Enhancing Career Growth – Visibility Tactic #1: The Elevator Speech

I’m going through the performance appraisal process with my team again.  As I am thinking about this process, I am seeing a common thread around visibility.  It is no longer good enough to simply show up, do good work and expect to receive recognition through promotions, high performance ratings, corporate awards or new opportunities.  So, how does one strategically enhance their visibility?

The next series of posts deals with this topic.  The first one of the series is developing an effective elevator speech.  Nothing is better than a great elevator speech.  An elevator speech is a term used to describe the story you would share about what you do that is done in the time it takes to take an elevator ride, usually about one to two minutes.  Great elevator speeches are memorable to those who hear them.  They are crisp, to the point, and usually contain a key business impact within it.  Because they are memorable, they tend to be remembered and will come up when ratings are discussed or opportunities are staffed.  I can’t say I have mastered this skill yet, but I like to think I am moving in the right direction.  What would YOU say if you were on the elevator with your CEO?  Could you capture her/his attention?  Tell me your elevator speech stories!

Twitter Use #2: Finding Great Web Content

It used to be that whenever I would go to the Web to find content, especially in the context of my daily work, I would simply go to Google, enter the search terms and then ferret through the results until I got the information I sought.  If you get the right search term this exercise is pretty simple, but it also can be quite difficult if you get it wrong.  My wife, as a professional librarian, is an expert at getting the right search terms every time.  I cannot claim the same level of success, usually.  I’m retrying searches multiple times so that the most pertinent stuff ends up on top.

With a tool like Twitter it can be pretty easy to find great content through their search engine, and you can quickly see what the “crowd” views as good content based on their comments in their tweets, or even their hash tags.  It has gotten to the point that I now start with Twitter to search for blog posts, videos or images relating to what I need.  This change in paradigm was inspired by the following YouTube video (recommendation: follow @equalman on Twitter – he’s really on top of all of this stuff).

I like to think of it as looking for the breadcrumbs that the experts left behind for me to find and harvest for my gain.  If you read the tweets, it does not take long to figure out where the good stuff is hiding.  And, usually they are kind enough to leave a link to follow.

Retweets are also important to note.  What’s happening here is that a tweeter thought something was important or especially good at wanted to share the tweet with his or her followers.  It’s also good Twitter etiquette to give the originator credit for the effort.  This is another opportunity to find an authority on a topic.  Find the original tweeter and follow him/her.

Google also is thinking this is important.  This blog post describes a new 2-way search feature that mixes results from Twitter into its search results.  The Bing “decision engine” also contains this capability, however it is somewhat buried as one of many options (follow the “More” link on the top to find the Twitter search).

The social media crowd is taking control of the web.  I think this phenomenon will shape the way we all search for relevant content.  As Twitter expands, it will only make it more valuable as an information worker.  See you in Twitterland!

Twitter Use #1: Access to Thought Leadership

If you are a Twitter veteran, this post is not for you. I encounter people all the time that express a level of confusion about the value proposition of Twitter. They see things like the following YouTube clip of a recent Verizon ad:

I say there is great value to be had. Twitter provides a great opportunity to get insight from thought leaders in industry. In my word, having a pipeline to leaders in the technical community like Bill Gates (@billgates) and Werner Vogels (@werner) to see what is happening in their worlds. They tweet about trends they see, as well as fun personal details that provide both insight and entertainment. As more and more leaders start tweeting, the possibilities will become seemingly endless.

It’s not necessarily about each individual tweets they write, but a composite view of these thought leaders can provide a new level of understanding of an industry that can prove to be very useful. The way to do this effectively is to use Twitter lists so you can isolate those thought leaders into a group so you can view their tweets together and scan them very quickly. Or, one can find lists that other Twitter users have created, which can be a shortcut to finding those leaders. I prefer to create my own lists as I then have the ability to manage it as I see fit. Whichever way you go, using a list make it is simple to detect trends that may be worth investigating further, or just hold back in the memory bank for later. I can say that having that type of information available has proven to be valuable on more than once occasion.

I have a few other posts in the queue relating to the usefulness of Twitter. In the meantime, how do you derive value from Twitter?