Here are 5 steps to making your voice heard.
1. Be aware of your value
How do you expect others to know what you're worth if you're not convinced of your value yourself? Learn to praise yourself after every task you complete and do a regular review of what you have achieved, the deals that you’ve done, the ideas that you’ve brought forward and the solutions that you’ve found to problems. Remember: the others aren't necessarily better than you, but they know how to put themselves forward more. So practice praising yourself and analysing your success and say to yourself in front of a mirror: ‘I do my job well, I’m professional, I’ve accomplished a lot’ and more confidence-boosters!
2. Come out of the shadows
Lost in the middle of an open space office or hidden away next to the stock cupboard, do you feel like no-one knows you're there? You do your hours and you do your job but that's all? Get yourself noticed!
When drinks are organised for farewells, births, marriages, retirements, Christmas, New Year, etc, subtly try to get closer to different managers.
- Talk to them about what you're working on, ask questions about the company and any vacant posts.
- Discuss your ambitions so that you’re not looked over when promotions come up.
- Slide in some information you’ve gathered: not gossip, but useful snippets about the company, that Japanese company who have launched a revolutionary new product or a new way of working that's making waves in the States, etc. Show you're up to speed!
3. Show initiative
- Don't think problem: think solution! This will make you much more popular! Force yourself to look for ways to resolve situations and automatically suggest solutions. Better still, suggest several options so that you give a choice and show that you've thought about them seriously.
- Do your homework. Surf the net, read publications and get clued up by talking to people who work in the same sector as you to gain useful info, new ideas and efficient methods to put into place in your job.
- Absolute reactivity. Don’t let requests from your boss drag, reply to him/her as soon as possible. Volunteer when they're looking for a new team member for a project.
4. Speak up during meetings
Stop doodling and making approving head movements when you haven’t been listening. Express yourself, but not just to say something for the sake of it, of course!
- Before the meeting read up on the agenda so that you can get involved in subjects that you’ve worked with.
- Don’t murmur your ideas to your neighbour: say them out clearly and loudly to the audience.
- Bring in figures and reliable sources to share. Offer to send them by email if people require them.
5. Leave a trace
- You've found the solution that will get you the contract, but there's no proof and it’s your superior who takes all the glory. When you meet your MD in the lift, mention it!
- If you're full of ideas, make a detailed list and email it to your boss. If he doesn't reply, email again to ask if he's received your suggestions. You need to leave visible evidence of your work so that you get your just rewards.