How Speakers Can Brag

Bragging is how you can establish your credibility with your audience
Bragging is how you can establish your credibility with your audience
Image Credit: bengtham

As a speaker, you know that you are wonderful. Now all you have to do is to convince your audience that you are wonderful! The question is just exactly what the best way to go about doing this is. You could simply tell them that you are wonderful, but I think that we can all agree that that probably would not do the trick. Somehow you have to show them that you are wonderful and get them to agree with you. Good news – there is a way to go about doing this. It’s called bragging.

Why Brag About Yourself

Let’s face it, if you bring up the idea of bragging, people are going to start to give you mean looks. We can all agree that bad bragging has a bad rap. This is rightly so. However, speakers need to realize that bragging done right can establish credibility and will create an audience connection. When your audience listens to you, you want them to view you as being a professional to whom they should be listening and taking notes. Professional speakers don’t make mistakes. Pros appreciate having competition when they speak, and so should you. During your next speech you will be competing against the stray thoughts of audience members, if nothing else. If you take the time to brag about your summer vacation spent in Italy or about seeing every Office episode 15 times, your audience is more likely to pay attention to you and more importantly, your message. They will understand that you’re absolutely awesome at something – even if it’s only Office trivia. Let the audience know by telling them early on.

Although mastering the art of bragging is important, all speakers need to keep the principal of “DBAJ” in mind when they are speaking. DBAJ simply means: “Don’t be a jerk.” Most speakers are so afraid of violating DBAJ that we go to the other extreme of not being willing to brag about ourselves at all. Yeah, yeah – you probably understand the need for at least some self-promotion, but at a gut level it’s possible that you may be terrified by the possibility of appearing to be full of yourself. Using DBAJ helps to serve as a form of a self-check. The very first thing that you have to ask yourself is what you’re saying even relevant?

In order to put the DBAJ principle into effect make sure that you don’t make your audience feel like you want to teach them about how great you are. The next check is whether your audience can possibly relate to any aspect of the achievements you’re bragging about. You may have some skill or talent that your audience can’t relate to. However, what they can relate to is the fact that you’ve overcome a lot to get where you are. That’s enough for them. Even if you’re talking about a big accomplishment, a reasonable audience won’t resent you if you talk about how you screwed up along the way – show them that you are human just like them. However, what an audience won’t put up with is a jerk who says, “I’m a natural at everything, and I don’t remember learning, so it’s always interesting trying to teach people.” The final DBAJ check is to make sure you don’t spend too much time doing your bragging. No matter how good you are at it, you need to get it over with quickly.

How To Brag About Yourself

Speakers need to know how to go about using bragging in their speeches. You should always brag sooner in your speech than later; however, it doesn’t have to be what you lead with. It’s important to put as much thought into your bragging as you would both the opening and conclusion of your speech, even if you end up skimping on the body. You need to make sure that you are not too self-deprecating or that you say something that makes you look like a jerk. If you make this kind of mistake, then you’ll catch yourself, and then lamely back-track. Keep in mind that your bragging needs to be to the point – just like pushing the play button on an audio recorder.

A great way to for a speaker to brag is to have the emcee, or the event’s printed agenda do it for you. Even though you’re the one writing nice things about yourself, seeing it on a page or hearing it from someone else will give your bragging a degree of removal from you. This can also remedy the problem of getting into trouble through impromptu bragging. The same general rules of DBAJ apply no matter who is praising you, but it’s easier to get away with a bragging bullet-point list on paper than to have it come out of your mouth.

The one thing that we are not trying to do is to establish credibility. What we are going to want to do is to begin by thinking about bragging about ourselves and then go back and root out the jerk parts instead of starting by trying to “establish my credibility” and then build it up so it’s not wishy-washy. Don’t think that your speech content should do all the bragging for you. If this was a perfect world you’d be guaranteed to have everyone always listen to your speech. Instead, realize that adding bragging to your speech is not for yourself, but rather for your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

You know that you are not only a good speaker, but you are a fantastic human being also. What this means is that you need to find a way to convince your next audience about this. If this was a perfect world, they would show up for your speech knowing why you are such a wonderful person. Since this is not going to happen, you need to be the one who tells them. You have to add some bragging to your next speech.

I’m pretty sure that we all have a negative impression of bragging. However, the good news is that if we can learn how to properly go about bragging, then bragging done right can establish credibility and will create a connection with our audience. Although bragging can be a powerful tool in the hands of a speaker, we all have to remember the most important rule: “Don’t be a jerk.” This means that we should not try to teach our audience about how great we are. If we can have other people or printed material brag about us, then that is even better. We don’t want to spend our time trying to establish credibility – that can be a waste of our time.

Speakers need to make sure that our audiences really do want to hear what we have to tell them. The best way to go about making this happen is to find a way to get our audience to believe that we are truly something special. We have a powerful tool at our disposal that we can use to accomplish this: we can brag about ourselves. However, we need to be careful and make sure that when we do this it does not come across looking like we are bragging. Master the art of bragging and prepare to have your next audience tell you how great you are.

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: How can you convince other people to take the time to brag about you so that you don’t have to do it?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When we give a speech, we use our words to capture the attention of our audience. However, in this modern age in which we are all living we also have other tools that we can use to help get our point across to our audience: Powerpoint. What I’m really talking about is visual images. All too often when we are giving a chance to use visual images during a speech that we giving, we’ll go to Powerpoint and create a set of slides. However, is this really the right thing for us to be doing? Is there a better way?