Iesha Small

speaker, writer, communications professional

Helping working class and introverted professionals thrive.

Reframing self-promotion for introverts

How can people who hate self promotion let others know about our work in a way that is authentic to us and doesn’t turn us into human spam? (350 words)

I’m not big on self-promotion. Since I was a kid I hated being praised publicly in class by my teacher or singled out for great work in public.  We didn’t even have speeches at our civil partnership – that’s how much I hate being in the limelight.

The odd thing is that I’m not especially shy. I’m fine asking questions and am actually pretty good in social situations, especially 1-2-1, as I’m interested in people and like hearing what they have to say. I’m confident talking about topics that I know a lot about and am passionate about.

I do consider myself an introvert though. I’m a ‘I’ll let my work do the talking ‘type which is great and has served me fairly well so far but has limitations.

At this moment in my life I’m wondering if I need to reframe how I consider self-promotion. If you are reading this far, it’s probably something that you’ve thought about too.

Maybe self-promotion for people like us needs to just be rephrased as good communication.

I’m told an an excellent listener. This allows me to ask very insightful questions.  It’s commented on by people I’ve line managed and it’s what makes me a good coach and helps me find solutions to things that others sometimes miss.

However, communication is a two way street.

People can’t recognise work that they don’t know is there- professionally or personally.  As a senior manager, I make it my business to find out the good things that people in my areas of responsibility are doing but it’s always possible to miss things.  Most people are busy living their lives, working their jobs – maybe we need to find out about them but also talk about ourselves too.

Perhaps good self-promotion is just having a conversation, building relationships. One person at a time. That’s my take for now.

Share your work is an interesting book related to this in the creative space.




  • David Edge

    28th February 2016 at 3:35 pm → Reply

    Reframing indeed – I was wondering what would constitute a sensible alternative to the social media post beginning “I’m so pleased that…”. Our local art gallery is just starting a series of get-togethers for artists using the similar notion of “analogue networking”.

  • suecowley

    28th February 2016 at 6:57 pm → Reply

    You are so right, Iesha. It is about communication (which can take lots of different forms). Word of mouth is the most powerful one of all, I think, because it isn’t self promotion, it’s a kind of whisper that goes outwards without you doing anything. Fascinating blog, thank you.

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Reframing self-promotion for introverts