Make your presence known and learn to handle the heat that comes with being the focus of attention.
Visibility is something most people really want and too often, really dread. It calls up one of the most basic desires: the need to be seen in a positive light. It also activates and one of the most basic fears: the fear of being seen negatively.
The corporate layoffs, stifled business activity and overall shrinkage of services and production that mark these current times are a HUGE trigger for a very familiar reaction: running for cover. This may be the worst thing you can do. An alternative is to heighten your visibility and to do so with a new level of enthusiastic courage.
This is the time when lackluster performance and outstanding performance will come under close scrutiny. Yes, both types of performance will become more visible. If you have been performing well, you have everything to gain from greater visibility. If you aren’t sure of your performance, it will need to improve. But if it is already excellent, make sure you are seen!
To influence others effectively, you need to be viewed clearly, frequently and in a favorable light. If you are willing to be seen and to speak up in a variety of challenging situations, your visibility quotient will go up. If you make a mistake, the solution isn’t to hide. Rather, it’s to retreat only long enough to recover, to learn what there was to learn and then to swiftly return to the situation with your best effort.
Alyce, who was a high potential senior manager, worked with both her need to be seen and her fear of public speaking. The effort required significant commitment on her part.
A one-on-one conversation was fine for Alyce, but a group was terrifying. Her heart pounded and she feared being struck dumb (and looking dumb too) when she had to present in front of a group. Public speaking meant exposure. It truly was so much easier for her to hide and avoid the situation, but this was limiting her ability to influence others and visibly act as an advocate for her very solid and creative ideas.
Alyce had to learn how to articulate her ideas in front of a group that could be potentially hostile to her point of view. She had to do this even when she felt hopelessly inadequate. It took courage and common sense to take it one step at a time and get the support she needed (Speaking Circles, Toastmasters), to move through the fear and stabilize her confidence.
The result has been new level of comfort and skill in saying what she has to say in front of groups. She is now focusing on mobilizing her brilliant ideas quickly, when she’s on the spot, and presenting them in an orderly fashion. As a result, she is gaining recognition and influence. Others are listening.
1. Notice the reactions of people around you when you speak up. Pay special attention to their facial expressions and their body language. This will give you some information about whether your visibility is working for or against you. If it’s working against you, get some feedback on what isn’t working.
2. If you’re concerned about losing your job during these uncertain economic times, invest in your best insurance policy – an unyielding commitment to outstanding performance.
3. Step out of your comfort zone and into greater visibility at least once a day. Be sure you do this with integrity by making sure you’re really contributing something of value each time you become more visible
4. If you have a business and want to expand your visibility, hire a skilled professional to interview your satisfied clients and gather quotes to use in your promotional material. Contact Barbara for information on how she does this.
5. If you need a plan for greater visibility for yourself, your business or your organization, this is the time to do it. If you get stuck, or need additional perspective, work with a professional coach or consultant.
6. Subscribe to the Enlightened Edge™ newsletter.
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