6 Tips to Increase Your Visibility at Work Without Self-Promoting

Guest post by Joel Garfinkle

Why would you want to increase your visibility at work?

Why not just let your work speak for yourself?

You can’t expect to get ahead if people don’t notice you.  

…and it’s never safe to assume that decision-makers are aware of your accomplishments.

Increasing your visibility doesn’t require constant bragging and acting like you’re “self-promoting.”

Here are six tips to make yourself more visible without being overbearing.

    1. Share your accomplishments through writing. With the ubiquity of email, it’s easy to write a message updating your team members on a project, including how your work is affecting its progress. Be sure to copy a supervisor on the message. Also, thank people in writing by explaining how their work or suggestions have helped you do your job better. It makes them feel good about their work and reflects well on you.


    1.  Write out notes of what you want to say before meetings. If you know that you’ll be speaking at a meeting or event, take the time to write out what you want to say beforehand. When you have something prepared, it makes it more likely that you will speak, and that you say what you mean.


    1.  Think before you speak. When you can’t prepare remarks ahead of time, always give yourself time to think before you speak at meetings. People listen to and respect others who can clearly articulate their ideas. If you don’t want to miss an opportunity to say something, ask a question first and then think through your statement while listening to the response.


    1.  Master the art of small talk. Some people shy away from small talk, but it’s the glue that binds an office together. Chatting with others gives you the opportunity to build stronger relationships and discuss what you’ve been doing. If small talk is difficult, prepare a number of open-ended, work-related questions that you can use to start conversations.


    1.  Schedule one-on-one meetings. Especially if you have a difficult time being yourself in group meetings, ask colleagues and supervisors if you can schedule private meetings with them. One-on-ones are a great opportunity to talk about your work and how it affects the company.


  1.  Volunteer for committees and events. Many professionals are rightfully concerned about being productive, but committees and events have their place. Participating in a committee or helping to host a conference or charity event translates to an abundance of networking opportunities. Committees and events give you the opportunity to meet new people, talk about your work, and put your name and face in front of people who wouldn’t normally notice you.

About Joel Garfinkle

Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 leadership coaches in the U.S. As an executive coach he has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon,  Deloitte, Oracle and Ritz-Carlton. He is the author of seven books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. Learn more about his books, executive coaching services and over 300 FREE articles at www.GarfinkleExecutiveCoaching.com. You can also subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, 41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”

A personal note from Jesse: I really enjoyed Joel’s excellent new book, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. It’s an easy read, packed with helpful advice. I am delighted to host his guest post, one example of the kind of clear, practical advice he offers.

13 comments to 6 Tips to Increase Your Visibility at Work Without “Self-Promoting”

  • I’m not one to boast about great ideas. In fact, I’ve made several to an organization over the recent past that’s propelled them in their marketing activities.

    I’ve never said a word.

    This needs to change.

    Joel, thanks for your guest post.

    • Steve, you are absolutely right – this needs to change! It sounds like you’re a key asset in your organization, and others need to know that.

      I understand that it may feel like boasting when you share your contributions and accomplishments with others; however, consider it more along the lines of keeping the rest of your company apprised of the important things going on in your business. Although, on occasion, you may have a co-worker or boss toot your horn for you, the only person you can depend on doing this 100 percent of the time is you!

      Including others in your reporting of your accomplishments, such as those who helped you, can help take the edge off of the ‘boasting’ feel, plus ensure that everyone gets the credit they rightly deserve.

  • Ofra

    I have also found that giving other people ample credit and recognition for their work will cause them to give you credit for yours…

    • Hi Ofra,

      It all starts with building a credit-sharing culture in which you recognize others’ contributions. As you continue to share the credit and appreciate colleagues, you model this kind of behavior for your entire team and encourage them to begin
      sharing credit with each other.

  • Margy

    I loved this post! Very quick and simple..I am at the office today and look forward to trying to implement some of this advice. I recently had my first performance review (after a year of working, on my insistance) and noticed that I feel much better about my progress and day-to-day schedule. Its also nice to hear that small talk is actually important–so often I try to avoid such conversations, and its interesting to think that it could actually increase productivity and morale. Thanks, Aunt Lyn!

    • Margy

      (and thanks Joel, of course!)

    • I think small talk is one of the facets of office communication that often gets overlooked and under-appreciated. In addition to building bonds and fostering relationships among co-workers, it’s always interesting to me how important concerns and suggestions often emerge during ‘small talk.’ Co-workers often feel less threatened in an informal conversational setting and will let their guard down. This is also an excellent time to share your accomplishments and get the recognition you deserve and building your credibility, while also making ties with your co-workers. I’d be interested in hearing how implementing small talk goes for you.

    • Good for you, Margy, for insisting on a performance review! It’s a “best practice” in management, although too often it gets put on the backburner. Hopefully you have set a precedent and others will begin to get feedback as well.

  • Thanks Jesse and Joel. Excellent ideas. Will have to get the book.
    You know I CARE, Jesse. Ha.

    Best of luck, Joel. Thanks again for this sound advice.


  • Joel,

    This is a topic near and dear to my heart – whenever I talk with people about “visibility management” I say, “If they don’t know about you, how can they offer you opportunities?”

    If I may offer another possible reason people are hesitant to be “visible” – to do so means they have to put themselves on the radar, thereby claiming their work. This opens people up to criticism, which many people fear. So, whenever I work with someone on their visibility, I always start with why they might be holding back and work to build their confidence in being public about their contributions.

    • You’ve summed it up nicely, Jennifer! Although it may feel ‘safer’ for someone to fly under the radar, so as to escape criticism, it really is a situation where you’re cutting your nose off to spite your face. While avoiding negative repercussions on any mistakes you may have made, you’re also not getting the recognition you deserve. You’re missing out on advancement opportunities and chances to enhance your credibility in the eyes of your co-workers, since others won’t know about the great work you’ve done. You also miss out on opportunities to grow in your skills, as others are less likely to give you constructive feedback when things are less than perfect.

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