Four Ways to Become More Visible
I was recently working with a group, when one of the participants referenced an exercise that we did at the program kick off a few months prior. The comment began with, “I don’t know if you were there, but …” I’ll stop right there, I was indeed there. I was one of just three facilitators who worked with the group for two hours that day. Hearing this statement made me ask myself, “What did I do, or not do that day, that caused me to become invisible?” After some reflection, I realized that the more impactful question to ask was, “When have I felt the most visible and what do I need to remind myself to continue doing?” This is what I came up with:
1. Sit at the table: This is a great concept from Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In. It’s easy to sit yourself at the back of the room and blend into the wall. Instead, assume that your position is at the front, with the other big players. Assume that you belong there as much as anyone else. You’ll give off a different energy, an energy that people will notice and remember.
If your mind is getting in the way of embracing that concept, there is a great Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, about how your physical positioning can affect how confident and calm you feel in a given situation. Start there.
2. Speak up: Have you ever been in a meeting where you have an idea, but you’re afraid to voice it, and then someone else says exactly what you were thinking? Intuition isn’t just some warm, fuzzy concept, it is a gift and a tool. If your gut gives you a great idea, share it!
3. Ask questions: Chances are, like that great idea, someone else is wondering the same thing, but is also too afraid to ask. Let’s reframe how we think about questions. Rather than assuming that it indicates that we have no idea what is going on, remember that it can also mean that we are listening, engaged and are invested in having a complete understanding of the situation, all of which characteristics that set us apart.
4. Stand out: Here’s a simple one that I got from my theatre teachers as we were entering the world of auditions. When you go to a networking event, a big meeting or an interview, wear something that makes you feel great. In a sea of black suits, don’t be afraid to pop out!
In short, allow yourself to confidently take up space, mentally, physically and vocally.