Today’s article was written by Linda Descano.
Based on what I’ve heard on my travels, at one point in your career, you’ve probably been told to “be more visible” if you want to advance your career. In fairness, I’ve been on the receiving end of that advice and have delivered that advice to more than a few of my reports over the years. But what exactly should you be doing? As part of my series on mastering the compensation conversation, I asked four of my go-to gurus on all things workplace-related for their suggestions on practical, actionable steps to raise your visibility inside your organization as well as externally, which I’ve consolidated into the following five tips:
1. Brush Up
Achieve a level of mastery whether you provide a service, sell a product, build buildings, write stories, entertain, or groom pets, advises personal branding coach Diane Baranello. How do you achieve mastery? “There are many ways,” says Diane, “Request mentorship from a seasoned professional in your field. Go back to school for an advanced degree or certification. Do research and then publish. Interview experts. Write a white paper. Any of these will elevate your expertise and build your credentials.”
2. Step Up
Stacy Lauren Musi, Managing Director at Chadik Ellig Executive Search, recommends taking on rotational or lateral assignments to broaden your exposure, joining task forces and other cross-functional groups to expand your network, and spearheading high visibility (perhaps even higher risk) business or corporate initiatives with firm-wide impact to showcase your business acumen. When stepping up, Jenna McGraw, who was in Citi’s Global Leadership & Development function says don’t be casual with how you share information on progress and achievements. Even on a regular update call, create a slide that shares some data. While one should take every opportunity to recognize the progress made by the team and to put others in the spotlight, don’t relinquish your clear role as a leader.
3. Speak Up
Develop relationships across the organization at all levels to expand your network, promote your area, and build your social reputation, says executive coach Raleigh Mayer, aka The Gravitas Guru. Jenna suggests asking to be allowed to present at meetings where more senior leaders are in attendance—and, when you present, use language that shows you “own” the work. Diane believes one becomes memorable by being able to deliver a clear, impactful message at meetings and present a point of view whenever the opportunity presents itself. “Those who speak with clarity, conviction, and assurance will gain respect as a leader and an expert,” she says.
4. Stand Up
All four gurus agreed that it’s important to seek and accept opportunities to present and speak publicly internally and externally to gain visibility and increase your influence. Diane elaborates, “This will give you access to distinguished connections, build your reputation, and gain publicity, perhaps in a journal, on the internet, or in an industry publication. If you don’t hold membership in an organization in your field, the time to join is now.” Stacy also encourages professionals to join boards and get involved with external associations, charities, and organizations.
5. Dress Up
“Make every day a ‘photo opportunity,’” says Raleigh, “with a polished appearance including perfect posture, strong body language, and a personal style statement (color, jewelry, or accessory).”