Being visible at work – and doing it well

I’m only 5′ tall, or short, as the case may be. So being visible has always been on my mind. Being known as “cute” by extension of being little wasn’t exactly what I hoped for when it came to recognition in my career. It’s likely a primary reason why I was determined to leverage the power of communication and amplification throughout my work life.

With visibility at work, ie, being seen, heard, recognized or acknowledged, comes vulnerability, responsibility,and accountability. That might sound daunting,but we know being visible in a work environment is critical for many reasons,including:

  • So that leaders know who you are when you’re discussed during performance review time.
  • So that others will champion for you when the moment arises.
  • And because colleagues are more likely to collaborate with you, reply promptly, and readily engagev if you are a known entity.

Doing it well means understanding that timing is everything, your choice of communication channel is key, and knowing your audience matters. Your day job consists of many moments where visibility will be a natural extension from sharing information via email to spending time in video conferences or IRL meetings to sending messages via Slack group chats so being thoughtful and purposeful with that communication can make a difference. But what else can you do to be more visible at work, to help advance your relationships, career development opportunities, and reputation?

  1. Create deeper connection. You establish trust and propel engagement with others when they feel like they matter and they can get to know you. Start a meeting by asking more than just, “How are you?” Try being specific by asking, “What was the best part of your weekend?” Make the time to grab coffee (virtual or live) for 15 minutes with a co-worker at least once every other week. Have walking meetings if you are able to do so. We all know that time is precious these days, and we are often in a hurry to just check the boxes on the never-ending list of to-dos, but spending time getting to know your colleagues boosts your rapport and visibility at the same time.
  2. Share what’s happening. Demonstrate your commitment to the common goals of the company by sharing trends that you’ve spotted, competitive intelligence you’ve read about. or articles about your industry. And remember to relay your valuable perspective on why it’s important or the implications, so that people can see the way you think.
  3. Send notes. To say thank you, to praise a job well done to someone’s manager, to acknowledge milestones for a project that the team has been working towards and achieved. Anytime you lift others up, you not only feel good, but you also propel a culture of positivity. It’s good practice for the moments when you will have to get comfortable speaking up about your own accomplishments, too.
  4. Ask the question. Ever sat in a company-wide town hall meeting and have a question but don’t raise your hand to ask, only to see someone else raise theirs a few minutes later and ask the very same one? Being in the spotlight can be difficult for some, but that kind of vulnerability can be a powerful testament to your value and helps leaders to recognize you over time. Asking questions means you not only want clarity, but you also care about the topic at hand. Remember if it’s in a large group setting to identify yourself and your role at the company first, and then ask.

If it doesn’t come naturally to you, or you’re concerned about looking overly aggressive, remember that being visible doesn’t mean self-aggrandizing. It can be a set of simple, small things that help increase your presence.

Photo credit: Jess Bailey on Unsplash

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