What does "Brag List" actually mean?

Benno Maggi explains in his column "What does... actually mean?" terms from the field of marketing and communications. In the current issue, he explains what a "Brag List" is.

Brag-ListYou don't have one? Then you are either a woman or very cool. Or both. Brag-List is derived from the English "to brag", which means "to boast", "to show off" or "to act important". In (antiquated) German, one speaks of Prahlhans and not of Prahljohanna, because men just seem to have it.

For people who suffer from impostor syndrome and thus constantly question their own abilities, a brag list is helpful. Unfortunately, these are often women, because bragging tends to be seen as attractive self-confidence in men, but tends to be interpreted as inappropriate bitching and aggressive behavior in women. High time to put a stop to that.

But not before briefly clarifying why this is so. Franziska Schutzbach gets to the heart of the matter in her current bestseller "The Exhaustion of Women": Women are often brought up to this day to make less of a name for themselves. We experience the consequence of this every day in meetings and brainstorming sessions, when their ideas fail because of an unconscious bias on everyone's part (men and women) or - even worse - are adopted by men, customers and bosses without citing the source. That changes when you keep a Brag List.

Cheat sheet to show off

The idea is gender-neutral, but software developer Julia Evans still describes the method as "career gold for women." She even includes a template on how to create a Brag List on her blog.

The idea that good work automatically earns recognition is naive. The practice is much more complicated and frustrating. Like this: You accomplish something important or great, only to find out later that others are rewarded for it. Most of the time, this happens because people have not understood or do not want to remember who is behind it. Women can tell you a thing or two about it. Agencies as well. That is, when the customer declares their ideas to be his own.

So rather bragging than complaining? Why not. The first step is to document everything that has been done. On a brag list, that is. Because otherwise it will be forgotten, especially by those people with low self-esteem. So instead of getting annoyed afterwards, when once again a braggart gets the credit, it's better to pull out the list at the decisive moment and be ready. But it's even cooler not to have a list and just confidently do your own thing.


Benno Maggi is co-founder and CEO of Partner & Partner. He has been eavesdropping on the industry for over 30 years, discovering words and terms for us that can either be used for small talk, pomposity, excitement, playing Scrabble or just because.

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