Visibility is what creates opportunities. It may be obvious to say, but if no one knows who you are, what you do, or what you’re capable of, no one will know that you’re the perfect person to do whatever it is you really want to be doing.
One of the common issues facing the women I coach is a feeling (and often a reality) of a lack of visibility. The notion that if you work hard and perform well you will automatically reap the rewards is a familiar belief that many are holding onto. You’ve probably heard me talk about Cinderella syndrome before. And I get it. It can feel icky to talk about yourself. You may know that the work you do is awesome but the whole idea of telling people about it feels like bragging. Well you need to let go of that idea fast! Those who shout about their achievements, go on to achieve more. With the increased levels of remote working, knowing how to stand out and be noticed is even more important.
The worry that you might not be ‘authentic’ when you are trying to increase your visibility is another perception that needs to be exploded. It’s not ‘playing politics’ to put yourself out there and remind your employer and colleagues about what you do. Stop hiding and start making a name for yourself.
Here are the keys to having the tools to increase your visibility in the workplace.
Write it down
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes can’t remember what I did this morning let alone last week or month! Pay attention to what you do and the value you add and gather evidence because you won’t remember even some of your most impressive achievements in a months’ time. You probably take 80% of what you do for granted, and as a result so will everyone else. So, they WILL need reminded! Keep a journal and ask yourself every day ‘How did I add value, what did I do well?’. Keep a note of feedback that you receive and if you aren’t getting any ask for some. Keeping a record of results is one of the most important habits you can develop. Start today!
Use your time and space
When you’re in a meeting, remember it’s an opportunity to shine. Too often women minimise what they have been doing (‘I’m just getting on with the job, I have no big issues, I better not speak up as the meeting’s running over’). NO! Always add something. You have been adding value so you MUST get it in the spotlight. There’s a reason moaners and problem children seem to get all the opportunities; they are always heard. Use your time to be heard for a positive reason and show how you’re solving problems and getting results.
Give great updates
In 121’s, team meetings and in front of leaders you need to tell your story. This can seem daunting, after all where do you start? There is a simple way to give yourself some structure to do this. Use the acronym CAR as your guide;
Context – what’s been going on that’s lead to you taking action? What are the complexities and challenges? What are you focused on achieving?
Action – What actions are you taking? Try and remember to share some ‘how’ that highlights your career super powers.
Results – what results have you achieved? Think about primary results (intended goals), and secondary (useful extras e.g., relationship building, increased morale, processes that can be leveraged etc.). Impact is everything!
Don’t be afraid to take credit
Give credit to others where due but remember to take credit for yourself and highlight what you’ve done. What your impact has been. What value you have added. If you don’t tell people, how are they meant to know? Your direct manager may know but others around the business certainly won’t. Develop your own reputation and take control of it.
Ask for high visibility projects
Talk about what you’re good at and offer your expertise for the things that align with your brand. Listen out in meetings for opportunities to step up. Remember to sell yourself and explain WHY you are offering to take a task. “I’m great at x/ I’ve had experienced doing x before, and I achieved y”. How are you going to progress if you never step out of your comfort zone or get seen by others outside your immediate circle? Equip your manager with what you want to do and ask them for support to make it happen.
Practice, Practice, Practice
We find things we’ve never done before clunky and unnatural. When you’re not used to talking about yourself it will feel uncomfortable. You can change that with rehearsal. Talk to the cat. Practise in the car. Tell yourself in the mirror. Saying what you have done, how you did it and what you achieved out LOUD may seem strange, but trust me when you go to say it front of people it is definitely easier
Make being visible part of your weekly action plan, whilst remembering it’s important to be selective about what you take on, and ask yourself how will this help me to achieve my career goals? Taking on too much for the sake of increasing your visibility can cause burn out and is counter-productive. It can actually dilute your brand. Focus on being the ‘go-to’ person for your areas of expertise and saying no to what doesn’t fit.
These actions will help grow your confidence and to give yourself an extra boost, keep reminding yourself that you are worth it AND get comfortable saying it out loud! You have a right to be proud of what you have achieved and you have a obligation to yourself to make sure everyone else knows how amazing you are. You invest a big chunk of your life in your career, it’s only right you be recognised for it!
If you’d like a push to increase your visibility and confidence at work you should sign up for the Generation Women Kickstart Your Career 5 Day Challenge!