Visibility is also comprised of “reputation” which is the intangible ways that individuals connect with you. Do you create a welcoming atmosphere that reflects your desire to be accessible? When your colleagues come to see you, is your behavior creating or hindering access? Here are some ways to create a welcoming atmosphere that inspires access:
To stay ahead of an unending volume of work, sometimes people hide in their offices. They may spend the day dodging colleagues, letting the phone go unanswered, and surfing their inbox to select which emails are the most urgent. Their colleagues likely feel frustrated that they cannot get their attention; and on those rare occasions when they do, they feel rushed. If those people are inaccessible to colleagues who need their help and attention, they may slowly lose contact with individuals who are important to their careers.
One other characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are either naturally comfortable introducing themselves to others or they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they introduce themselves to others.
While I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself, I think it would be presumptuous to tell you to be comfortable when introducing yourself. Whether you are an Avoider, Fumbler or just plain unconsciously competent, some of you will not be comfortable introducing yourself, no matter how many books you read.
Introducers introduce themselves with energy, clarity, and confidence. Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s take a cue from our Introducer colleagues and practice some of the behaviors they weave into their introductions that make Introducers so effective when connecting themselves to others. Recall that, at their best, Introducers are the following:
Have you ever noticed that there are some colleagues who seem to remember names better than others? Do you covet their secret? Have they bought a DVD on the Home Shopping Network to build their memory skills? Do they picture a boat when they meet Bob and a house when they meet Harry?
For a variety of reasons, some of you are more able to remember names than others. I don’t know the secret, if there really is a secret, or if there is one secret that fits all of us. Colleagues who seem to remember names tend to be attentive and invested in the conversation. They have made a conscious choice that remembering a name is important.
Regardless of how strong your introduction started, your best efforts will be eroded without a strong finish. How you exit an introduction might be the last thing a new colleague remembers about you, so make sure you have a strong finish.
Your strong introduction is comprised of two main activities.
A lot of networking literature refers to a concept called the “30-second commercial.” This commercial is your “30 seconds of fame,” an opportunity to tell new colleagues who you are and what you do. A reminder that the focus of Raise Your Visibility & Value is on employed business professionals. Subsequently, you don’t need to focus a lot of your attention and effort on creating, memorizing, and speaking like a commercial. Skip the commercial and introduce yourself with simplicity and authenticity – your colleagues will appreciate it.
Approaching others or being receptive to the advance of others, great eye contact, and a confident handshake are key components to a strong start. These behaviors illustrate that you are comfortable and skilled at introducing yourself. In real time, your strong start will last from five to seven seconds. Don’t underestimate, however, the difference that a few seconds can make when introducing yourself effectively.
Reputation is the intangible ways in which we connect with others. This is where activities and behaviors that help you be known in your organization and industry exist. I like to think of reputation as the echo you leave when you exit a room. Your reputation is what your colleagues say about you when you are not there. Perhaps your colleagues are commenting on a presentation you just gave, an interaction you just had, or your candidacy for a promotion. Do you know what they are saying about you? More importantly, what do you want your colleagues to be saying about you?
By all accounts, the world of work you are experiencing is significantly different than your parents’ world of work. The old ways of networking and measuring performance are ineffective in the face of unprecedented change and transparency.
Now is the time to differentiate yourself in your organization and industry. Now is the time to move beyond networking and start raising your visibility. Now is the time to break your dependency on performance management systems and start raising your value.