was to help clinician-educators produce scholarship, and thus advance academically. In the discussion, the topic of self-promotion came up, and the sponsor of the conference said that she had run into the dean earlier that day and mentioned to him that she was hosting our group on campus.

Some scientists and physicians shy away from this kind of comment because they see it as opportunistic bragging. On the other hand, deans and chairs are always interested in the activities of their faculty. It is their job to champion our successes to a larger audience, so they welcome hearing about achievements. It’s unrealistic to expect that academic leaders can know about every achievement, so it’s up to the faculty member to spread the word.

Here are some pointers for pointing out your successes adapted from the advice of a journal editor:

  1. Sharing good news is not a sign of arrogance. It’s being part of a supportive community.
  2. It is inconsiderate not to tell your community what you’ve accomplished.
  3. A link on Facebook or a signature line in your e-mail is an acceptable and considerate way to let people know of an activity you’re participating in.
  4. Tell them once and send a link. More than that is harassment.
  5. Winning awards and publishing articles are not something to be embarrassed about. Sharing them inspires others and opens up opportunities for collaboration.


6 Responses to “Graceful Self-Promotion”

  1. Faina says:

    I agree. There are plenty of bad and depressing news to go around (i.e., difficulties with funding, etc.) – so a good news is more than welcomed! It’s important to keep up a positive attitude among your peers. It is also very important for the leadership to establish an optimistic outlook for the community. We all need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel. Those among us who prosper during the difficult funding times – please don’t hesitate to spread the good news: share your accomplishments and your route to success – many will learn from it!

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  3. pcahn says:

    I agree. I always like hearing about other people’s accomplishments, but many of us are socialized not to boast.

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