Do You Feel Visible?

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Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D

In a 2016 study, 240 senior leaders of a Silicon Valley technology company were asked to identify the most-critical factors for success at their level. The group agreed on track record and skills-based factors: a history of delivering results, technical depth of expertise, and the ability to manage a technical team.

However, when asked them to name the most-critical factors for promotion to their level, a new top criterion appeared: visibility. More than technical competence, business results, or team leadership ability — these leaders agreed — visibility was the most important factor for advancement.

How visible are you? Are the senior managers and executives in your company aware of your talents and accomplishments – or are you waiting for someone else to discover how amazing you are?

If you believe that working hard, keeping quiet, and waiting for your talents to be discovered is the path to success, take a tip from Dana Simberkoff, Chief Risk, Privacy and Information Security Officer at AvePoint: “If you want to be evaluated as having leadership presence, then being a legend in your own mind is not enough. Instead, you need to make sure that executives in your company are aware of your work and accomplishments — and you need to do so in a way that is not seen as boasting, but as informative and helpful.

Here are three simple tips to increase your visibility:

1)  Speak up – literally. Not only is public speaking impactful; sharing what you know also serves others.

• Submit yourself as a speaker for breakout sessions or panels at industry conferences.

• After you’ve attended a webinar or training session, offer to present your takeaways from that event in an informal session to anyone in your organization who’s interested.

2)  When participating in a virtual meeting, increase your visibility by . . .

• Making sure to be seen on camera. Don’t hide off-screen behind a name plate or a still photo. You can’t display presence if you’re not present.

• Starting with a smile. A smile is the facial expression we like the most. It’s an invitation, a sign of welcome. It signals that you are friendly, open and relaxed.

• Maintaining great seated posture. It’s a powerful nonverbal signal of confidence.

• Speaking up: Ask questions, offer suggestions, compliment others.

3)  You gain high visibility by doing high-quality work on high-priority projects. Before you agree to join a planning committee, project team, or task force, ask yourself if this assignment will help you get the attention of senior executives and other key contacts you’d like to make.

And when you join an important project, consider being the one who summarizes and distributes the notes of your meetings to senior leadership. It’s a great way to get them familiar with your name.

You can be loaded with leadership presence, but it won’t matter unless you are visible!


5 Body Language Hacks that Make You Look Like a LeaderAbout the Author: I offer keynote speeches, webinars, and one-on-one coaching sessions. For more information, please email: Carol@CarolKinseyGoman.com or phone: 1-510-526-1727. My website is: https://carolkinseygoman.com/