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FREE Audio Program by Brian Tracy

Gaining Visibility
By Brian Tracy

Have you noticed that some workers receive more promotions and greater pay than do their colleagues do, even though they are apparently not as competent or as capable as their colleagues are? This doesn't seem fair.

Why should some people get ahead when others who seem to be working far harder, and even longer hours, get passed over for promotion and the additional rewards that go with it?

The fact is that to be a great success, it is important not only to be good at what you do, but also to be perceived as being good at what you do. Human beings are creatures of perception. It is not what they see but what they think they see that determines how they think and act.

If your coworker is perceived as being more promotable than you are, for whatever reasons, then it is very likely that your coworker will get additional responsibilities and more money, even though you know that you could do a better job, if given the chance.

Fortunately, however, there are several things that you can do to increase your visibility and accelerate the speed at which you move ahead in your career.

The starting point to attain high visibility is to develop competence. Determine what parts of your job are most important to your boss and to your company, and then make the decision to become very good in those areas. You must be perceived as being very competent at what you do; your future depends on it.

That perception alone will bring you to the attention of more people faster than you can imagine. The perception of excellent performance will open up opportunities for greater responsibilities, higher pay and better positions. Becoming good at what you do should be the foundation of your strategy for gaining higher visibility and rapid advancement in your career.

Employers everywhere are looking for men and women of action, people who will get in there and get the job done right as soon as possible. When you develop a reputation for competence and capability, you quickly become visible to all the key people in your working environment.

Excellence at what you do is essential, but it's not enough.  There are additional elements that go into the perception that others have of you. And one of the most important elements is your overall image, from head to toe. How you appear to others makes a real difference.

A recent survey of personnel executives found that the decision to hire or not to hire is made in the first 30 seconds. Many people believe that the decision to accept or reject a job candidate is actually made in the first four seconds.

Many capable men and women are disqualified from job opportunities because they simply do not look the part.  There are many elements of your life over which you have no control and which you cannot choose. But your external dress and appearance are totally a matter of personal preference.  Through their choice of clothes, their grooming and their overall appearance, individuals deliberately make a statement about the kind of people they are.

The way you look on the outside is a representation of the way you see yourself on the inside. If you have a positive, professional self-image, you will take pains to make your external appearance consistent with it.

It's a good idea to dress the way the senior people in your company dress. Dress for the position two jobs above your own. Since people judge you largely by the way you look on the outside, be sure to look thoroughly professional.

Consequently, the perception of the people who can help you in your career will be positive. They will open doors for you in ways that you cannot now imagine.

Another powerful way to increase your visibility is to join one or two professional associations connected with your business or field. Begin by attending meetings as a guest to carefully assess whether or not a professional association can be of value to you.

Determine if the members are the kind of people you would like to know and are well-established in their careers. Then, if you have decided that becoming known to the key people in this association can advance your career, take out a membership and get involved.

Most people who join any club or association do little more than attend the regular meetings. For some reason, they are too busy to assist with the various things that need to get done. This is not for you. Your job is to pick a key committee and volunteer for service.

Find out which committee seems to be the most active and the most influential in that organization, and then step up to the plate. Volunteer your time, expertise and energy, and get busy. Attend every meeting. Take careful notes. Ask for assignments, and complete them on time and in an excellent fashion.

In each case, you have an opportunity to perform for other key people in your profession in a non-threatening environment. You give them a chance to see what you can do and what kind of a person you are. You expand your range of valuable contacts in one of the most effective ways possible in America today.

The people you get to know on these committees can eventually be extremely helpful to you in your work and in your career.

Also, join a well-known charitable organization, such as the United Way, and become active by donating your services to its annual fund-raising programs. You may not be wealthy now, but you do have time, and your willingness to give of yourself will soon be noticed by people who are higher up.

Many men and women with limited contacts and limited resources have risen to positions of great prominence as the result of getting to know the key community leaders who participate in charitable organizations and professional associations.

Some years ago, I joined a statewide chamber of commerce and volunteered to work on its Economic Education Committee. As usual, very few of the members contributed any time or effort to the committee, so there was always lots of work for those few people who were willing to put in the effort.

Within one year, I was speaking at the annual convention for this association. The audience was composed of some of the most influential business executives in the entire state. In the following year, I was invited to give a key briefing to the governor and his aides at the state capitol.

I became so well-known in the business community that within six months, I was offered a position to run a new company at triple my former salary. It all came from becoming active in the chamber of commerce and becoming known to the other members. About three years later, I volunteered to work with the United Way and had a very similar experience. In fact, my whole business life was changed because of my involvement in helping that charitable organization in its annual fund-raising drive.

It's amazing how far and how fast you will go when you begin to give your time and energy to others on a volunteer basis.  It's one of the fastest ways up the ladder of success in America.

There are many other things that you can do to increase your visibility - things that don't occur to most people. For example, a study of 105 chief executive officers concluded that there were two qualities that would put a person onto the fast track in his or her career.

The first quality was the ability to set priorities, to separate the relevant from the irrelevant when facing the many tasks of the day. The second quality was a sense of urgency, the ability to get the job done fast.

Managers place very high value on a person who can set priorities and move quickly to get the job finished.  Dependability in job completion is one of the most valued traits in the American work force.

When your employer can hand you a job and then walk away and never worry about it again, you have moved yourself onto the fast track, and your subsequent promotion and pay are virtually guaranteed. Another way to increase your visibility is to continually upgrade your work-related skills, and to make sure that your superiors know about it.

Look for additional courses you can take to improve at your job, and discuss them with your boss. Ask him or her to pay for the courses, but make it clear that you're going to take them anyway.

A young woman who worked for me was able to double her salary in less than six months by aggressively learning the computer, bookkeeping and accounting skills she needed as our company grew. And she was worth every penny.

Ask your boss for book and audio program recommendations.  Then follow up by reading and listening to them and asking for further recommendations. Bosses are very impressed with people who are constantly striving to learn more in order to increase their value to their companies. Doing this regularly can really accelerate your career.

Finally, you'll be more visible if you develop a Positive Mental Attitude. People like to be around and to promote people they like.

A consistent, persistent attitude of cheerfulness and optimism is quickly noticed by everybody. When you make an effort to cultivate an attitude of friendliness toward people, they, in return, will go to extraordinary efforts to open doors for you.

In summary, here are the five keys to increasing your visibility so that you can be more successful, faster in your career:

1. Become excellent at the important things that you have been hired to do. Excellence in your chosen occupation is the primary stepping-stone to higher positions and better pay.

2. Look, act and dress the part. Become knowledgeable about styles, colors and fabrics. Dress the way senior people in your company dress. Never take anything for granted.  Remember that in the area of image, "casualness brings casualties."

3. Develop your contacts, both inside and outside the company. Always be looking for ways to give of your time and effort, as an investment, so that others will be willing to give of their time and effort to help you sometime in the future.

The most successful men and women in any community are those who are known by the greatest number of other successful people. Begin with your professional association or club, and join a local charity that you care about and that also has a prestigious board of directors.

4. Take additional courses to upgrade your skills, and make sure that everyone knows about it. Ask your boss for book and audio program recommendations. Then read and listen, and go back to your boss with your comments on what you've learned and to ask for further recommendations.

When your boss feels that you are eager to learn and grow, often he'll become a mentor to you and will help you up the ladder of success. This process of being mentored, or guided, has been instrumental to the careers of many successful executives in America.

5. Be positive, cheerful and helpful. Be the kind of person other people want to see get ahead. Treat other people with friendliness and patience, and always have a good word to say to the people you work with.

In the final analysis, taking the time to become an excellent human being will do more to raise your visibility and improve your chances for promotion than will any other single thing that you can do. And you can do it if you really want to.


Brian Tracy is one of the world's leading authorities on personal and business success. His fast-moving talks and seminars on leadership, sales, managerial effectiveness and business strategy are loaded with powerful, proven ideas and strategies that people can apply immediately to get better results in every area. Visit Brian Tracy Home Page and get his free e-mail newsletter!


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