How to Sell Yourself without Being Arrogant

Whether you are making that killer sales pitch, preparing for a job interview, or going on a date, it is important that you show off your best attributes. However, there is a big difference between coming across as a calm, confident and capable individual and appearing like an obnoxious know-it-all.

The following tips will help you successfully navigate the fine line between self-confidence and arrogance.       

Act like A Pro

Or I should say, behave like an expert. Real experts are commonly reserved.  They know when to wisely interject into a discussion and they don’t put people’s backs up when they do.  Experts don’t have a need to prove themselves; after all they get congratulated all the time.

They know how to handle it.

You know yourself when you have met a pro because they are the ones who come across as quietly confident, they don’t need to brag or boast about what they have done, or where they have been. These are the types you would willingly get into a fighter jet with because you just instinctively feel safe with them.

This is the calm, cool and collective attitude you need to foster to achieve success.  The key is to have confidence in your own abilities, but also to know your limits.

The benefits of fostering this type of attitude are obvious when in an interview or work situation, but what about on a date?  Well, I can’t think of anything sexier than a woman who is quietly confident about whom she is, and keeping a little in reserve will give you an extra air of mystery.

Resist the Urge

Two Businesswomen Having Informal Meeting In Modern Office

Even if you think you know a subject better than anyone else, resist the urge to overly blow your own trumpet. Some people are so good at blowing their own trumpet that they don’t just stop there; they take on the whole brass band too.

Most of us have been in a situation where someone we know is planning a holiday to a great destination we have visited.  We can sometimes get so excited that we start blurting out all the must do’s and must see’s and before you know it, it’s a virtual rerun of our holiday.  Providing people with handy tips or guidance is one thing, blasting them with the big ’I have been there and done that’ is quite another.

A friend of mine recently came back from a fabulous honeymoon to a hot destination only for a mutual acquaintance to inform her that, because she had not visited a particular attraction, she had missed the best the country had to offer. My friend understandably was hurt and felt she had the wind unfairly blown out of her sails.  What should have been a wonderful account of a memorable trip turned a bit messy and sad; all because a know-all couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

Remember, blowing out other people’s candles does not make yours burn any brighter.

The same rule applies in any professional situation.  You can run on until the cows come home about how well you performed on a project, but the proof is in the pudding; in other words; actions speak louder than words.

A key point to remember when you are talking about a project which was successful, is to make sure you compliment others who were involved too.  This will make you come across as less self-centered and at least willing to share your glory.

Be wise with your words or don’t say anything at all.

Nobody is Perfect

A common question many employers ask during an interview is ‘what are your weak points?’  The best answer is not ’I do not have any’.  Not only would that be arrogant, but also untrue.  The trick here is to turn a negative into a positive. So the response might be something along the lines of ‘I get impatient when something is not done correctly’.

Most employers are aware of the stock responses given in interviews, so prepare yourself for follow up questions that require you to provide an example of how you have turned a negative into a positive.

Potential employers need to know if you are up to the task, if you are a safe pair of hands who they can entrust to get on with things without making a complete hash of it.

But even so, they are not expecting you to be perfect.

I once went for a job interview and was up against someone who on paper who was better qualified for the job, however I landed the role because the interviewers said I came across as friendly and because of this they felt I would ‘fit in’.

A good way to sell yourself is to give something away about who you are as a person.

Show your friendly amiable side, not just a list of achievements.

Of course, if you are on a date, revealing all the positive aspects of your personality is crucial and showing a bit of vulnerability makes you all the more attractive, not weak.

Confident people embrace their imperfections.  They know nobody is perfect.

Simply the Best

businesswoman working on green laptop

Despite the lyrics of Tina Turner’s classic song, it is a mistake to believe that you are ’better than all the rest’.

Arrogant people see themselves as better than the rest and want to ’out do’ everyone else.    In reality they are motivated by fear and insecurity. They want to be in the number one position at all times and feel they need to grab everything now while they have the chance.

They don’t like to share.

True success is in having the confidence to know that life is full of opportunity and that there is enough to go around for everyone.  Sharing knowledge is the key to success not only for your own personal development, but also for the world as a whole.

Non arrogant people recognize that they have flaws and continuously work on both their good and bad points to improve themselves.  For athletes this may be through constantly working to improve their technique.  They don’t sit on their laurels or boast of previous successes.  They realize that good is the enemy of the great. Continuous improvement is what self-development is about; there isn’t really an end point.

Master such traits in yourself and you will be ’simply the best’; as in the best person you can be.

Listen to Yourself

Sometimes it’s easy to get on a roll and start speaking about all our achievements and conquests, or just talking about ourselves in general.  After all, it’s the one subject we are all experts on.

We have all most likely been on the receiving end of listening to someone run on excessively about themselves, not nice is it?  It doesn’t exactly make for a two way conversation (which is what the art of conversation is all about).  Such rants can make us not only bored but can even be hurtful when someone tries to play ’one upmanship’ games.

So try not to do it yourself.  Think before you speak.

This doesn’t mean you have to audit every word you say, but just put yourself in the listener’s shoes.  Connect with your audience in a warm, caring and positive manner.   Do they really need to know you were the karate champion at High School, or that you have traveled to over 100 different destinations, or that you have the largest collection of shoes out of all your friends?  Unless it is directly relevant to the conversation it’s unlikely anyone wants to hear it.

A good rule of thumb to stop yourself from boasting is to ask yourself if you would honestly like to be hearing what you are saying if the roles were reversed.

It’s not all about you

This is a key point to remember when selling yourself in any situation, take the heat off of you and focus on others around you.  Actively listening to others, showing an interest and asking questions are very attractive qualities.

You never know, you might even learn something.

At a Glance

Businesswoman with arrogant expression

To come across as a self-confident and balanced individual as opposed to an arrogant big head, below is a quick rundown of the important points to consider when communicating with others:

  • When talking about successes stick to the facts, compliment others and give credit where it’s due.
  • Don’t be afraid to recognize your own achievements, but realize that there is a time and place to shine. Never blow out other people’s candles in an effort to make yours burn brighter.
  • Remember that confidence mixed with a bit of humility is a strong leadership trait. Being grounded and humble is attractive.
  • Sell yourself by doing a good job, after all actions speak louder than words.   Don’t get lost in your own ego.
  • By all means celebrate your successes and know that you can still be remarkable and sell yourself with conviction without being arrogant.
  • Try to be more focused on your personal development, learn from your accomplishments
  • Actively listen, ask questions and never belittle others.
  • Accept and embrace your imperfections. Nobody is perfect, but everyone is unique.

About the author

Eleanor Goold

As well as being an avid reader, Eleanor is also a big time animal lover; especially of dogs. If you have a tail, four legs and you bark…. you’re in! In her spare time she enjoys swimming, and vegetable gardening… but not at the same time (it can get a bit messy).

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