How often do we focus on the 20% that didn't go quite according to plan, rather than congratulating ourselves on the 80% that went flawlessly?
I recently attended the National Association of Women in Construction's annual conference, where author and executive coach Suzanne Doyle-Morris gave an inspirational presentation about this very topic. We all came away thinking that it wasn't enough to remain in the corner beavering away, 'getting the job done' and expecting this to be noticed. Announcing our successes and making our achievements known to those around us is an essential part of getting recognised.
For women like me who work in a male dominated field, it is vitally important to put self-promoting strategies in place, and to understand the differences between how men and women operate in the workplace. Interestingly Suzanne reckoned that men often spend 10% of their time networking, dropping in to a colleague's office to discuss problems and canvas support for their ideas. In contrast, women use meetings as the forum for debate and are often disappointed when it seems the decision has already been made. This is due to men viewing meetings more as a rubber-stamping exercise as the honing has been done during the networking, prior to the meeting even starting.
How often do you attend a meeting and, thinking that something that is either so obvious or contradictory, you end up not saying it - only to hear someone else make the point and agreement be issued by all around? When new to my current role, I sat through my first management meeting where one topic of discussion was training. I had previously had my own training business, so was well qualified to comment but something stopped me. Not a lack of confidence but concern that I may appear to be a 'know it all' by my newly found colleagues.
You can up your game by raising your profile through public speaking, getting published, and making use of social media research. Putting ourselves forward for an award or nominating a colleague for one is another excellent way of getting recognition.
The First Women Awards is one such award which can bring recognition to the unsung females in a variety of industry sectors. Winning such an award can in turn provide additional opportunities, particularly if the achievement is publicised both internally and externally via trade publications, etc. Press coverage of last year's winner of the Built Environment category, Diane Johnson, has led to her being asked to speak to girls in local schools. She is waving the flag for the construction sector by encouraging school children to think about it as a career option.
It is important to grasp these opportunities - you never know where they will lead!
The First Women Awards ceremony will take place on Wednesday 12 June and is hosted by Real Business in association with Lloyds Banking Group.