Self-Promotion Doesn't Have to Be Shameless

Date Published: 
February 12, 2009
Original Author: 
Scott Ginsberg
excerpted from "How To Stick Yourself Out There"

Self-promotion gets a bad rap.

In fact, it's almost impossible to talk about the topic of self-promotion without mentioning the word "shameless."

Which, according to my thesaurus, is another word for "audacious, brash, dirty, immoral, improper, presumptuous and rude."

Yikes. No wonder people are so hesitant when it comes to tooting their own horns ... they're afraid.

Afraid of being rejected.
Afraid of looking boastful.
Afraid that they're bragging.
Afraid of sticking themselves out there.

WELL, HERE'S THE GOOD NEWS: Self-promotion doesn't have to be shameless.

Growing up, our teachers, parents and mentors told us (er, brainwashed us) that self-promotion was bad form. 

Not true.

Self-promotion can be a beautiful thing ... when done gracefully.

Scott Ginsberg, the "Nametag Guy" and ICCFA 2009 Keynote Speaker

Scott Ginsberg, the "Nametag Guy" and ICCFA 2009 Keynote Speaker


THINK OF IT THIS WAY: You sit down at a dinner table with seven strangers.

Somebody brings up the topic of children.

"Ooh! Look at these pictures! My daughter just graduated from Kindergarten. Isn't she the cutest thing you've ever seen? Oh, and she got all As and the teacher LOVES her and all the other students in class think she's the coolest!"

Is THAT an example of self-promotion?


But would you consider it to be shameless?

No way.

It's passionate. It's loving. It's fun. It's engaging. It's authentic.

And you're not "selling" your kids to the person next to you.

You're merely transferring your love.

And THAT is what self-promotion TRULY is -- transference of emotion.

Here's another example.

At a recent Book Expo in New York City, I spent three days walking around the convention center wearing a giant nametag.

Smiling. Waving. Making friends. Giving away free books. Having fun.

Transferring the emotion of approachability.

And sure, I was promoting my new book, Make a Name for Yourself. But I didn't lead with that. I led with passion and love and authenticity.

And the word shameless wasn't even a consideration.

Interestingly, halfway through the conference, a woman approached me with a big smile on her face and asked why I was wearing this huge nametag.

"Well, I usually wear a regular nametag 24-7, but for this conference I decided to step it up a bit."

It turned out she was a reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. Her assignment was to interview someone for an upcoming article on, believe it our not, self-promotion.


So, if you want to take the "shameless" out of self-promotion, remember two keys:

Don't let your past fears stand in the way.

Don't "promote," transfer your love.

Because if you don't make a name or yourself, someone will make one for you.


Let me suggest this...

For a copy of the list called "99 Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur, Even If You Aren't One," send an e-mail to and I'll send YOU the list for free!