How do you talk about your achievements, personal or professional, in the appropriate manner—one that conveys confidence and humility? How do you include the right amount of concrete details and communicate in a straightforward way that doesn’t sound like shameless self-promotion?

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Talking about your accomplishments can be a difficult space to navigate. You have most likely had to do this at some point in your life, and if you haven’t, there is a strong chance it’s on the horizon.

Compiling accomplishments for college application essays resumes, or interviews can feel unnerving, not because you can’t come up with things to say, but rather because you grapple with how to say them.

Depending on the setting and audience, communicating your accomplishments can make you feel like you’re being arrogant or bragging.

But it doesn’t need to feel this way. A large part of communicating effectively is understanding the power of the tone behind your words.

Here are some tips and tricks to ensure you’re owning your success with proper confidence. 

Be honest about your hard work

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Instead of brushing something off as a simple task, own up to how hard the task at hand may have been, and how you worked through that to accomplish it.

For example, avoid phrases like “that was a piece of cake,” and instead be honest: “I put in a lot of effort in this project to make it happen.”

Make it personal

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Another way to stay engaged with your audience is to find a connection with them. Tying your achievement to a personal anecdote will not only make it more appealing, but it will hopefully make your discussion more memorable.

Be specific and concise

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Avoid rambling at all costs. Depending on how formal the conversation is, go into it with specific points you want to cover and keep it brief.

This will also show that you have taken time to think about achievements that have positively shaped your life.

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Have materials for reference

“Show, don’t tell” is an age-old adage—and it’s a good one! If you’re able to show off your previous work in a portfolio, have it on hand to point to when you need it.

Concrete examples do not only make you more credible, but they’re also another medium through which you can discuss your accomplishments.

Don’t belittle anyone else

While you may not be used to talking about yourself in the way that these types of situations encourage, your possible self-consciousness can result in putting others down. However, instead of talking about what other people may or may not have done in comparison to you, focus on your strengths.

For example, instead of saying, “I was able to handle more tasks than my coworker,” go for something like, “I successfully handled a variety of tasks on a given deadline.”

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