How to Make Yourself “Visible"

How to Make Yourself “Visible"

October 29, 2014

A recent Fast Company article highlighted the female duo, Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, authors of Darling, You Can't Do Both. Kestin and Vonk feel that women will go further at work by putting more effort into "visibility," and offer some useful tips that retail dietitians can apply to increase success both in and out of the spotlight. Here’s what they have to say.

To many idealists out there, there is an unfortunate truth about climbing the ladder: it’s not always a meritocracy. In an ideal world Kestin and Vonk say (via Fast Company) that, “for example, those who do their jobs really well would steadily climb the ladder with ever-bigger paychecks, ever-greater recognition and the perks. But a lot of us, especially women [RDBA editorial note: navigating a fairly new role in some stores] are still waiting for the right things to happen in the wake of all our hard work, and noticing a whole lot of nothing is going on. So here are some steps you can take right now to get what you want given that, it’s not always fair."

The duo goes on to say that, “You can be very good at your job, maybe even the best of all your peers, but if you think the boss is showing up with good news solely based on your excellent performance, you could be waiting a very long time for the pay increase or promotion you think you deserve. That mindset most likely means you’ll keep watching others get that new title. While there are everyday injustices you can’t do much about, there’s something you can do that will make a dramatic difference to your career progress. Make your work more visible - to your boss, management, your shoppers, and your dietitian peers.  Like it or not, visibility is one of the most fundamental ways to be perceived as highly valuable.”

Ways to Become More “visible" - Four Tangible Tipes From Kestin and Vonk via Fast Company:

  1. Offer to lead a meeting or take a public speaking opportunity that challenges you. Many women are uncomfortable speaking up in a meeting unless they’re 100 percent sure of what they have to say. So they hold back, assuming that’s the smart move. Men operate differently. They just roll with it. If they’re reasonably sure, they’ll state an opinion. And if they’re wrong, well, people make mistakes. They can always correct themselves later, and move on. This is a great mindset to have, but of course as always, think before you speak!
  2. Be prepared, even if it’s just for a meeting. It’s a step that should be obvious but most of us fall well short of having really thought through what we’re going to say in that meeting or high-pressure moment. Write it out, say it out loud, boil it down to bullet points. Speak with your notes several times. Grab a trusted co-worker to listen before you deliver it. Refine again. Now you’re ready and you will be much calmer for having put the effort into it.
  3. Take a power pose. What’s that? Advice from social psychologist Amy Cuddy says that certain body positions release good chemicals in your brain that make you calm. For example, the Wonder Woman pose, or pretend you are a runner crossing the finish line in victory (arms up, head thrown back, big grin), you’ll feel less anxious and more prepared. Choose somewhere private, even the ladies room will do. When in the meeting sit tall and let others feel your presence; don’t cross your legs and slouch as this is a much less powerful and confident body position.
  4. Pretend you are at improv and an actor. Sure you might have been media trained, but sometimes being comfortable in front of a group or management takes lots of practice. Taking improv classes, or acting classes, may not sound like your cup of tea but can definitely make you feel more confident, more at ease to tackle challenges as they arise, and help you feel more relaxed generally – which helps get your point across even better.

Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk are the cofounders of Swim, a creative leadership training lab that works with people in advertising, marketing, technology, and beyond to create fearless leaders. Their latest book, Darling, You Can’t Do Both, (And Other Noise to Ignore On Your Way Up is a career guide for women in any industry and at every level. Vonk and Kestin were previously the co-chief creative officers of Ogilvy Toronto, the agency behind Dove "Evolution" and other famous work for Shreddies, Maxwell House, and more.

For more, and the original Fast Company article, click here.