Do you ever worry people might think you’re bragging? Lisa Bragg encourages us to focus on what makes you remarkable, and shares why you probably don’t need to worry about bragging. Host Andrea Wojnicki also shares 2 ways to talk about your superpowers without bragging.




Lisa Bragg


Talk About Talk #105 - Bragging, Self-Promotion & Your Personal Brand - image of Lisa Bragg


Dr. Andrea Wojnicki & Talk About Talk 




I’ve got a Q for you. Do you ever wonder if you sound like you’re bragging? Here’s an even better question. Is bragging a bad thing? Is it always a bad thing?

Over the course of this episode, you’re going to hear from an expert in bragging, Lisa Bragg. 

Yes, her last name is Bragg. Lisa encourages us to think about bragging just a little bit differently. In my conversation with Lisa, you’ll learn about bragging, self promotion, self aggrandizing. And yes, of course, your personal brand. Are you ready?

Welcome to Talk About Talk episode #105, where we’re focusing on Bragging, self-promotion, and your Personal Brand.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!). I’m the founder of Talk About Talk, and I’m your communication coach.

Are you an ambitious executive?  Do you have a growth mindset?  Looking to advance your career? Well, you’re in the right place. At Talk About Talk, we focus on communication skills topics like confidence, demonstrating leadership, and yes, personal branding. If you check out the website, you’ll find tons to resources to help you, including the new online course on Personal Branding, as well as 1-on-1 coaching, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, and the free weekly email newsletter. Please go sign up for that newsletter if you haven’t already .  You can think of it as free communication-skills coaching. You can find all this at 

In this episode, you’ll hear my conversation with Lisa Bragg where we discuss what bragghing is, how it differs from say, self-aggrandizing, and how to tell if you’re going off the deep end there.

As always, you don’t need to take notes, because I do that for you. So just keep doing whatever you’re doing. Whether you’re doing housework, or working in your kitchen, whether you’re going for a walk, or whether you’re in the car. You don’t need to stop to take notes ’cause I do that for you. At the end of this episode, I provide a summary of some of the most important points from our conversation. I’m ALSO going to add my own two cents, in terms of some tips for how you can share your achievements and things you’re really proud of, without sounding like you’re bragging or self-aggrandizing. 

OK, let me introduce Lisa Bragg. Living with the name Bragg, Lisa has had to master the art and science of self-promotion. She’s seen when being too humble has cost international deals and when bragging right has unlocked opportunities leading to untold fortunes. 

Lisa helps high-achievers of all sorts to be seen, heard and share their value with the world. She delivers keynotes and workshops to international audiences. Her book, Bragging Rights, will be released in 2023. 

Lisa is the award-winning entrepreneur behind MediaFace, one of Canada’s first content companies. She’s also a former broadcast journalist. Lisa’s involved with several charities and is a long-term member of many organizations supporting leadership, including Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), SheEO and WBE. 


INTERVIEW (unedited)

Thank you, Lisa, for joining us here today to talk about bragging self promotion and your personal brand. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Let’s start with the obvious. I’m really curious to hear about your name and how your name relates to your fascination with bragging.

Yeah, you know, it’s my childhood name. It’s my maiden name. So I grew up with it, and didn’t really realize it was a name that stood out until I was about 1314 years old. And people would say, Oh, what are you bragging about something and you’re bragging? And I’m like, What? What I’m saying what do they mean by that? And it wasn’t always said with the best intentions are Shinji brag about that. But there’s often a tone about it. So got me really curious young. So it’s a little bit polarizing. So it’s interesting to see. So then started studying it. And that’s where it’s led me to today.

So do you think that our name affects us? I mean, obviously, in your case, it did. But generally,

I think it does. I think it does influence you know, especially if you have a tough name, that people then will lean in a different way. And you’ll notice different attention if they’re trying to get it or they ignore how to properly pronounce your name. Growing up, I had a friend name mu Lee, and her name was mu mu. And she changed it. So imagine being new to Canada, and your name in grade three is mu. And you know, so right away, it was something on her as first of all being a brand new Canadian. So then she changed it to Monica. And I was really upset that she changed her name, because I thought her name was so beautiful on its own, but you have to go through your own journey. So these names that we put on our children, I do think it does influence who they are and who will become It’s like another thing that you carry with you. I think that’s why we see people change their name, they want to change something about them. Does it last by just changing your name? I don’t know. I think it’s like it goes with you no matter what if you’ve had that name for so long. So yeah, that’s another episode. Shout out to mu mu Li. So whatever her name is today. So yeah, so I have to just add two things. One is that I heard when I was choosing names for my children, this is an opportunity to do them a great favor or a big disservice. So try to do them a favor, right? And the other thing is my maiden name is Campbell. Nice and easy. Yeah. For most, for us, most of us Yeah. To my husband’s name for Neitzke. And it’s like, wow, so I have this lens of what it was like to have the easy name and now have the more challenging him for many people to pronounce and spell and yeah, so yeah, let’s let’s get going with the with bragging. So, definition. What is bragging?

Yeah, so I go back to what bragging when it originally landed in the world, and they cannot find what language it’s actually from. So there’s some thoughts that Scandinavia, and maybe it’s Italian, maybe it’s French, because it doesn’t actually fit into what we know, is English today properly. And so it’s confusing, but they find it in old poetry in different places. And what it really meant was shine and shimmer. But then it also added with pride. And nowadays, a lot of people do. There’s different when you talk to people and ask for the definition and look at different dictionaries, there is a range of how people define it. So some people define it as talking about yourself, and that you’re putting down others and you’re talking with too much pride. And it’s a judgment piece. And other people, though, say it’s talking about your success. And so I talk about it as talking about your success. And that’s where I think it really lands is that and when you look at what bragging rights is that’s talking about your success, it’s not that put down. It’s not that, but it’s the rah rah that we have when we talk about something that we’re successful, but I never want it to be put down or anyone else to feel bad, because we’re talking about our success. So I define it as a good thing. Yeah.

So I’m one of the people who To be honest, would have thought bragging is inflating and unnecessarily drawing attention to your own accomplishments or credentials, or whatever they are. Right. I do think that’s one of the definitions. Yeah. And then self promotion is probably the same thing. As self enhancement. Maybe you’re getting a little bit away from that it’s being seen as favorable. So it’s positive as opposed to negative. So how does bragging in your work differ from these other terms?

Yeah, I think one of the first things to know is that what I’ve discovered is that bragging is really in the ear in the eye of the beholder. So if you are in your own home, and you’re with your own things, is that bragging, it’s when somebody looks in and sees Oh, you have a beautiful house or you have a nice car, and then people will think that that’s you showing off. And so when does it become just here’s who I am and my success versus showing off. And so that’s where it’s really often bragging is not so much talking about our successes, is bragging but if we were thinking of it in the negative way, well, when does it become? It’s always been on the person who’s listening. So then I feel all upset that you’re talking about yourself, I feel less than because you’re talking about yourself or doing self promotion. So there’s a really interesting framing of who’s listening to it and who’s who’s the person who’s putting it out there in the world. So you have to it’s bragging is in the ear on the eye of the beholder, or when you think of it in the negative way. So, but to get to your initial question about bragging self promotion, so I define bragging as really talking about our successes, and it’s much more of the strategy piece. It’s like the way up here, it’s how we feel, it’s how we think about things. And then the self promotion is the execution of it. So the tactics and so often, we just go to self promotion without really doing the great big thinking of where we want to go. In the future. I always talk about, we always mark it to where we want to go not to where we’ve been, which which is reputation comes into the mix of what I talked about. So reputation, bragging, self promotion, and personal brand. And so a reputation of the past. But where do we want to go as part of our personal brand, and self promotion is the amplification of it. And it’s exactly everyone in the audience wants to do a video, we want to do a podcast, we want to do a LinkedIn post, we want to do all those fun things that will get the eyes. But it’s really all of that thinking work that makes the difference. It’s that, you know, I think it’s Oprah who we always have to reference in at least one podcast today. But it’s like that we have to she’s like, you know, I do 95% of the hard work behind the scenes and you only see 5%. And so that’s what all the work is. So the self promotion is the amplification after you’ve thought about the bragging and and so we’re aren’t we are talking about our successes. And self promotion will then amplify it for you.

Oh, my goodness. So the listeners can’t see the look on my face. But I have a massive smile on my face. Because you know, at least you’re speaking my language using different words, which is, I think, really fantastic, to be honest. But one of the things that I strongly believe in, when I’m working with my clients on their personal brands, is that before you start talking about it before you start communicating it, you need to articulate it. So I always say there’s two steps. One is articulate or create your personal brand. And two is communicating now Lisa’s got them with a smile. Yeah, that’s exactly it. Because so often though, you know, somebody gets a new guru or a new thing pops up. So and everyone wants to be on tick tock, well, what are you going to say? And that’s where you run out of content, you run out of ideas, because you haven’t taken a step back to really think about, what do I want to project in the world? And it’s always about where do I want to go and say, you know, what my body of work before doesn’t really fit where I want to go? How do I figure this out? And with some thinking time and an expert, then you can figure out, you know how it ties in? Because there’s always a red thread, everything we do. Yeah. So even if you go from, you know, being a plumber to an electrician, you would be able to figure that out, there is a tie in the way you think how you your values in the world. It all ties together. So absolutely.

So in this framework, where you have the two steps, or the two kind of meta steps of creating it, and then communicating or self promoting, where exactly does bragging fit in was one question. And then the other question is, why do you think it has evolved from its from what you told me in sort of a neutral etymology of the word to something that has become so negative, like Stop bragging, or he’s bragging? Or she’s bragging? Right, it’s definitely got a negative connotation.

So it definitely does. And I think it goes back to so I’ll take the second part of your question. First, I think it goes back to, we were all part of, you know, small communities or tribes back in the day. So we were all and so are known as our grandmothers, or grandfathers, everyone knew what we did, there was only one candlestick maker. And so we didn’t have to say, Hey, I’m the best brought, you know, the world’s best cup of coffee on every corner. We didn’t have to do that. So people would talk about us. And we were all within proximity. So they knew the value I brought, and they could come to me and you know, exchange that value. And then we moved into the factory system where it was very dangerous for us to stick our necks out like you really, you wanted that paycheck. And now we’re moving out of that time, we’ve been moving out for out of it for a long time, but we just haven’t had the language and understanding you can only look back to see where we’ve come from. But now we’re in this knowledge based look at us here, peer to peer economy where it’s less hierarchical, where less top down and it’s more about how do we exchange goods and services? Going back to where we were, where more and more more and more of us are piecemeal or project workers? Yeah, so we’ve gone from elite individual yes, we’re back to individual and I don’t want anyone thinking Oh, my goodness, that’s so like, I don’t want to say the name but you know that we’ve had somebody who’s quite bombastic with his, you know, yeah, with his with his but it’s that’s an interesting study. being neutral, interesting study in itself. But you know, when you’re really loud and you really are, that’s the that word to define it is self aggrandizing. So if that’s a mouthful of a word that we don’t say, and so what we really say, when we’re hearing somebody, narcissistic putting people down, you know, forgetting people who are often really into self aggrandizing don’t have a sense of tomorrow or the past, they are living in the moment. And so self aggrandizing does work in that moment when you only have this moment to think about. So that’s where the self aggrandizing happens, but that narcissistic, bombastic all the negative things that you think with bragging, it’s actually that multisyllabic word, self aggrandizing. So it’s a heavier word for people. But that’s what we’re really thinking about. So now that we’re in this peer to peer economy, knowledge based, we do have to be somewhat individualistic poaching, here’s how I serve. If I know how you serve, then I can say, well, you need to know this person here, right, because you are the perfect person to serve them. And then when you come together, then you’re making everything better for the next person. So we’re in service of each other by bragging. So it’s that jump for people to say, here’s what I’m good at, let other people know. And then they’ll say, Ah, I know how to use you in this world. Now, instead of hiding, I call it being a hidden gem. And so many of us, especially women, are so great at being hidden gems.

Oh, my goodness, I am. So in my happy place right now in this conversation. So a couple of things that you brought up. One is I’ve been using slightly different terminology to say some of the same things, which is we work firm centric, and now we’re becoming more individual centric. And I don’t know if you’ve observed the same thing in your work. But when individual coaching clients come to me, one of the first things that they almost always without exception want to talk about and work on is the development of their personal brand. So articulating it and then communicating it. And then we develop a list of here’s what we’re going to do. And then we sometimes go back to their manager or the HR manager, whoever. And very often, I’d say half the time, personal branding gets taken off the list, because they’re seeing it as if this person is serving the firm, we’re not paying for them to become more of an individual, right. And when

I help when I strategize with companies and talk about it, too, that’s the wrong way to think about it. And so when we look at it, we actually know that the brands of individuals get more attraction than the brands of companies. Yeah. So we want to see humans doing human being doing humans, we want to see humans being humans, like that’s what we want, we are attracted to the human experience. And so big brands, brands of any size companies of any size doesn’t get the play that the people in your firm do. So by letting your people shine, if they want to shine, and giving them that freedom, it actually makes them more loyal to you, and it builds your brand, I call it being in the halo. So it’s a halo effect, I have these great people shining their light. Now I’m going to attract even more a players to my team, because they can see that Rochelle works on my team. And I know she’s awesome. Look at the content she’s putting out. I love her values. And she’s singing the praises of this company. I want to go work with Rochelle. Exactly.

So I just had a conversation with my friend Andrew Jenkins, who’s a social media expert, but typically b2b, but he talks about how firms, for example, on LinkedIn, can click a button that says notify all the employees at this company that we did this post and then the ones who want to, can further amplify it. That’s kind of the most direct or explicit way of leveraging that Halo. But then there’s this like continuum, maybe to the most implicit, which is, you meet someone and they tell you that they work at a firm and they’re a really cool person. And you’re like, Oh, the firm must be really cool then Right? That’s kind of the implicit.

Yeah, exactly. And the challenge, though, that so many companies, they want to hold it the communications want to control it so tightly that they don’t allow people to be their own individual person. And then that becomes a rift because where is the line now? It’s like this nine to five world Well, where’s the line between that is part of the company, and this is who I am. And I always tell people, you need to, you know, get your brand out there get talking about you need to talk about your stuff, I’m sure you say this to talk about yourself now and build your brand, build what you’re talking about before you actually need to use it because you need to be making connections, you know, six months, a year, three years in advance before you you actually need somebody to help you strategically. So many people if you’re looking for a job, you’ll think Oh, well I better get on social media and let people know or fluff up my LinkedIn Yes, now is always the best time to start out. You know, it’s like that, that you know, when is the best time to plant a tree 25 years ago or today, so but don’t wait get it going. And I think companies have a hard a conflict to where they also think their employees are going to take off because they’ve been fixing up their LinkedIn. You know, it should be a matter of business to say Hey, I want you to shine, let’s help you shine, it’s almost a well being package that that everyone should be able to shine. Yeah,

100% I feel like that whole attitude that, oh, I just noticed that my direct report, you know, updated his or her LinkedIn, they must be leaving that that’s a little bit old school. I mean, the the clients that I’m working with, they’re thinking of their LinkedIn profile as their interactive business card that they’re sharing. And it’s like this medium that they control, and that they can direct people to when they meet them, right. So that’s a beautiful way of putting it. And I think it’s that, you know, we’re putting our ideas out there. And you never know when the right fit is going to come along that another company might say, You know what, she does have a great idea. We should partner with a company, there’s so many opportunities because of it, but the threat part of it. That’s the scarcity mindset. And I think more and more, we have to realize it’s about abundance. We just have to show and articulate how we are different in the world, or remarkable or it gets hard to say, here’s how I’m different. But how are you remarkable. Yeah, remarkable. But I need to use that word more. Yeah, yeah. Cuz it’s really hard to say how I’m How am I unique? You know it? That’s hard. How am I different? Okay, here’s a few more things. But how am I remarkable and taking that time to sit and think about, you are remarkable. And you need to own that. And that’s a lot of what the bragging rights is. And the book that I’m writing is thinking about how you are remarkable and how you want to show up. So it’s that inventory of the things that you do and that you are awesome. So because we’re all awesome.

So remarkable is a fantastic word. The other word that you use, that really piqued me, I actually wrote it down in front of me is self aggrandizing. So my last question, before we get to the rapid fire questions is, how can we promote ourselves or brag, without going over the deep end into sounding like we’re self aggrandizing,

if you are worried at all about bragging, then you’re not bragging. It’s the people that really, like better so far beyond that would never even catch themselves to say, whew, I wonder if, if I’m gonna get a reaction to this post a negative reaction or worry about it, then you’re probably already too self aware that you’re, you’re hiding. So it’s the people that are constantly saying, Look at me, look at me, those are the people that it becomes a problem. But it’s also the easiest way to start is by amplifying someone else, shine a light on someone else. You know what, you’d be surprised, get a buddy, get a friend and you know, have her amplify with you. So trade things and get her to shine the light on you, you shine the light on her. I see it all the time. And I’ve studied certain people. And I see that they’re actually working in tandem or in groups, and they help each other. So I’m not saying get some sort of chain mail thing going but help each other. So when somebody posts something, when Andrea posts something, I am definitely going to be there liking it and commenting on it. So just getting out there and amplifying it.

So I’m going to sneak in another question then before the five rapid fire questions, Lisa, because as you’ve been talking, I’ve been thinking about the research that I’ve certainly seen, do you think that there’s a difference in bragging between men and women?

I definitely do. I’ve done my own research, though. So we’ll just want to point out that a lot of that research, as good as well intended as it is, is based on a very small cohort of people that are so often it’s mostly American universities, and based on a very small group of people. And so it’s 20 year olds who are responding to these things. But I do think we’re ingrained as young women especially because it’s always about external validation. So we’re always seeking this other validation, when we need to start inside, it’s that inside work, but we’re always always looking for the external visual validation. And then we’re also looking for, you know, its external validation. But we’re also taught to be about the team and about the family, in every case, and so giving it away is a gift. So give it to somebody else, make sure someone else doesn’t feel bad. We’re, we’re so heavy with empathy. And so it’s like, well, I don’t want to make you feel bad, because I’m bragging and bragging might make you feel bad, right? So because I’m talking about my successes, and so we get in this vicious cycle of our minds, instead of where boys are often trained to be bold, and to talk about it right in the moment and to get it out there and be boisterous. And so we so often internalize it. And it’s that whole thing where we don’t say it in the moment, it’s that, oh, I’m gonna wait a few more seconds, I’m gonna wait or the opportunity is not there. A lot of it is team sports too. in team sports, boys are taught to, you know, I gave it 100 I’ve interviewed my backgrounds, TV news, so many people in sports, and they do have that and bragging is really expected in sports through and with CEOs too. It’s really expected for them to talk about their successes. And so we so often it’s I gave it 115% and male and females will talk the same way because they really want to show that they have thought about context and those contexts, but when you take it out to the general world, and Through I’ve sort of done a research survey that to date has more than 300 people who’ve responded internationally. So there’s also a global context of regional context to all this too. But it does. There’s so many pieces of who you are that come into, does your family allow you to brag and talk about successes, and one woman I interviewed for the book, and I know, we’re probably out of time, but she does a great and grateful with her kids. So talking about what the language is, of being great. So how are you great today? And then also, how are you grateful, because we need to balance it out. So put that out there. And that’s from Emily, who is in going to be in the book, but put it out there, how great you are, and then also how grateful so that’s a good balance to all of it, especially talking about it with our children, that they do need to signal how they show up in the world. So

So I love how you turned to my question about is there a difference between the genders? And then you added? There’s, the answer is probably yes. But it’s also there’s an interaction effect with the context like is it sports? Or is it a group versus an individual or even the country right? Is it an individualistic or collectivist country and culture? So yeah, wow. Okay.

That’s all in my book.

Yeah. And I will put a link to your book and to your website, I’ll make sure so everybody can connect with you, whether they’re listening to this episode, before the book is published, or after it’s published, they’ll be able to connect with you to find that. So thank you. Let’s move on to the five rapid fire questions.

Okay, ready to go. First question is, what are your pet peeves?

Oh, I actually have a lot of them. I thought about this question. But one of them is, in Toronto, where I live, there is so much construction all the time. And for some reason, the cladding or the hoarding goes right out to pass the sidewalk. And so we end up walking in live lanes of traffic. And that just just makes me so mad. But I’m one of those people that I want to fix so many things. So I have I actually have a lot of pet peeves. It’s actually sad that I have so many of them, but I have been on an airplane or somebody has clipped their nails all the Yeah, so all those kinds of things. I don’t know, is that even a pet peeve? Because that’s just total of us guessing. That’s just Yeah. So broadly shared that the range of them but that’s, that’s, that would be my big one.

Okay. Second question. What type of learner Are you? I am both visual and an auditory. I’m a visual, and I’m not so much kinesthetic. But I do read a lot. So I read a lot of books. And I take a lot of notes through that. So and then I also being in broadcast news, very visual. So we’d have to go out and see the story visually and understand what that looks like and then marry it with a script. So bringing it all together. So I think I’ve always been both but a voracious reader.

Okay, question number three, introvert or extrovert ambivert. I love collecting the energy from everyone else in the room and presenting and doing workshops and keynotes. And then I love to go back to my hotel room, and close the door and breathe. And also, I’m reading a book. So you have to be quite introverted. If you want to actually write a book, you have to be able to go into your head and spend a lot of time in your sweatpants and hair in a messy Bong. And just not that that’s what an introvert means. But I mean, being alone with yourself and accepting yourself and going through the messy pieces of it and not having to have energy from everyone else. So so that’s where I really think I love both.

Okay, question number four. What’s your communication preference for your personal conversations?

Yeah, you know what, I think I just do everything again. It’s like, I’m all over the place with it. So I will text I will do social media. I will call. I think I’m less about calling now I’ve almost fallen into that whole thing where I have to text you before I call you. Do you have one friend that will actually just pick up the phone? And I’m always like, is everything okay? Yeah. So yeah, Hi, Laura. So it’s like that thing where I’m like, Why do I have to text you when we you know, we’re of an age where we would just pick up the phone and call, but now I just feels like part of the thing. But if you are not like that, that’s great, too. So, but I’m open to any, any way. Just keep me sending me the signals and I’ll pick them up.

Okay, last question. Is there a podcast, a blog and or an email newsletter that you find yourself recommending a lot lately?

Yeah, I have so many. So I did think about this. And one of them is Whitney Johnson. She just gives so many gems and everything she does. So I would recommend signing up for her newsletter and for her podcast and her podcast is called disrupt yourself. Okay. It’s just never heard of that. Yeah, just so many great gems that I find and so many of the conversations and it’s about how we continually disrupt ourselves and jump to the next level of whatever it is that we want to do so and then. I also recommend brown Table Talk. It’s with DC Marshall. And meet Malik and meet us in the book and brown Table Talk. It’s about, you know, getting yourself out there navigating the corporate world, but especially from a person who is, you know, the brown brown lens of brown. And so how, as a white woman, how can I be an ally and watching that what we’re doing and saying and how we can support each other, because I really believe that we can support each other and making sure that I watched the Q’s and how we can all grow together. So, so many great things from me to out there. And then two pages from Michael Bungay Stanier. So I don’t know if you know him MBs. So not the MBS. But MBS is his and he’s the coaches coach essentially has so many great things. He’s coached Brene, brown, so, so many great things he offers. And His things are so digestible, he’s, I really appreciate somebody who’s really able to take bigger concepts and make them that it’s quick and easy. And something that we can take right away as a little snack instead of making this huge, big dinner all the time. So I appreciate that kind of work. I can’t wait to listen to all of those. And I will definitely put links in the show notes so that the listeners can do the same thing. Is there anything you want to conclude with in terms of bragging self promotion and your personal brand, it’s really think about who you are. So that’s the personal brand piece really thinking about that, then it’s also you know, don’t be afraid to talk about your successes. Just try it a little bit. It’s a step by step. It’s just getting a little bit of courage, and then saying one thing and then get a little bit more courage and say one thing and you will not melt. By doing this work, you will keep going and growing and thriving. You’ll see how it goes and and amplify, amplify each other and let the world know how awesome you are.

Thank you so much, Lisa. I really really enjoyed this conversation and I can’t wait to do it again. Thank you can’t wait. Thank you

THANKS for LISTENING.  Talk soon!


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