Now that might seem strange coming from someone who has spent a career working with companies, organizations, and individuals to promote their work.

I was brought up with the idea that if you do good work, people will notice it.

But as we know, that isn’t how it works.

Some of the least competent or skilled people move ahead because they are very good at self promotion. They are in front of people all the time extolling their value.

I learned this the hard way, losing lucrative contract to a competitor who showed up at all the events I didn’t attend. He thought they must be good because I keep seeing them everywhere.

So how do you promote yourself when it feels so uncomfortable. Here are a few tips.

1) Get clear on your value. Take stock of your accomplishments, the way you conduct yourself, and the difference you have made through your skills your wisdom, your commitment, or your approach. If you aren’t sure, ask people with whom you have worked to share their thoughts about you. You will uncover great insights.

And if you are still struggling, find an objective third party to help you figure it out. Even those of us who are professional communicators have trouble clarifying our own messages. There is not shame in that as I learned. A surgeon can’t operate on herself; you can’t always see your own truth.

2) Get clear on who needs to know about you. Maybe it’s your boss or senior management. Maybe it’s the companies you’d like to work with. Maybe it’s an industry organization. Think not about what you can tell them but what you have to offer them that will help them achieve some aspiration or reduce stress, frustration. In other words, how do you and what your offer contribute to their success.

3) Understand how your audience best receives information and communicate using those platforms. You have to share your message where your audience will see or hear.

4) Think about promotion as engagement and conversation. When I left journalism and was looking for a job in communications, I was very frustrated by the process. I had lunch with an editor of mine and he told me I had the wrong attitude. “You aren’t looking for a job, he said. “You are meeting new people and institutions.”

If you don’t talk about yourself, who will. Learning how to get the right kind of attention by promoting yourself in a way that shows how you help others will help you achieve your goals.

What are some tips you have for getting attention for yourself and your business?