Presence is the tangible ways in which you connect with others. This is the place where activities and behaviors that help you be seen in your organization and industry exist. When you work to build your presence, you are seeking physical ways to connect with others and contribute to your organization and industry. You cannot be visible is you are not seen by others!
In your busy work environment, it is easy to become an office “hermit.” Thousands of office hermits are spotted in corporations around the globe on a daily basis. These surreptitious creatures quietly enter their offices as dawn breaks to ensure they do not have to interact with others. While hermits’ office doors are closed for most of the workday, passersby can hear the occasional sound of keys clicking on a keyboard or muffled voices on a conference call. As the sun reaches its peak, office hermits quickly dart from the confines of their offices to seek out food in a variety of places – perhaps the employee cafeteria or a local fast food restaurant. Whatever the choice, they have to be quick, as office hermits must return to their place of safety and solitude – their office – before they are seen by or have to interact with others. As the day plods on, key clicking and voice muffling continues. Then, just as at dawn, office hermits will quickly exit the building at dusk, slithering down hallways, scrunching themselves into the corners of elevators, and, with speed that would impress a jaguar on the Serengeti, exit for the day. And, as dawn arises the following day, the cycle continues. Can you think of any office hermits at your place of work? Are you yourself an office hermit?
Individuals successful in building their presence seize opportunities to be seen at work by “picking up their heads,” getting out of their offices, and building relationships across functional areas. They identify opportunities to be seen in different ways (i.e., subject matter expert, team member, cross-functional contributor). They interact, participate, and engage with others.