Bragging about yourself can sound silly or conceited.
But when it's done right, it becomes an art, says Peggy Klaus.
"Usually people think of 'brag' as a four-letter word, but to brag well is absolutely essential in terms of competing and succeeding in the world today," she said in a phone interview Monday.
The motivational speaker and author from Berkeley, Calif., is known as an expert in teaching people how to toot their horn without blowing it, as the title of her first book suggests.
She'll be in town Thursday to lead a BRAG workshop. The event will be from 7 to 9 p.m. at Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 Cresta Road, and is free and to the public.
Klaus helps students and adults figure out how their life stories can become a key to opening doors, in personal and professional arenas.
Communicating strengths and accomplishments without appearing too opportunistic or egotistical can be tricky, she said.
"You need to learn how to talk about yourself in a really dynamic and interesting way, and you can do that without being obnoxious or self-aggrandizing," Klaus said.
So instead of telling people "I've done this and I've done that," Klaus recommends coming up with "a short, pithy, entertaining story where you use a few brag nuggets or tidbits of information about you - and it's said with passion and energy and enthusiasm."
The technique is useful whether applying for college, a job, a promotion or a volunteer seat, or when making new friends or business contacts.
Highlighting skills, talents and experiences in an interesting way makes you stand out from the crowd, Klaus said, and helps improve self-worth.
Thursday's workshop will cover myths related to bragging, a self-evaluation tool to determine what's worth bragging about, how to brag during a job interview and networking advice.
Klaus presents the material in an experiential and interactive format, with exercises and role playing so the audience can test her concepts.
Klaus has been a guest on "Nightline," "Today" and "20/20," and been featured in such magazines as Fortune, Time, BusinessWeek and O.
This is her second presentation in Colorado Springs. She was the opening speaker at an Air Force Academy event last summer for high school juniors considering attending the academy.
"When they applied for the program, they didn't do a very good job of highlighting their talents, skills and characteristics," Klaus said, so she was invited to help them improve their self-promotional abilities.
Bragging is easier if learned in youth, she said, but adults can benefit from the skills, to counteract the emphasis on modesty that they undoubtedly learned in childhood.