What I read on the plane going to conference…

Brag!  The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It.  By Peggy Klaus

All too often librarians are not good at tooting our own horn.  So after I saw this book mentioned by a librarian online, I decided to take it with me to read on the plane going to Gatlinburg.  Although the book is geared toward career building, I think much of it applies to promoting our libraries.

Bragging and self-promotion don’t have to be obnoxious.  You can tell your story in a way that authentically showcases your strengths and honors who you are.  Klaus outlines key communication techniques that make for more dynamic bragging in any situation and every audience.  She teaches you to take the emotional temperature of the listener, be authentic at all times and act like your best self even on rainy days.

I think Klaus is correct when she states, “…most of us remain curiously unable to articulate our stories and the diversity and extent of our skills, abilities, and attributes.  We are equally unaware of how others perceive us and what exactly they like about us.  We take ourselves for granted, thinking that we haven’t really accomplished anything, that we’re ‘just doing our jobs,’ that the recognition we seek will naturally follow our hard work.”

Even when we know we need to be marketing our libraries to the city council or county agencies or whoever, we don’t always know where to start.  It’s all preparation, preparation, preparation.  Klaus has a questionnaire (available online at http://www.klausact.com/brag/questionnaire.htm) to help you prepare an inventory of what you (or your) library have done.  She also emphasizes using that information to tell the human-interest side of your story, to get personal, to use layman’s terms and to be enthusiastic and funny.

Want your story to go from boring to extraordinary?  Check out Brag.

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