Beating Accessibility Hurdle #3

Accessibility is a Raise Your Visibility Indicator and I define accessibility as the degree in which colleagues can reach you and benefit from the interaction.

What is accessibility hurdle #3?

If I have an office, my door is likely closed.

What can you do?

– Leave your office door open all the time and assess the impact. Start small – do this for a day, and then two days, and then a week.

– Consider doing some of your work away from your office so that the door is open more. Schedule time to use a conference room to get some of your work done. This way, at least your door is not closed.

– Schedule times when you need to close your door so that you colleagues know when they can see you. For example, conduct your “closed door” work between 10:00am and noon or 3:00pm and 5:00pm.

How Can You Introduce Yourself? (Part 2)

There are a number of ways to introduce yourself effectively. Consider the following second step of a model (comprised of the strong start, the strong introduction, and the strong finish) when working on introducing yourself to others.

Your strong introduction is comprised of two activities:

– introducing yourself and
– engaging in varying degrees of small talk.

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 on Raise Your Visibility and 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. When you think of commercials, you likely think of someone trying to sell you something. If fact, most of us record television programs on our Tivo recorders so we can skip the commercials! Skip the commercial and introduce yourself with simplicity and authenticity. Your colleagues will appreciate it.

Most introductions also require some degree of small talk in order to avoid awkward silences. Small talk does not need to be profound or moving. If it were, we would not call it “small” talk. Small talk is designed to create a bridge between your introduction and your strong finish.

Introduce yourself.

You don’t need a different way of introducing yourself for every situation, so create a simple way of introducing yourself that works most of the time. By creating a simple way of introducing yourself, you are also able to practice, build your skill set, and grow your confidence. Here are some suggestions on introductions that might work for you:

– “Hi, Kathy. Great meeting you. My name is Ed Evarts and I am a leadership coach and author.”
– “Good morning. I just wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Ed Evarts and I am an author and leadership coach.”
– “Hi. I don’t think we’ve met. My name is Ed Evarts and I am an author and leadership coach.”

Engage in small talk.

For many of you, engaging in small talk is the most painful step in this model. Similar to Senator Lloyd Bentsen’s observation during the 1988 Vice Presidential debate that his opponent Dan Quayle was “no Jack Kennedy,” I can assure you that I am no Emily Post. What I can tell you is that the smoothest way to create small talk is to ask questions. If you fertilize a new interaction with questions, a conversation will be born. Here are some questions you might ask a colleague you are meeting for the first time:

At your organization.

– “What do you do for (insert your company name here)?”
– “How long have you been with (insert your company name here)?”
– “What’s keeping you busy these days?”
– “I don’t think we’ve met before. How long have you been here and what do you do here?”

At an industry networking event.

– “What brings you here this evening?”
– “Have you been to this event (or this location) before?”
– “Do you know many people here? Would you be kind enough to introduce me to some of your colleagues?”

What is Reputation?

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, or 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?

The global workplace is full of office “tyrants.” These troublesome creatures are very visible in their environments, just not in a good way. To survive in their fast-paced and ever-changing organizations, office tyrants feed on negative and energy draining behavior. They create havoc while performing their job responsibilities, cause controversy on every project, and cauterize relationships in ways that impede progress. A visitor to an environment that houses an office tyrant can easily tell when office tyrants are approaching simply by watching the behavior of the office tyrant’s colleagues. Their eyes roll, their bodies stiffen, and they will often scatter for the nearest water cooler or stairwell. Most troubling for office tyrants looking to create their next controversy is the fact that colleagues they have yet to meet are aware of their disruptive and unproductive behavior even before meeting them. As another successful day of bad behavior comes to a close, the office tyrants withdraw, only to return the next day to feed again. Can you think of any office tyrants in your organization? Do you know your reputation at work? Could you be an office tyrant?

Individuals successful in building a good reputation are regarded in positive ways. Your colleagues with great reputations are not only known in positive ways by colleagues with whom they have met and collaborated, they are similarly known to colleagues whom they have yet to meet. The old adage, “your reputation precedes you,” continues to exist due to individuals who are very successful in managing their reputation in their organization and industry.