Tomorrow I will moderate a panel at the Georgetown Law Women’s Forum where we will talk about not being too humble and making yourself visible. It is sure to be another “must be there” day, and I hope to see many of my Hoya Law alumni there again this year.
Being visible involves a lot more than taking up space and having a corporal presence. It means making the people who matter to your upward mobility aware of you. Making those people think of you in a good way as often as possible should be your goal.
You never want to be one of those people who hears, “Oh, I just never think of you for that spot … for that job … for that award … for that (fill in the blank).” That is disappointing, and it will haunt you for a long time. Opportunities lost are hard to let go.
But, being visible does not just happen naturally. It happens because you make it hard for people not to think of you. “Out of sight and out of mind” works for little kids trying to raid the cookie jar, but it will not enhance your professional career. YOU want to be caught being visible.
It is simple. You have to stop being the “Office of No.” You have to stop saying “no” to everything because you are too busy hiding behind your computer and billing hours. Those impressive hours billed alone will not get you where you want to go. They are a good foundation, but it takes more.
It takes going to the networking event — if only for awhile. If you have to cut the evening short, make every minute there count. Exchange cards, exchange professional information, and make mental notes for follow-up. Then, be sure to follow up with the kind of networking that I address in my books and have blogged on here before.
I takes reaching out by e-mail for no other reason than to say “How are you?” In most cases, you get the predictable back, “Fine, you?” But, there is that one outside chance that you will trigger a memory or spark an idea in someone who could change your career and your life. You will have been visible at just the right moment — when a great business opportunity arises.
Sallie Krawcheck, business woman extraordinaire, talks about these concepts, and she always makes so much sense. If you want to read about a woman who talks the talk and also walks the walk, Google her. She has taken 85 Broads and repackaged it into Ellevate, and she is investing in businesses with significant numbers of women in leadership and management. Sallie Krawcheck — Smith Barney, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch and Citi — knows how to be visible.
You need to know it, too.