Sunday, April 28, 2013

It Doesn’t Happen By Clicking Your Ruby Slippers

Have you spent any time lately on building awareness of all the great work you do?  (I can actually hear the crickets.) Hmmm...that’s what I thought.  

While so many of us are good at working hard (my closest colleagues are some of the biggest martyrs I know), we often fall short when it comes to working smart—especially when it comes to promoting our own brand.  Professional recognition, from business awards to executive profiles to placements on corporate or community boards, is a great way to increase your personal visibility and brand awareness.

Tell Your Story
The most recognized leaders of our time all have one thing in common:  they passionately believe in their work.  They communicate it.  They tell and promote their story.  And, the next day, they get up and do it all over again.  Whether you are a corporate exec or entrepreneur, make sure you learn how to tell your story really well.  Practice it on family and friends to start.  Say it to the mirror in the morning.  Write about it.  Record it.  Once you fully believe in yourself and can share your story with others, the more likely they will help tell and share your story.  What’s your story? How do you differentiate yourself? 

Ask For What You Want
Pam Jeffrey, president and CEO of the Jeffery Group and founder of the Women’s Executive Network (WXN) Top 100 Most Powerful Women Awards believes women should ask for what they want.  Whether that means nominating yourself or asking a colleague to nominate you for an award, you need to proactively go after it.  On many occasions, you will be surprised on how many women are willing to help.  So if you want to be recognized, go for it.  Don’t be shy.

Teach & Mentor – Pay it Forward
Sometimes the best way to gain professional klout is to teach what you know to others.  Look for guest lecturing opportunities at local universities or speak at your professional association’s monthly luncheon.  Sometimes the best way to get recognition is to get away from your office, company and usual lunch buddies.  It’s often the people that you DON’T work with everyday that recognize your greatest talents.  And whatever you, don’t forget to help others along the way.   Proactively reward good work.  Be a role model for encouraging people’s natural talents. 

Be Authentic
Lastly, be authentic in all you do.  The worst thing you can do is to try and be something that you are not.   You won’t be able to pull it off and others won’t believe it.  Make sure your story is unique to you and showcases your passion for what you do.  Then, get out there and promote it.  Go ahead, stop waiting for those magic ruby slippers (and the wand, of course) and go out and tell your story.  Celebrate you. 

Melissa Murphy is marketing and business planning consultant that works primarily with female entrepreneurs and small business owners.  Previous clients include Charlie the Tuna and Morris the Cat.  She is also a graduate student at Northwestern University. Follow her at @melissamurphyco.  

For more tips, see Ten ways for women to raise their professional profiles.

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