In many social environments, boasting about ourselves is usually frowned on. It is often impolite to keep going on about our own achievements and show off our skills, processions and knowledge. This leads to a certain amount of conformity where we never get to praise ourselves. We are encouraged to praise others (rightly so) and everyone loves to be praised. However, we never get to acknowledge our own achievements internally. In fact, most often we are so focused on learning or owning the next thing that we forget we have come a long way already.
This lack of self-praise can lead people to devalue themselves and not see their own accomplishments as significant or worthy of sharing with others. This can in turn lead to reduced self-esteem and life-worth. Hence, it is useful to have an opportunity to self-praise in front of others.
In this elegant but powerful activity, delegates get to praise themselves in a controlled environment so there is no room to appear rude or impolite. They get to acknowledge their own accomplishments and feel good about themselves by sharing this with others. It is this sharing aspect that makes this activity so powerful by encouraging people to talk about themselves positively while having someone to listen to. It simply reminds people that they have done well, focusing their attention on the most positive aspects of their lives.
Share your best accomplishments, skills, traits and qualities with others.
- Divide the delegates to pairs. If you have an odd number of delegates, pair yourself with one of the delegates.
- Explain that in this exercise delegates get to talk about their best qualities, skills and accomplishments.
- Ask each pair to decide who would be asking first and who would be answering.
- Those who are asking, should start with the following question, “What is good about you?”
- Those who are answering should then talk about themselves with the intention to deliver self-praise. The questioner can ask further encouraging questions to help the person talk more and express themselves better. The questioners have an important supporting role in this exercise.
- Allocate about 15 minutes for this part. This may appear long for some, especially those who need this exercise the most. This is intentional. It is a simple challenge. Can people talk about themselves positively for 15 minutes without running out of things to say?
- Swap roles and repeat for another 15 minutes.
- Bring back everyone together and follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes
Activity: 15 min * 2 rounds = 30 minutes
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
What did you think of this exercise? Do you feel stronger? Do you feel more at peace with yourself knowing that you have done well so far in your life and that you have much to be proud of? Do you feel positively about yourself? Would it have been easier if the question was to talk about things you are not good at or that you need to improve on? What does this suggest?
You can vary the question asked to bias the exercise based on your training needs.
Here are some alternatives:
- “What are you good at?”
- “What is the best thing you ever accomplished?”
- “What is the best thing you ever made?”
- “What are your best qualities?”
- “What are you proud of the most about yourself?”
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