As I work to improve my skills as a coach, there is a suggested best practice that if a coach can relate an experience that a client finds stressful, to an experience that is typically less stressful, the client will understand their stressful situation more clearly. This is what I have found with my poker analogy. In poker, you will be dealt either a good hand or a bad hand. Regardless of the hand you are dealt, it is the hand you have to play. More of your energy should be spent figuring out how to play the hand. By comparing their workplace to a poker hand – my clients seem better able to understand their situations, and more importantly, think more clearly about what to do about them.
You may feel that you should not respond to colleagues until you have the answer to their questions or requests. Or you might assume that others know you are working on their problem and you don’t feel a need to keep them updated. You may rationalize that you are too busy to get back to anyone except your boss. But here’s why responsiveness is important.
As my tenure as a coach grows, and as I meet an increasing number of client prospects, I have noticed recurring themes among individuals who don’t think about working with a coach, or who don’t want a coach.
Visibility is also comprised of “reputation” which is the intangible ways that individuals connect with you. Are you being welcoming to your colleagues and creating an 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:
How comfortable are you when introducing yourself to others? One characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are naturally comfortable introducing themselves. It could also be that they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they do.
I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself. However, 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 just seem to have a talent for remembering names? 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. When introducing yourself, how you exit introductions might be the last thing a new colleague remembers about you, so make sure you have a strong finish.
A strong introduction is one of the keys to successfully introducing yourself to a colleague. It’s my hope to shift mindsets from believing it’s unimportant to the belief that it’s a critical behavior to embrace in today’s fast-paced and frenetic organizations.