Are you professionally relevant?
What does “professional relevance” mean? I found a definition of the importance of staying relevant in an article on Bayt:
What does ”staying relevant” mean? In these days of outsourcing, cost-cutting and continuous radical shifts in the ways companies produce, communicate and interact, not to mention source candidates, it is crucial you remain attuned to demands, trends and developments in the marketplace and fine-tune your qualifications and skillset accordingly and fast enough.
Bottom line: Are you up-to-date in your knowledge of your business and your industry? Do people seek out your advice? Are you part of the company’s growth goals or just sitting on the sideline?
I’m frequently invited to speak on the subject of Impact and Influence and offer women in leadership my take on the process of purposefully increasing your influence within the workplace. This slide offers up some of the most frequent questions and comments I hear from women across the country.
Let’s just look at two of these comments:
- My input is overlooked.
- Many assume I have too much going on outside of work to handle a new role.
Both of these situations are common and yet can be easily resolved by taking control and setting the record straight.
I’m Not Professionally Relevant Because My Input is Overlooked
If you feel like your comments are ignored, your suggestions are dismissed or even viewed as silly, you may have a little work to do to build awareness of your skills and abilities.
- Examine how you position your ideas and input. Are you apologetic in your delivery? “This is probably not going to work, but have you thought to…”
- Make sure that you are confident when delivering your ideas.
- Ensure that you have the attention of the group before you offer up your suggestions.
- Do your research in advance so that you can show other industry successes using your idea.
- Seek out a sponsor in the room who understands your abilities and who will be a supportive “fan” when you offer your input.
If your goal is to continue to be professionally relevant, it will take a continued effort on your part to stay educated on the trends in your industry. Keep on top of technology advances. Use jargon that is current and accepted. Avoid being the person that dismisses other’s ideas without offering alternative suggestions.
Additionally, take the time to praise the ideas of others. Encourage those new to the team to offer their suggestions. You are probably not the only person in the room whose input has been dismissed. Make sure to raise up those around you. The more ideas shared – the more solutions discovered.
I’m Not Professionally Relevant Because People Assume I Can’t Handle a New Role
If wrong assumptions about your abilities and your work bandwidth are part of your career day, then it will again require a little control on your part.
Have you ever worked with someone who is in constant complaint mode?
- The deadlines are too short
- Others aren’t pulling their weight
- I don’t have the tools to probably complete the task
- “Management” is against me
Listen carefully to the words you use when speaking about your current workload. Negative words are contagious and tend to spread to those in your department. If you find yourself offering up some of those negative comments, management will be unlikely to offer you any additional work.
However, if you find solutions, learn to bring in other people to work on the project and are viewed as someone who “gets things done” then you will be more likely to be tapped for the next project or promotion.
Of course, it isn’t only the negative person who is passed over for promotion.
Frequently, hard-working, capable, smart, creative, problem-solving professional women are passed over because they are invisible to the powers that be.
It’s time to STAND UP and make sure that decision-makers within your company know of your successes and your capabilities. If you are ready for the next project, next promotion, the next opportunity then make sure that your boss knows.
If you want to be professionally relevant, you will have to speak up and be heard.
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JJ DiGeronimo — the president of Tech Savvy Women — is a speaker, author, and thought leader for women in tech and girls and STEM. Through her work, JJ empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract women in technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.
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