May 21, 2008
Good and bad career visibility
Today's workshop brought up another interesting question about FYI presentations. One participant mentioned how her manager would sometimes tell her she needs more visibility among senior management, and then have her deliver some FYI presentation to them.
The problem with this is that there is no such thing as "neutral" visibility. If people are getting to know you, such knowledge cannot be separated from what they think of you. So if all they know of you is that you present FYI presentations, they will think of you as low value-add kind of person. Better no visibility than that kind of visibility.
A good analogy is with advertising. Many people still persist in thinking of awareness-building as something that you do separately from attitude change: first we build awareness, then we create interest, etc. (the old AIDA model: awareness, interest, desire, action). And yet, as Tim Ambler and Demetrios Vakratsas demonstrated in their ground-breaking Journal of Marketing article
on this topic, almost 10 years ago, there is really no such thing as neutral awareness. When you become aware of something, at the very same time your attitudes towards it are already being formed.
If someone wants to give you an opportunity for more visibility, make sure that it is good visibility. Make sure that you will be perceived as someone who can make a contribution to the business: give a presentation that solves an important problem for them.