One of the most common mistakes people make around visibility is that they think being that visible means being everywhere and that they need to be seen by everyone.
They think they have to be at every meeting, always speaking up, sharing their perspective and making sure that people listen to them. This is extremely tiring and not sustainable – no wonder they don’t have the energy or motivation to do it, let alone the time.
But while the unsustainability of this approach sounds obvious when I describe it like this, there are plenty of variations which are less obvious that people often get sucked into.
- attending every meeting without question to make sure you don’t miss any of the conversations
- feeling like you need to say something in every conversation you’re involved in so that people know you are there
- finding yourself fed up with saying the same thing over and over again to your boss or those around you, and they still don’t understand
- repeatedly volunteering to do things that aren’t a part of your role to keep people noticing you.
The reason why these approaches to visibility are ineffective is that they are untargeted, and there is no strategy behind them.
When you try to be visible to a wide range of people with all of your opinions and ideas, your energy and impact become diffused.
This approach tends to lead to a lot of people knowing random snippets of information about you and what you offer, which they find hard to piece together.
Instead, you need to target the people who have influence so that they know who you are and what you can offer.
A more strategic way to increase your visibility is to align what you do to:
- why you want to be more visible
- who you want to see and hear you (and why)
- what you want them to know
Last week I encouraged you to think about why you want to be more visible – both from a short and a long-term perspective.
Once you start to connect with your own personal why, it becomes more obvious who you need to focus on to achieve this goal – these people become the targets for your visibility strategy.
For example, if a promotion or pay rise is important to you, your boss may be important to champion you, but you can make your boss’s job easier if members of the decision-making panel already know about you and your capabilities.
If you don’t have access to this panel directly, explore how you can reach them via other means – is there anyone that can rave about you to them, or make an introduction?
If you want to inspire people by being a role model, you could start by thinking about who you could be a role model for, what they are interested in and how could they find out about you.
By taking a bit of time out to figure out your strategy before you throw yourself into full-on “look at me” mode, you can make sure that you are in the right meetings, sharing your message in a way that resonates with the people you want to be seen by, and still have the energy to listen and respond to the feedback that comes back.
Are you being focused in the way you raise your visibility, or are you wasting your energy?
Take a moment to connect with your why, and identify the key stakeholders that could have the most influence over achieving it.
What’s one small step you could take to increase your visibility with these people and make it easy for them to help you achieve your why?
If you have any questions or need any help figuring out who to target and how, come over and join the discussion in my Facebook group for women in tech, or if you’d like a more in-depth exploration you can book a one-off Visibility Strategy session with me at any time using this link.
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