Who you know is certainly one of the secrets to getting ahead within a medium-sized business, but especially so at a large corporation. Just as important, who knows YOU. Certainly you can get around and glad hand and say hello to everybody, but that just isn’t enough. The powers that be, the managers who make the decisions about who to hire, fire, and to promote are the ones who need to know you. They, too, can never get around to everyone in the company so they expect a bit of initiative from employees to help by making some effort to shine, rise, and stand above the rest of the crowd. Like everything else inside companies, there is a way to finesse this sort of thing.
Years ago, I discovered there was an art to publicity. Before we get to that, just to be crystal clear, the only essential difference between advertising and publicity is the fee charged for the communications space. With publicity you typically don’t buy advertising space. Typically publicity is so interesting and so compelling that editors want to use the material much as they would a news release or breaking news story. And that is your first hint.
Publicity, whether you are doing it for a product, a company, a politician, or anything or anyone else must first of all be interesting and must appeal to the reader, (called your target audience). That appeal may be an interesting story or a newsworthy item or theme or slant. Okay. So far, I’ve been talking about external communications. But whatever applies to external publicity / advertising techniques also applies to internal publicity and publicizing yourself. How does one successfully apply publicity to help oneself shine? How does one promote oneself without turning off everybody and creating a negative backlash–“promote” in the advertising or publicity sense? What’s the secret?
A raging curiosity, and a willingness to tell people about interesting things you are doing, planning, or have achieved. There are plenty of tips and ideas in our nugget, “PUBLOG”–enter the search term or scan the nuggets in Job-TOOLKIT. Building a publog for yourself is certainly one means of generating self-publicity. But below are a number of additional great ideas.
- Self-publicity has to be newsworthy and of interest to one or more people. It is okay for it to be of interest to one person at times.
- It has to be favorable to you. That may sound like a no brainer, but I’ve witnessed negative self-publicity.
- From now on, let NOTHING HAPPEN in your world, without addressing it with this question: “Who in my company might be interested in learning that this has happened?” It could be the completion of something beyond the norm. It can be a meeting or chance occurrence with an executive. It can be a charity event. Whatever. There’ll be somebody or a few people in your company interested in knowing about it.
- Look for special opportunities, speeches, invitations, charity or other outside company activities. Tell someone about what you did. I like the tongue-in-cheek definition proffered by ORBEN’S CURRENT COMEDY: “…something is no sooner done than said.”
- Medium-sized companies may allow you to be a contributing editor or a contributor to the company newsletter.
- When you see an exceeds performance at some task performed by an employee of one of the “other” managers or executives, take the time to write a brief email to let that manager or executive know how thankful and impressed you were. Copy the employee, too.
- Most employees sleep with their eyes wide open at meetings. Or show up almost brain-dead. You be the smart one. Listen intensively to presenters, especially executives or managers. Learn to follow their presentation with a pleasant, brief thankful email for something of importance that you learned from their presentation. Don’t fabricate or force this. Many times executives and managers are full of hot air and justify their pay checks with needless, mindless, meetings designed to appear as window dressing for their supervisors or resumes or performance appraisals. But in the case you do come across the rare insightful, useful, helpful meeting, have your pen–no, not your tablet, your PEN–at the ready and make yourself some notes to use later to make your follow up message coherent and meaningful.
- If your company permits your internal email to carry signature lines, decide what you want your label to be and append some statement to your signature line that will establish and promote your desired label within the company. (See our nugget on “compelling value propositions”).
- If you have the courage to do so…actually you will be well received most of the time so it requires very little courage…drop into the executive office with a great message, when you have a great message. Don’t just drop in with useless stuff. You’ll come off as an “air-head”. But if you have something meaningful to say that is highly appealing to a particular executive don’t be bashful.
- Crossing charters may be as dangerous as trying to leap across the Grand Canyon, but it is often worth a try. What do I mean by “crossing charters”? You may be working in division “A” but may see something in Division “B’s” division, job, customer, or competitor., The worst that can happen is you’ll get a cool reception or be told to mind your own business…If that happens, apologize and explain you were merely trying to be helpful to the corporation and by extension to that particular division.
- Do you have ideas that might be of use or well-received by your hierarchy or by another division’s? If so, develop an abstract or short brief and get it to some of the decision makers above the 1st-line managers who often are trained to say no to everything not directly influencing their immediate budgets or forecasts. I did that with one idea and with the help of a colleague it resulted in a rejected but brilliant product finally making it to market and generated billions of dollars of revenues.
- Do you have important customers…important to the corporation… with whom you get along well? If so, can you arrange for shoulder-rubbing opportunities so the executives can claim to be spending customer-facing time? Maybe a golf outing if your company permits. Maybe an expensive dinner? Oh…and don’t be too embarrassed to ask a favour of your customer to mention a few good words on your behalf.
- Most companies will gladly support non-financial recognition events for employees. Can you organize a few? Maybe something like a pizza luncheon following a month that had outstanding results?
- Does your company offer other social events, such as annual recognition award ceremonies, or company anniversary celebrations? If so, can you become involved?
- Regarding number 14, have a good-quality digital camera and take plenty of photos of your teammates and your division personnel. Then following the event, contact EACH PERSON by email and ask for permission to place their photos into a photo album. I’m referring to hard copies of prints and a real, tangible 3-D photo album. Then organize something with the head office personnel in your division to spend one or more luncheons to help place the photos into the albums…but….BUT…make an experience of this. I did this by gathering our personnel into small teams to write captions beneath each photo. We then had a great laugh comparing teams’ sense of humor by reading captions aloud to the entire meeting. When those albums were delivered to remote employees who had attened the original function, they were delighted. This caught the eye of management in a favorable way.
- There are plenty more ideas than what the above captures. HOW ABOUT YOU? SEND YOUR IDEAS THIS WAY, USING ANY OF OUR CONTACT FORMS. We’ll gladly share with our audience.