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5 5-Minute Ways to Get Noticed at Work (by the People Who Matter)

You’re good at your job. And on top of that, you’re conscientious, polite, and deadline-oriented. You show up on time every day. Your long-term professional goals are well-defined, and you work toward them consistently.

But, surrounded by similarly high-achieving colleagues, these attributes may not be enough to make you stand out—especially if you’re employed by a large organization.

You may think you have to brainstorm news initiatives or overhaul old systems to get noticed. But small actions can be impactful, too—in a fraction of the time. Here are five options to that you can try today:

1. Offer to Take on New Projects

Lending a helping hand—before someone has to ask you—makes you look proactive and team-oriented. So, instead of waiting to possibly be recruited for additional responsibilities, offer to take them on at the get-go.

Don’t let the fact that it’s not your project or your usual team get in your way. If you need to learn new skills, all the better. Stretching yourself helps you build experience and increases your value within the company.

Make the Offer

“Hi [Co-worker’s Name]. I noticed I have some free time in my schedule this week. Are there any projects I can lend a hand on?”

2. Provide a Specific Example

Providing specific examples shows that you’re actively engaged and can help you make your points. For example, when you skip “Great job, earlier,” in favor of “I thought the additional point you made about the marketing strategy was really insightful,” it proves you were listening.

Additionally, when presenting an idea to a colleague or boss, referencing specific examples in your conversation shows that you’ve given the issue serious thought and considered the idea’s real-world impact.

Explain Your Point

“I think doing this would be especially helpful when employees have to [insert company process or procedure here] and could help [insert example of how your idea would impact a regular daily event].”

3. Speak Up at Company Meetings

You may not always have specific examples or data that jumps to mind. That’s OK. The willingness to put yourself out—and say something—carries enormous weight. Not only that, but simply speaking up is likely to make your attendance more memorable. (Assuming, of course, that you’re adding to the conversation and not being a distraction or repetitive.)

Feel free to offer your own opinions, and if you’re stuck on something new to say to add, amplify a co-worker’s point by agreeing.

Add on

“I agree with [Co-worker’s Name] idea to modify the reporting model. I think what we’re doing now has been effective, but there may be a more efficient way to get this done.*

4. Get in the Mindset to Hear Constructive Feedback

Constructive is the operative word here. Criticism stings, so it’s human nature to initially fear or turn away from it.

But to identify areas for growth, you’ll need to listen instead. Then ask yourself—honestly—if there’s any merit to the other person’s points.

For example, if you were told you haven’t been meeting deadlines, you could objectively look back and see that, yes, you have blown through the last three out of four due dates. That recognition’s the first step in resolving that issue. From there, you could set calendar reminders, start the work early, and plan micro-deadlines to stay on track.

Remind Yourself

“Feedback’s going to help me identify areas for growth so I can keep excelling at my job. I’m capable of hearing the other person out and not getting defensive.”

5. Improve Your Emails

Any time you’re preparing to submit an email, ask yourself if there’s anything that could be better. I’m not talking about actually including the attachment and proofing it for typos. Those steps are great, and I bet you already do them. (Not so sure? Here’s a reminder of the basic email rules.)

But spend these find minutes making it better overall: Is it clear what the purpose of that document is? Is all the appropriate information there? Is anything missing?

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to quickly decide if more details need to be added, or if you’re good to go.

Ask Yourself

“If I was receiving this, what else would I want to know?”

As you read each of these ideas, you may’ve noted that following through on them—actually completing that project you offered to help with, making changes based on feedback—will take more than five minutes. But that’s a good thing. Often the hardest part is getting started, and each of these steps make a good impression—and give you a launch point to do even better.

It will take effort. But your readiness to go above and beyond at work effectively changes the game and ups your ante!


Source: 5-Minute Ways to Get Noticed at Work (by the People Who Matter)

This CEO’s Trick for Building Stronger Relationships Is So Easy That You Can Pull it Off Too

If you love learning from successful people, you already know common habits they point to, like:

But there’s another one to add to the list—that I doubt you’ve heard 100 times already: Send birthday cards to everyone you work with.

ccording to Chris Weller of Business Insider, Sheldon Yellen, the CEO of BELFOR Holdings, Inc., credits writing birthday cards (7,400 annually) for building a strong rapport with his employees and contributing to “a more compassionate, gracious workplace.”

When it you think about it, this strategy makes total sense, because in the words of Claude Silver Chief Heart Officer at VaynerMedia, people want to “bring their whole selves to work,” and that means sharing more than progress on a to-do list with the people around them.

But, while this may be what we want, it can be hard to connect with colleagues on a level other than “Here’s that part of the report you needed…” No one’s trying to be rude, but it’s easy to get wrapped up, especially if you’re busy. And as one deadline rolls into the next, you realize that your work relationships all feel pretty transactional.

That’s where writing birthday cards come in. First, every single one of your colleagues has one, so you don’t run this risk of leaving people out. The dates may already be noted in your database or a shared worksheet, and if not, you can send an email around to your teammates asking them to share their birthday if they’re comfortable doing that.

Second, take the next step and buy a box of cards to leave in your desk. That way, when someone’s big day rolls around, you can quickly write a handwritten note (learn more about why this makes a difference to the other person).

For you, it won’t be that much more effort, but to the other person, it’ll feel like you went out of your way to do something thoughtful.

If you’re a loss for words, just fill in this template:

Dear [Name],

Happy Birthday!

I enjoyed getting to know you better over the course of [project]./ I’m excited to work together on [initiative]./ I always look forward to [your thoughtful contributions to meetings/our discussions of [favorite team]].

Hope you have a great day!
[Your Name]

Like Yellen, you should notice a chain reaction. Your co-workers will know you care enough to remember them for something that isn’t work-related. In turn, they’ll thank you for the card, and it’ll open the door to discussing more than progress updates.

Above all, keep in mind that this strategy can help anyone build stronger relationships. You don’t have to be the CEO. In fact, as Muse columnist Erica Breuer shares, sending birthday cards is a great way for remote workers to stay connected to their colleagues, too.

So, if you’re looking for looking for an easy to build stronger relationships, buy some birthday cards. Let me know if you try this strategy out and if it works for you on Twitter.

ource: CEO’s Trick for Building Stronger Relationships Is So Easy That You Can Pull it Off Too

10 Career Coaches on the 10 Best Ways to Get the Raise You Deserve

You know it’s time. You’ve been anticipating this conversation for weeks now. The meeting’s on the calendar, and there’s no backing out now—not that you’d want to. No, you want this raise. You deserve this. You’re ready for this.

Deep breath. Your boss isn’t going to bite. Or will she?

Not if you’re as prepared as possible, as confident as can be, and as accomplished in your role as anyone deserving of a raise ought to be.

Still, it’s not unusual to feel nervous and anxious about the prospect. Even if you’re uber-prepared, perfectly confident, and thoroughly self-aware of how your achievements have helped the company, it’s downright daunting. I reached out to 10 career coaches to get their very best advice on conquering this conversation.

1. Ask on Behalf of Your Organization

When you want a raise, frame it in a way that benefits the company, not you. This’ll show that you value the competitiveness of the company more than your personal gain.


Avery Blank


2. Play it Out in Your Head

Visualize the conversation. Imagine yourself sharing results-based information. Envision yourself talking to your boss about your ability to proactively problem-solve, explaining the value you’ve added to the business (increased revenue/sales/headcount, driven efficiencies, dollars saved, process improvements, etc.). Draft a proposal, and use it as your script. Practice makes perfect—and doing it will prepare you for the real thing.


Joyel Crawford


3. Practice Your Power Pose

Think of a particularly confident and powerful role model. Channel that person—in your posture, tone of voice, and word choice—as you prepare for the meeting. The assurance you demonstrate in your body language is as important as what words you use.


Annie Nogg


4. Connect the Dots

You want to show how your achievements have helped the organization on its path to succeed. Did your research help the company expand into a new marketplace? Did a project you led increase your team’s efficiency? Did your work help to deepen customer loyalty or enhance internal communication? Having critical data like this will add credibility to your request and give you the necessary support you need to make your case.


Loren Margolis


5. Develop an Alter Ego

One slightly unusual yet fun way to get over your anxiety of asking for a raise is to develop a persona or alter ego. Imagine how you would act if you were able to put all of your fears and inhibitions aside in a salary conversation with your boss: How would you carry yourself? What would you say? You can also think about how your favorite career hero or mentor might approach asking for a raise. What would this successful person do or say in a similarly difficult conversation?


Melody Wilding


6. Know the Market

The best way to ask for a raise is to validate your request with support based on the market. That means talking to people who’ve done your job at similar companies, people who hire for your role, or even colleagues who you’re close with. It’s the best way to know what the market rate is for your role and to ask for it with confidence.


Alexandra Dickinson


7. Respond Appropriately to Objections

Identify every possible objection that could possibly be raised by your manager, then devise responses that eliminate them. This means reviewing past performance evaluations and making sure that any concern or issue has been fixed or remedied. This means knowing the salary range of people in similar positions across your industry so you can ask for what you deserve. This means not putting your head down and sulking if your raise is denied. It means directly asking what would need to happen in the next three to six months for you to get the raise. Once you know, do exactly what you’re told, get results, and them hold them accountable.


Antonio Neves


8. Avoid Being Emotional

When walking into your meeting, don’t bring in subjective, emotional reasons you deserve a raise. Instead, come forward with measurable results. Think about the dollars, the percentages, and the numbers you have either saved or made for the company. Think about what your measurable performance goals are—how did you stack up? Lay it out there! Finally, avoid saying, “I think.” Infuse your reasons with confidence and get used to the phrase, “I know,” which is far more powerful.


Emily Liou


9. Focus on Data

Take some time to walk through the work you’ve achieved on behalf of the company and what impact it’s had. The more results and data focused, the better. If you’ve reduced time-to-hire, that’s money you’ve saved the organization. If you’ve increased followers on social media, that’s another big win worth noting. Arm yourself with information and remind yourself of how badass you truly are. It makes having these conversations a lot easier to give yourself that confidence boost.


Kelly Poulson


10. Think Deserve—Not Need

Preparation is the best way to calm your nerves and help you feel pumped up when asking for a raise. In order to do this you’ll need to have a clear understanding of what you ‘deserve’ not what you ‘need’ or would like. Come with the understanding of the value you bring above and beyond the role so that you’ll be able to communicate why exactly you deserve more money.


Ryan Kahn

Source: Career Coaches on the 10 Best Ways to Get the Raise You Deserve

Thinking Like an Entrepreneur within the Corporate Walls

The words entrepreneur and corporation don’t usually show up in the same sentence. One implies a taste for creative and risk-taking, while the other usually suggests “we’ve always done it this way” risk aversion.

But “out-of-the-box” thinking is more necessary than ever in today’s marketplace, as corporations respond to changes in the world economy. Professionals working within corporations are being increasingly rewarded for using entrepreneurial skills to meet challenges in innovative ways.

Janet, for example, pioneered an integrated system at the corporation she works for that gathers and compiles data from around the company for executives to use in their decision-making. It has evolved into a necessary part of data management for the corporation worldwide.

Shahril suggested and took on the challenge of merging three products from three previously separate divisions within the multinational corporation where he works. By bringing these products under one umbrella, the organization realized a cost savings of nearly five million ringgit a year.

Intrinsic in these real-life corporate examples are characteristics normally attributed to “intrapreneurs,” a term defined as, “A person within a large corporation who takes direct responsibility for turning an idea into a profitable finished product through assertive risk-taking and innovation.”

Professionals with an entrepreneurial bent—intrapreneurs—feel a degree of ownership, take risks, make decisions and take responsibility willingly. Intrapreneurs are visionary and independent. They thrive on change, but they also know how the changes they want align with their company’s objectives. They have good communications skills, and a high sense of curiosity and self-worth.

Their mindset is more of creating a business than running a business. Intrapreneurs definitely don’t buy into the “It’s not my job” way of thinking, and they are more concerned with achieving results than gaining influence.

Successful corporate intrapreneurs understand that it’s not enough to have a good idea. They also have to know how to get their ideas sold in the organization. Sometimes, those with innovative ideas have a hard time articulating and selling their ideas because of self-imposed boundaries or limitations. This is usually where mentoring comes in and can be of great benefit to these individuals.

Intrapreneurs benefit from their “find-a-way-to-get-it-done” attitude in the form of praise, promotionsand increased job satisfaction. They see how they can make a contribution and bring value—playing in the game, rather than sitting on the sidelines.

For the organization, when individual barriers to performance are removed, retention, productivity and profits go up. Commitment and company loyalty surface; so does innovation and creative problem-solving. An infectious intrapreneurialism begins to take hold, which attracts even more intrapreneurially minded management.

In one example, the CEO of a local tech company realized that 95% of his corporate assets left the building every night in the form of his employees. Protecting his assets became a priority. He created an environment that appealed to the needs of his employees: games room, social work, day care center, cafeteria and a gym. The result? Turnover was a mere 3% instead of the 20% most corporations traditionally experience. People had fewer days off. These two aspects alone saved his company millions. He saw company profits increase even during slower economic times.

Most corporate cultures do not foster an environment of trust or safety for presenting new ideas. Add to that the stress of deadlines, cutbacks, and communication difficulties, and it’s easy to send the wrong message. The coaching and mentoring process provides a safe haven to explore and position new ideas. Having the opportunity to evaluate a new idea, understand its impact to the organization and role-play how to best present it for buy-in, is crucial for creating solutions that benefit the corporation and its employees.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Top 10 Ways to Get the Job

In his book Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters, Jay Conrad Levinson suggests that getting the job you want is not a matter of luck, connections or the best resume. “At the core of every job search lies one individual who will determine your success: You.”  Here are some tips for creating your own job-hunting success.

  1. Tune up your attitude. Keep your focus on how you can add value to the organization. Self-assess to get clear on what you want and what you have to offer.
  2. Research. This is critical! Research the industry and companies. Know the needs and goals.
  3. Target your networking. Don’t wait for others to refer your name; make the introduction yourself after speaking to current and past employees or industry colleagues.
  4. Prepare for your interview. Anticipate questions, prepare your responses. Keep the focus on how your skills and experience will solve problems.
  5. Listen more than talk. Ask thoughtful, powerful questions that show you know the industry/company/department and its needs.
  6. Return to the value proposition. Keep conversations coming back to the company’s goals and how you can contribute to them.
  7. Look to your body language. Have an “open” posture. Lean forward, make eye contact and smile naturally. This language speaks volumes.
  8. Ask to do a demonstration. Come in for a day, or work briefly as an independent contractor or consultant. Sometimes it’s better to show than just tell.
  9. Cultivate a can-do attitude. Show past work examples of being a problem-solver and a smart worker.
  10. Send a thank-you note. Make sure it’s personal and interesting. Handwritten is a bonus.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Developing Awesome Presentation Skills

What’s the difference between a dry lecture and dynamic presentation?

Whether you’re delivering a speech, conducting a workshop, presenting a new product idea or leading a teleclass, the answer is still the same: interaction.

When speaking, the goal is to connect to your audience in a personal way so your message will have more of an impact. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to constantly ask questions and aggressively involve your listeners verbally. What it does mean, however, is that you have to build a rapport with them. Although this is developed partially by the verbal content of your presentation, a good portion of it comes from less obvious—and often nonverbal—elements. Below is a list of ways to build rapport…while still being discreet about it.

  • Start off with a bang. Begin your presentation with an interesting introduction. Introductions warm up an audience not only to your topic, but to you as a speaker as well. It’s useful to view your introduction as a snapshot of what a listener can expect from the rest of your presentation. First impressions are powerful, so make the most of yours.
  • Speak to “one” person. When speaking to a group, it’s easy to get impersonal. To avoid this, imagine you’re speaking to only one person at a time. Powerful presenters have a way of making each listener feel spoken to directly.
  • Make eye contact. It’s pretty basic stuff. If you look people in the eye, you connect with them more directly. Of course, if you’re delivering your presentation or leading a class over the phone or Internet, your voice will have to convey this element of “I see you.”
  • Control your speed. Although it’s obvious advice, it’s easy to forget when you’re nervous: don’t talk too fast or too slowly. Talking too fast will make you appear uneasy, and listeners won’t be able to catch everything you say. Talking too slowly makes you appear boring and dull… yawn! Try to find that middle ground where your natural personality is free to express itself.
  • Shake it up. Vary the volume and rate of your speech—appropriate to your point, of course. When we talk to our friends one-on- one, we naturally vary these elements as our emotions and emphases shift. If you do this in your presentation, you’ll come across as more human. And more interesting.
  • Don’t be afraid to pause. The strategic use of pauses can make a point more dramatic and interesting to listen to, and as a result, more memorable.
  • Humor always helps. Although you’re aiming for a professional image, who says professionals shouldn’t laugh? If you can make a joke (a funny one only!) or tell a humorous anecdote, go for it. Humor is the ultimate magnet in that it makes you more “real” and likeable.
  • It’s about them, not you. Instead of simply conveying information and the things you do (explaining features), couch this information in the form of a benefit. In other words, make it clear how it will make a positive difference in your listener’s life.

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications.

Credibility: A Critical Foundation of Leadership

“If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”  — Jim Kouzes, co-author of Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It

When people trust and believe in you as a leader, they’ll follow you far and without much question. But without credibility, that critical foundation of leadership, you face an uphill battle, because you’ll have the extra strain of trying to pull people along with you. And whether you’re the one pulling or the one being pulled, pretty soon you’re both weary and ready to give up.

Credibility stands on three legs: expertise, trustworthiness and integrity.

Expertise is an objective judgment, determined by such things as your credentials, your rank in the company and your prior accomplishments.

Trustworthiness is a subjective judgment, formed over time from a person’s experience interacting with you. Do you do what you say you’re going to do? Do you know what you say you know? How does it feel to work for you?

Integrity is another subjective judgment, formed over time from a person’s observations of you. Do you walk your talk, or do you say one thing and do another? Are you honest? Do you admit and take responsibility for your mistakes?

You may think you have a pretty good sense of your credibility among your team members, but what are they really thinking?

One of the best ways to truly know how people are experiencing, observing and judging you as a leader is to conduct a 360° assessment. Named for the 360 degrees of a circle, this type of assessment measures your performance from the perspective of everyone you work with, including your direct reports.

It takes courage to enter into this process. You may not like everything you hear, and it may highlight some things that need changing. And that’s exactly why bringing credibility issues to the surface is such a crucial matter.

On the other hand, you may be doing most everything right, but your credibility in the eyes of your team members is still not where it needs to be. The most likely cause is that they don’t see what you’re doing.

In this case, it’s time to become more visible in the organization. Turn your office into a fishbowl and reveal what’s been going on behind closed doors. Then, get more involved and aware of what everyone else is working on. Practice “management by walking around,” a very successful Hewlett-Packard strategy.

A 360° assessment will reveal how credible you are in the eyes of your team. Then you’ll have the opportunity to improve that rating. It’s not enough to have the expertise and credentials. Your team members need to observe and experience your trustworthiness and integrity for themselves. So open up the office door more often, and get out and interact with people more. Show them you’re someone they can believe in.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

5 Keys to Effective Communication

Remember the telephone game you played when you were little? Someone would whisper a sentence into the ear of the person next to her. That person would then pass the comment to the person next to her. The secret was whispered along to each person in the line until it reached the last person… who’d then announce what she thought was the original whispered sentence.

The end message was always completely different from the original, got huge laughs at its crazy endings and clearly showed how communication can go awry!

What’s NOT funny, however, is when ineffective communication leads to errors, wasted time, team conflict, broken relationships, even business failure.

Below are five important keys to communication — written or verbal — that leads to success, not strife, in your business and in your personal life, as well.

1. Choose your words wisely.

Whether writing or speaking, communicating involves taking a bit of time to think about what you’re going to say. Will the listener understand what you’re saying? Or will it be misinterpreted?

Take responsibility for how you will be understood and do the best you can to communicate in a way that improves the odds for clear understanding.

2. Listen to what others say.

Pay attention to the person with whom you’re conversing or to the presenter at a conference. If you find yourself formulating a response or an answer rather than listening to the person who’s speaking, then you’re likely to miss the real opportunities of the conversation.

Better to listen fully, take it in and then respond. If necessary, you can ask to have the question or statement repeated before you respond. And it can be helpful to restate what you heard before giving your response.

3. Consider your tone, inflection and body language.

When you speak, make sure that the tone of your voice is not “saying” something different from the “words” that are coming from your mouth. For instance, if you’re paying a compliment or making a sales presentation about an exciting new product, but you’re frowning or not meeting eyes with your audience, your message may be taken differently from your intent.

Further, if you are being spoken to, stand with your arms at your side or on the table. Or, you might sit with your hands in your lap. If your arms are crossed, you give a vibe that you’re “closed in” or are not receptive to the conversation.

4. Write less, say more.

Most of us communicate these days using email, Skype, instant message and the like. While these methods are a valid means, particularly because they serve as a keeper of records, they sometimes lose some of their effectiveness because you can’t see the body language or hear the tone of voice. Inferences can be made that you don’t intend.

Thus, it’s important to take the time to formulate your email with care, especially since once it’s gone from your fingers, your communication is forevermore view-able.

5. Know when to stop!

Especially with electronic communication, less is better. But the same is also true for verbal communication. The more succinct and to the point your communication is—without being abrupt or unfriendly—the more effective it’s likely to be.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications.

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