What’s Your Billboard?

 In leadership

Get More of What You Want by Helping Others Help You

You’ve driven by the blank billboards that entice you to advertise and “Put your name here.” Imagine if on one of these days, you’re driving home from work feeling frustrated at being passed up for yet another promotion or dream assignment. You catch a glimpse of one of these billboards and think, “Hmm, if my manager could see me, larger then life, on that billboard promoting all of my talents and achievements, then it would just be so easy for him/her to hand me that plum assignment…” And then you keep driving and chuckle to yourself at this idea of extreme self-promotion.

What if I told you that you are already doing this? That you are in fact, a ‘walking billboard’ and that you are already giving off messages – good, bad and indifferent -every time you enter a room, engage with colleagues, management or even friends.

I’d like to help you create your own personal billboard that reflects the image and message you want people to see and hear. Because If you are asking others to support you in your quest for a perfect job or work assignment, you need to make it easier for them by being clear and deliberate in your message.

Before transitioning into executive coaching, I was in public relations. One of my favorite parts of working in the advertising agencies was walking down the hallway where the ‘creative’ people sat – the graphic designers, copywriters, videographers. You could almost feel the hum of creative energy emanating from their space. These guys were experts at Naming It. They could take all the information and background I gave them on what a particular client was looking for and produce two or three versions of potential storyboards that clearly reflected the message the client was trying to get across. That takes a high level of thoughtfulness and reflection. It’s the same process for you.

If you’re going to create your own personal billboard, what do you need to include to help paint that picture?

  1. What are your top three values?
  2. What are three or four must-haves in your career?
  3. What achievements are you most proud of?
  4. What’s one thing you haven’t done yet but you’d love to try?

Now comes the hard part. You need to create talking points that reflect all those wants and desires. The reason we need talking points is because networking happens everywhere. You never know when a great opportunity or connection is going to come along. It helps to have a short script to fall back on when you get a question like “so what’s keeping you busy?” or “so what do you do?”

One of my clients, Susan, created the talking point, “I want good writing to make a comeback.” Teaching others how to write clearly is her passion and that first talking point could help lead into further conversation about the writing workshops she’s creating. Or she could say, “I enjoy good writing and creating workshops that help employees improve their writing skills.”

These talking points are meant to be a response to those typical conversation starters. If the conversation falls flat, leave it. But if the individual is genuinely interested in your area of passion, then you’ve done what you intended – you’ve made a meaningful, memorable connection and given them a better idea how to help you along your career path.

Wishing You Full Career Alignment and Success,


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