Achieving Professional Visibility

Professional visibility can make you more valued and respected inside your organization and outside. You can enhance your professional visibility by speaking, writing, teaching and leading. Below are some strategies for achieving greater professional visibility and getting the recognition and rewards you deserve.

1. Seek out opportunities to speak in public.

Which professionals are considered to be the experts in your field? One of the main reasons they are considered experts is that they are visible. It is not good enough just to have knowledge and skills; others in your field need to know what you know and that you know it. To learn from you, they also need to learn about you. By taking opportunities to speak about your area of expertise you will be visible and develop a reputation as an expert in your field. You can begin by volunteering to make a presentation inside of your company at a departmental meeting or at your next alumni association function. Speaking is a skill; the more you do it, the better you get at it. If you need help in overcoming nervousness, join Toastmasters. Toastmasters is an international non-profit organization that has bi-weekly meetings at many sites in every city. During each meeting you will have an opportunity to speak in front of your group, receive constructive feedback and gain confidence.

2. Seek out opportunities to publish your work.

The written word is very powerful. Seeing a professional’s name in print often makes us think that this person must be an expert in the field. Other professionals may actually know more on the topic than the author, but because we keep seeing this person’s name in print, we come to view him or her as the authority. There are numerous opportunities to get published, no matter how junior you are. For example, you can co-author articles for industry periodicals with managers that you work with or professors that you studied with. Newsletters and alumni publications are always looking for articles and offer great opportunities for beginning authors. To begin, call the editors of these publications and find out what kinds of articles are of greatest interest to their readers. Offer to review the latest book in your field or to interview an alum who is known for his or her area of expertise. You do not need to be in you field for many years before you can be considered an expert– by getting your work published, you will begin to build name recognition and industry perception as an authority in your field.

3. Seek out opportunities to teach.

Teaching gives you the chance to share your knowledge and expertise with others. You can begin by teaching at local community colleges or in continuing legal education programs. The courses can relate to your work or be based on knowledge you accumulated in school. You might begin by offering a one-session program or workshop. Teaching has many professional benefits. First, your name will be announced in course catalogs and people will begin to recognize it. Second, teaching will force you to master the materials you present and thereby help you to become a genuine expert in the field. Third, because you will have the opportunity to impress your students, they can become part of your professional network, including potential clients, employers and employees. Opportunities to teach are abundant. Start by approaching organizations and institutions that you are already affiliated with such as alumni organizations, university clubs and professional associations.

4. Seek out opportunities to play a leadership role.

Pick one organization–professional, social, political or alumni– and seek out opportunities to use and develop your leadership skills. Many people join organizations only to become disappointed because they feel that they “got nothing out of it.”  The best way for you to benefit from your affiliations is to get actively involved. Only when you work with other members to complete a project or solve a problem do you begin to realize the benefits of belonging to an organization. Valuable professional relationships are created when you work with others towards a common goal. Also, as others see first-hand that they can rely on you for ideas and follow-through, they become more willing to recommend you for other projects or positions simply because you have proven yourself. The next step is to seek out leadership positions within these organizations.

Copyright Wisnik Career Enterprises, Inc. You may reproduce this article for non-sale use with the company’s permission.