Planning Your Successful Career: 15 Ideas

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"Doing a good job is one of the most important ways to move up the ladder", says Dr. Don Bagin, Professor of Communications at Glassbro State College.

If you are one of the many people who do a good job consistently but are not noticed by top management, here are some suggestions to help you get on the fast track:

Smiling: Research has shown that people who smile are perceived to be more intelligent than those who don't.

Prioritizing: Avoid spending a great deal of time on things that aren't important just because you are good at them. The person who gets ahead is the person who establishes priorities and sets aside time for them accordingly.

Walking: Choose to walk rather than drive as often as possible. And when you do, walk at least ten to fifteen percent faster than you normally would. Somehow this faster pace communicates to others that you are a person with a mission who is eager to get the job done.

Speaking actively: Use the active voice when speaking or writing. Listen to the difference: "I prepared and delivered the reports promptly." Compare it to "The report was promptly prepared and delivered." Although the second one told you something, many more questions were left unanswered.

Knowing your boss: Get to understand your boss' personality and when to approach him or her. If your boss is a morning person, be sure that you come up with your suggestions and proposals in the morning while he is most receptive.

Volunteering: While being careful not to overdo it, volunteer for special projects and responsibilities outside of your working hours and job description.

Expressing gratitude: Develop the habit of sending brief notes of thanks to anyone who has made your day easier.

Positively speaking: Look for positive things to say about people, especially your co-workers.

Being approachable: Make yourself approachable. Let people know when and how to reach you.

Following-up: After a task-assigning meeting, follow-up immediately on those assignments that were given to you.

Spotting trends: Learn to spot trends that affect your company or agency. Be the first person to alert those in a position to capitalize on them.

Presenting effectively: Be certain that you speak clearly and precisely when making presentations. Speak with confidence and admit honestly when you don't know, but promise to return with an answer promptly.

Reading the trades: Determine which publications top management is reading, then get a copy of them so that you, too, can become knowledgeable of relevant matters.

Making contact: Establish a contact person in all your referral sources. Make it a point to meet with that person so that you can get to know each other. It will help make your future contacts easier for both of you.

Remembering your manners: Never forget to be polite or to follow the proper protocol. It lets people know that you mean business, that you take your business relationships seriously.

Put these fifteen ideas into practice, and I guarantee you that you will see yourself progressing faster and farther than you think.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don't, we all lose.

? Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW

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Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts seminars, lectures, and writes articles on his theme: ... helping you maximize your potential. He offers management, marketing and parenting resources at

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