Query: I’ve been working with an advertising agency for three years. I am hard-working and get all my projects completed on time, but have trouble conveying this to management. Is this to do with my presentation skills? How can I improve them to ensure I can prove my worth?
Answer: After three years of hard work and delivering projects on time, it is understandable that you are looking for exposure to management. For career progression, it is important your voice is heard and that key decision-makers are aware of your capabilities.
You clearly are putting in the effort and delivering the results, but perhaps not getting the credit deserved from management.
It’s time to take a step back, review the current structures in place for communication. Put a plan in place for projects and activity, to ensure you are more visible across the business.
When reviewing this structure, you should consider your relationship with your direct manager. If the quality of your work is good, a strong leader should champion both the work you have completed and your future potential.
Here are some suggestions to improve presentation skills and ensure you are visible to management:
Ask your manager for feedback on your presentation skills (style and content) to identify specific areas which need work. Also to show your manager you are focused on improving this and developing this skill.
During your presentations, you will need to ensure the audience is getting an understanding of the results. I would advise to give them an understanding of your process, to really see where the ideas came from in the first place.
If one person is presenting for the team, change the structure – either by rotating the presenter weekly or by presenting the work you have completed individually.
Practice improves presentation skills. The more you do, the more comfortable you will get.
Being a Team Player
Are you involved in sports and social clubs? Are you taking every opportunity to build relationships within the business? Have you put your hand up for a group project recently?
Be pro-active in supporting the wider team to make yourself more visible across the group. You will also learn more about other departments and make yourself more valuable.
Go out of your way to give others on your team public credit for quality work to support a culture of recognition.
Speak up in meetings and take any opportunities which might arise to influence decisions. This can take a shift in habit as it doesn’t seem to be happening currently. If you are really keen to show your worth, you can do this by demonstrating your knowledge and influencing strategy.
Build a stronger relationship with your boss.
A boss who has confidence in your ability should give you credit and recognition for your hard work. Your boss will need to believe in you and your potential. For this to happen, you will need to have a genuine, honest conversation around performance to show your commitment.
Ask for feedback on the quality of your work.
Ask your boss for feedback and guidance on how you are communicating your work.
Request further exposure for presentation practice as it is an area you are keen to develop.
You want to increase your visibility without stepping on anybody else’s toes or coming across as arrogant. It is important you ensure you maintain your status as a team player.
With increased visibility comes a vulnerability, but it is healthy for us all to be out of our comfort zones at times. These steps should not only increase your visibility in the organisation but, long term, it should also increase your knowledge of the business, your value to the group and your overall level of job satisfaction.
This article first appeared in the business section of The Sunday Independent on March 10th 2019, and the original version can be viewed here.
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South and South-East Regional Manager
Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group