You’re good at what you do, great in fact, and you know it. But, who else knows it? Further, do the right people know how good you are at your job, or about your excellent skills and abilities? If not, you could be at risk of being the best-kept secret in town. One of the top challenges for women in the workplace is that many work hard, keep their nose to the grindstone and no one knows about their outstanding work. Do you fall into this category? Your co-worker and manager might be aware of your capabilities, but how much farther are your successes being publicized?
If your manager or company doesn’t provide opportunities for you to create awareness for yourself as an employee or grant your position exposure to the levels where you think it needs to be, you may want to invest in some self-promotion strategies.
If you are new or not well-known within your department, company or industry, you can start small and build your strategy outward. Taking the first step can be challenging, but well worth the investment. In this article, I offer three ways to engage with your company on a larger scale, as well as three ideas that tie in with the holidays.
Special Projects – If you work in a mid- to large-sized organization, search your company’s website for news about special projects, or upcoming event or conferences. If your company is smaller, approach your manager or the person who hired you to inquire about special opportunities. Find one that aligns with your interest or skill set and determine how you can become involved. Avoid thinking things like ‘that’s not my style’, or ‘I’m too busy’. Step out of your comfort zone, and carve out the time in your schedule to get involved. Working on a collaborative short-term project could open your world to new people, ideas, and processes and, in turn, provide the perfect platform to showcase your talents.
Philanthropy – If your company is aligned with a charitable cause – get involved! Attend a philanthropy-related meeting with the intent of taking an active part in an upcoming event. Prior to attending, educate yourself on the cause and be ready to discuss it or ask questions should the opportunity arise. Volunteer for a role that either shows your skill set or allows for the most visibility or opportunity to interact with many co-workers.
If your company does not have an association with an organization or cause, be the catalyst. Research different causes that naturally align with your company’s service or product, and identify the best fit. Discover ways your company could help the organization as well as ways your company could benefit from becoming involved. Present the idea to your manager or your HR manager, and be ready with a first step suggestion. People working together for a cause builds community, and if you head up the cause, you will be viewed as a leader. If the idea is rejected, you will, at least, have demonstrated initiative, creative thinking and gained exposure as someone who has fresh ideas and the energy to do work.
Publicize and Promote – How do people in your company, or those in the community become well-known? Public speaking, blogging, networking at community events, or having the ear of the people in their company or industry are some of the most effective ways to build your ‘personal brand’ and become well-known. Pick one activity based on your comfort level and expertise and simply begin to build. Sharing your business expertise or experiences on a blog is a solid way to begin. WordPress, LinkedIn or Blogger are all simple and easy tools to use to begin a blog. Creating an inventory of content on your blog, and sharing it on social media will reach large audiences over time. Networking opportunities abound through local Chambers of Commerce, or larger city business organizations which offer mixers or events for meeting local and regional business owners. Invite a friend to join you during networking events so you can introduce each other to other attendees and assuage any potential nerves.
Over time, these incremental activities will build on themselves as your arsenal of knowledge. Eventually, you will have built up enough experience and content to compile and e-book, conduct a workshop, or give a small talk at a conference or networking event. Publishing, leading seminars, and public speaking will definitely build your personal brand and gain the attention of the upper management in your company.
This time of year provides a unique opportunity to engage with people on a more personal level. Try any one of the following ideas depending on the size and culture of your company and/or department.
Holiday Gathering – Organize a holiday get together. This doesn’t have to be at your home, extravagant or the picture perfect event. People enjoy the opportunity to gather during the holidays, especially when someone else does the planning. Reserve a conference room for a lunchtime event (which can be a potluck), select a local restaurant for a casual dinner party, or designate a day for a short after work happy hour event in a location suitable for everyone to mingle. Plan a fun activity that joins the group together for a while to make sure all attendees are included at one point during the evening. Ideas include a quick game of Left, Right, Center; White Elephant Game or a Christmas trivia game.
Use a printed invitation as the way to promote yourself with this idea. After the event details, include your name, title and contact information as the hostess. Whether people attend or not, you will have made an impression of someone who takes initiative and has creativity.
Holiday Giving – Organize a soup kitchen Saturday event, Toys for Tots collection or canned food drive for your office. Create a simple one-page flyer with the details of the event Include your name, title and contact information as the hostess. Distribute the flyer to each co-worker, and hang in a central place for high visibility. This method demonstrates the same characteristics as the invitation, as well as an ‘others-focused’ outlook, which translates into leadership skills.
Gifts of Thanks – Are you an independent contractor or freelance service provider? The holiday season is a unique opportunity to thank your clients (past and current) for their business. Gift ideas range from homemade goodies and packaged gifts of food to calendars or other business tools for the New Year. Personalize the latter with your company info, and enclose a handwritten note expressing your gratitude for their business. You could also include a quick list of accomplishments for 2015 and some business ideas or opportunities for 2016.
Gift giving to potential clients during the holiday season is also an effective way to promote your business and create awareness. In this category, personalized business gifts are more appropriate since they communicate your company name and services. A follow-up visit or note in the New Year is another great touch point in the process of promoting yourself and your business.
Whichever method you choose to create awareness of your skills and publicize your capabilities, do so with intention. Have the end-goal in mind when you begin, whether it’s a promotion, in-place salary increase, or job change. Build a plan of the activities and events so each one exemplifies a skill or capability that is a prerequisite of your end goal. If you need help building this strategy, give me a call and we can create a game plan together through one on one coaching (call me about the special pricing running this month on the Fast Start coaching package!). Attending my January workshop, “Kick Start Your High-Heeled Success™” will also arm you with a toolbox of ideas to help your career soar.