Visibility is a key factor in the sponsorship equation. In Part I of this post we discussed how being present increases the probability of attracting a sponsor. In Part II we’ll take a look at the impact of having presence.
In professional realms, sponsorship can be a game changer that rockets a woman’s profile and career into the stratosphere. There is no denying it; women fortunate enough to have sponsors have a distinct advantage. Studies show that a sponsor confers a 22-30 percent career benefit.*
Remember, a potential sponsor is most likely not your boss, not even your boss’s boss. Sponsors play chess, not checkers. They are viewing the landscape from 10,000 feet, and decide that there is a strategic advantage, or synergy that can be gained from advancing your career.
For better or worse, there will be nothing inside you – your talents, character or personality — that will initially attract a potential sponsor. Sponsors notice people that standout. There must be something about you that inspires them to learn more about you.
Having a clean, current, impressive appearance is definitely important — but that is just part of what having presence is all about. How you sound and behave – even what you keep in proximity – all influence perceptions. Moreover, it helps to exude an air of confidence, intelligence and good judgment.
Nothing beats preparation when it comes to creating a positive and memorable presence. When you introduce yourself to someone, does your response sound canned, or have you rehearsed, yes, I said rehearsed an introduction that shares what is authentically different and substantially meaningful about you?
Manners will be noticed and etiquette observed. Are you the one at the cocktail party with a drink in one hand and a plate of hors d’oeuvres in the other? Nothing says ‘novice’ like someone without a free hand to shake. Do you work the room, or blend in with the decor? When you meet someone new, are you a good listener, or does the conversation revolve around you?
Women who aspire to corporate leadership benefit immensely from attracting sponsorship. Getting noticed requires both a visibility strategy and practice. Be present, and have extraordinary presence: It can make the difference between the status quo and a world of new opportunities!
*The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett with Kerrie Peraino, Laura Sherbin and Karen Sumberg, Harvard Business Review.