Below are some typical hurdles to accessibility and suggestions for improving them in your organization and industry.
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.
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.
You may be surprised to find that “introduce yourself” is the first Raise Your Visibility & Value visibility accelerator. After all, introducing yourself to others seems so simple. What is difficult about saying “hello” and shaking the hand of a new colleague?
Carl is also surprised because, like you, he has been meeting people his entire life. As an adolescent, he found himself at parties introducing himself to new friends. As a young law student, he attended classes where he introduced himself to fellow classmates. Today, as an in-house attorney for a growing software company, Carl “meets and greets” people all of the time – colleagues, clients, and other professionals in the legal profession.
As you work to raise your visibility in your organization and industry, certain activities and behaviors are more productive and will accelerate your efforts. These “accelerators” are like putting rocket fuel in a Honda Civic. When you “step on the gas,” you will enhance your presence and reputation faster than ever before. And these activities and behaviors can be easily integrated into your already busy workday.
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 as well as contribute to your organization and industry. You cannot be visible if you are not seen by others!
Being visible is critical to your long-term success in your fast-moving, ever-changing organization. When you think about being visible, consider that there are three levels of visibility: low, medium, and high. The two levels that typically impact you are your personal visibility and the visibility of the work that you do.
You live and work in an increasingly transparent world, yet you find yourself less visible within your organization. You live and work in a time where the ways you can connect with one another are endless, yet you feel less connected with your colleagues. It seems counter intuitive, doesn’t it?
It is important to recognize that visibility and value are deeply symbiotic in your organization and industry. You already know that professional risks exist for busy business professionals who are invisible or undervalued in their organization. You do not want to be visible without providing value, and it is hard to demonstrate the value that you provide if you are invisible.
Research tells us that how we define something dictates the activities we subscribe to it. There is a famous example from the turn of the 19th century that illustrates this point. In an effort to change how the public perceived his company, the president of a railroad company declared, “We are not a train company – we are a transportation company!” Suddenly, by viewing his organization as a provider of transportation and not just an owner of trains, he created new customer perspectives and business opportunities.