Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Four Strategies to Elevate Your Visibility Inside (and Outside) of Your Company

Business sucks.
Layoffs are abounding.
Job stability is wavering.

Will you panic or prosper?

If you want to accomplish the latter, remember this three-word philosophy:

Anonymity is bankruptcy.

In this article, we’re going to explore four strategies for elevating your visibility inside (and outside) of your company.

FIRST: Elevating Internal Visibility
When executed consistently, these practices will capture the attention of your managers and superiors, thus contributing to a greater awareness of the asset value you bring to the company.

1. Exert your distinctiveness. As an employee, the net worth of your human capital is a function of your expertise. So, the three questions you need to ask yourself are:

*What are you known for knowing?
*Who is already attracted to you that sees you as a resource?
*What have you done, specifically – in the last 24 hours – to amplify that expertise within your company?

Once you’ve identified and valued your TRUE expertise and inventoried your negotiable personal assets, the next challenge is to assert that distinctiveness in every possible personal branding touchpoint: Questions you ask, answers you give, emails you write, meetings you attend and conversations you hold.

The cool part is, asserting your distinctiveness elevates your visibility.

Elevating your visibility attracts more responsibility.

More responsibly increases the net worth of your human capital.

And an increased net worth of human capital solidifies your job security.

REMEMBER: If your presence makes a difference; your absence will make a different. You WANT people to start asking where you are when you’re not around. You WANT to become so invaluable that you become noticeable in your absence. Employees like that rarely get laid off.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What are you known for? What are you known AS? And what hard-to-copy capabilities do you possess that position you distinctively, effectively and continuously?

2. Volunteer to be a company blogger. Whether your company blogs internally for its employees and customers, or externally for the entire world to see, this is the perfect venue to share your expertise and elevate your visibility to a whole new level.

Follow these steps for blogging brilliance:

o First, read Robert Scoble's Naked Conversations and Debbie Weil's The Corporate Blogging Book. These two bestsellers will equip you with the knowledge you’ll need to champion your blogging idea.

o Next, find out who’s in charge of that function. Connect with them. Depending on the size of your company, blogging responsibility may lie in the hands of a team of writers, a few marketing people, or maybe just that 29-year-old wunderkind named Tyler who wears jeans and flip-flops everyday.

o Third, prepare a list of five ways to make the company blog more value-driven, more engaging and more viral. Then share that list with key players. You might even consider writing a few sample posts to demonstrate your expertise and writing style. Managers will notice. Managers will listen. Most importantly, people’s confidence in you will soar.

REMEMBER: Writing is the basis of all wealth. So, if your company isn’t currently blogging, you’re not just missing the boat – you’re missing the BANK. Come on. If my Pitt Bull, Paisley, can write her own blog, so can you.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: Tolstoy had thirteen kids when he wrote War & Peace – what’s YOUR excuse for not blogging yet? And, how much money is your company losing by not blogging?

SECOND: Elevating External Visibility
When executed consistently, these practices will attract the attention of both new and existing customers, giving you the edge you need to get noticed, get remembered and GET business.

1. Prepare to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is attractive. Vulnerability is approachable. Vulnerability is strength. Even President Obama – during his first MONTH in office – recently owned up to the media for his poor appointee choice.

“I’ve got to own up to my mistake,” Obama told NBC News. "I'm frustrated with myself, with our team. ... I'm here on television saying I screwed up.”

Look, we’re all a bit nervous. And we’re all a bit vulnerable.

The danger is when we’re not willing to disclose that vulnerability by practicing radical honesty.

So, here are my two suggestions:

o Stop lying. Get out of the habit of mindlessly telling people, “Business is great!” No, it isn’t. Not unless you’re a foreclosure company. Stop putting on an act and start sharing your authentic experience. People will take notice of your candor.

o Own your slowness. Try saying this: “You know, business is actually pretty slow right now. But, I welcome that challenge. And the good news is, I’ve been putting in overtime on a few new business growth strategies. And I’m confident that, with a lot of hard work, they’re going to overcome this slump.” People will take notice of your balance between optimism and realism.

REMEMBER: When you maintain this attitude of approachability, people will respond to, and have more respect for you.

LET ME SUGGEST THIS: How are you branding your honesty? Are you willing to take the lead with your integrity and become someone others can be vulnerable in front of?

2. Leverage the current economic crisis as an outreach opportunity. The word “crisis” comes from the Latin krisis, which means “turning point.”

Huh. That’s interesting.

Maybe the challenge is to start saying yes to what IS.

Maybe you need to accept the reality of this crappy economy and start taking massive, immediate action to ease the posture of your customers.

Here are two suggestions for leveraging this crisis:

o Call everyone. Literally. Next week, take a FULL DAY to personally call every single one of your customers. See how they’re doing. See how they’re handling the tough economy. Reassure them that, notwithstanding layoffs and declining profits, the world is not going to implode. Then, find out what you can do to help them grow THEIR business. You’ll make their day.

o Write everyone. When the stock market started to (seriously) tank in late 2008, my financial planner sent me a personal letter explaining three things:

(1) A simple summary of current market conditions – written in a way that even a mathematical moron like myself could understand
(2) A reassurance that no matter what happened, she would handle my assets ethically, professionally and wisely; and finally
(3) A standing invitation for a personal meeting at her office to explain anything further.

How many people do you think I showed that letter to?

I wonder how many of your customers are showing YOUR letters to THEIR friends?

REMEMBER: In the midst of crisis, your coolness, honesty and accessibility CAN have the power to support and reassure your customers. But only if you leverage it properly.

LET ME ASK YA THIS: What will you use the current economic situation as a turning point for? How will leverage the slow times to kill two stones with one bird?

At this point, I challenge you to pick a few of the strategies from this list that work best for you. Customize your visibility plan according to your unique skills and passions. And keep in mind those three crucial words…

Anonymity is bankruptcy.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
How are you elevating your visibility?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "101 Ways to Create a Powerful Web Presence," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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