Current: In A Downturn, How To Stand Out


Anne Sugar Contributor, Reposted from Forbes Online / Careers

WORKING REMOTE| 1,372 views| May 6, 2020,09:36am EDT

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Since most of us are working virtually these days, you may think that your pet projects won’t get traction and your visibility will diminish. Yet there are actions you can take right now that will help your long-term success. Dorie Clark teaches leaders how to achieve visibility and  stand out as experts in their fields—I’ve partnered with her in the past, and I knew she’d have wisdom on how to stay visible in these times. Here are two areas Dorie says we should focus on right now.

1.     Build a Network Strategically

According to Dorie, “It’s never a good idea to ignore networking.” Yet Dorie warned against making conversations solely transactional. Dorie recommends that everyone view networking as a deliberate, long-term strategy. She suggests that networking be ongoing and casual, for the purpose of re-connection. More importantly, Dorie coaches everyone to make sure to network outside their particular industry. Dorie likens this approach to having a diverse financial portfolio.  

I reminded Dorie that many leaders will ask—”How do I connect when I don’t know anyone outside my industry?” Another question leaders commonly ask is: “What could I possibly have in common with someone in a different field?”

Dorie offered a strategy: go to your alumni network and check in to see how members of your class are doing. After your initial contact, make sure to ask for a referral—someone else interesting that you should connect with in the future. This is not being “schmoozy;” you are only looking to meet interesting people. You may even make some new friends along the way. 

2.     Focus on Internally Networking

You may have great ideas that often get lost or overlooked. Dorie offered advice on how to have your opinions heard, and more importantly, executed.  

First: in every meeting, make sure to make at least one comment or recommendation. Secondly, focus on internal networking. When I work with clients, they often forget that chatting with people internally is just as crucial as communicating with folks outside the company. While internal networking may feel like an extra burden, we tend to spend a disproportionate amount of time externally networking—yet your internal network can create a steady stream of referrals coming to you, almost like your own personal LinkedIn group. Don’t overlook its value.

Dorie provides a script for outreach that goes something like this: “Hi Anne, we have been on the culture committee for a while, and I realized that we all now have a better sense of how we work together. I’m grateful for how we keep each other informed. Who is someone I should reach out to who could further our growing, interconnected work?”

Dorie’s third suggestion is to participate in social network opportunities via adding a comment or writing a post for your internal network. These steps will help you get noticed and lift your brand. For example, you could post something like this: “Here is a script for how I closed the big sale of X.” If you’re helping others within your organization grow, the company benefits. By following this step, you get to demonstrate that you’re a smart and generous leader.  

Lastly, Dorie stresses that with both internal and external networking, have a plan and a goal of whom to reach out to weekly. For example; if you reach out to one person a week, by the end of the year you will have about fifty new contacts. Those could represent fifty new opportunities.

While it may feel like now is the time to keep your nose down for fear of “bothering” others, Dorie tells me that this is the perfect time to increase your visibility—both within your organization and outside of it. Take advantage of this period by making the time to connect.