Increase Your Presence Without Being Promotional

We all want to be more valued, recognized, promoted, or get a raise. And our supervisor says to us, “You need to improve your visibility or be seen more by others.” You think your boss likes your colleague Bling Bam Biff, who is so far out there, and you see no chance to shine next to that loudmouth. Your supervisor may really believe that you need better visibility, more participation in meetings, and to further your interactions with everyone. They may also be saying it is difficult to verbally promote you up to their boss, because the senior boss is unaware of your abilities, especially compared to Bling Bam who is very visible and promotional, even though his style is a turn-off to you.

50% of all people describe themselves as introverted, preferring to be more accurate and thoughtful vs. promotional and outspoken. Here are the 5 ways to use introverted tendencies to be highly valuable, and increase  personal presence to achieve career goals.

1. Ask don’t tell. Promotional people raise their hand and their great ideas and suggestions are heard. Using our introverted power rests in quiet, well-thought out questions. While all the promotional people are talking, our introverted side can create excellent questions, phrased in a way to be curious instead of challenging, and we can re-shape the direction of the meeting or conversation in a thoughtful way. That is valuable!

2. Right thoughts, right time. Our thoughtful style may have us coming up with questions long after the meeting is over. Sometimes that can be “Too little too late.” It can be frustrating to people, who then ask themselves, “why didn’t I bring that up earlier?” In our thoughtful style, we were still determining if our comment was valid or precise. Before we have fully thought through our position with an answer or statement, the meeting or conversation was over. If we raise information too late, we may be right, and also hurt our presence at the same time. Unless it’s critically important – let it go, and say… “this isn’t fully thought-through and may sound kinda weird, so bear with me, as I need to say something.” Our teammates will give grace and space to those commenting, admittedly uncomfortably. Without the preamble others expect comments to be clear; our admission of uncertainty gets the issue up on the table and gives us license to be wrong – all in an effort to bring the team to a better decision. That’s presence with vulnerability – not presence with promotion.

3. Compliment others – openly and often. As adults we need 4 times more praise for every statement of correction (Zenger Folkman HBR March 2013). If we make others feel good they will remember us in a very good way! Find ways to thank and praise teammates constantly – that creates memorability. A note, a starbucks card, some flowers, a hobby magazine all make great tokens of appreciation. Be simple; be special. Be memorable with teammates – it will get back to your boss; and you’ll outshine everyone through small gestures of kindness – we call that award winning!

4. Make social networking work. Be more relevant in new circles of professionals. Resumes used to be about our skills to get a job done. Tomorrow’s resumes are about who you know that can get things done. Read articles to learn new things that are off-topic and fascinating to you. These interests will broaden your scope of thinking, and allow you, in social situations, to be more insightful than always on-topic business relevant information. “All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy.” Learn more and relate more on social media.

5. Stop saying, “I’m just being honest.” This is another way of defending ourselves, when others think we misspoke. Simply say, “I’m sorry” and move on. We try to correct and re-correct too often; it looks better to just punt than defend ourselves as we probably did misspeak. Admitting mistakes early and often is a great and easy way to build our presence as a leader, since it shows courage instead of rightness – and that’s valuable both to you and to others.

Quietly Win and Don’t Forget to Smile!


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