Start Going Places: Work the “Shared Calendar”
Forget crowded networking events, waiting upon a serendipitous elevator encounter, or even trying to organise a coffee; you can proactively get face time with senior people in your business through adopting a few simple steps.
And rather than anything too extravagant/ flamboyant/ difficult, it begins with your online calendar.
On top of the tasks you have yourself, there should also be other entries about meetings that other people in the team are having. If you don’t yet have a Shared Calendar system within your team: 100% be the person who organises it.
It embodies transparency, openness and efficiency; something almost every team wants (to appear) to achieve.
Now, with your Shared Calendar there will obviously be scheduling of internal meetings between team members, any conferences you might attend, but also when the Senior Partners et al are out meeting key clients. This is to your advantage.
When you see said Key Influencer ask them if they would like anyone to take notes at their client meetings. Often there will be a spare space in the cab, and it’s actually a very difficult thing to say no to. Who wouldn’t want someone doing the often overlooked, yet valuable task of taking notes?
Their concern might be that you’ll be foregoing your own work, but a well-thought out answer about how you have no time dependencies coming up, and other work will be done on your own time will no doubt quell that.
Once you’ve lined up a meeting or two to go along to, this is your time to shine. Or rather not f*** up.
Remember, you’re there to take notes, not for your public opinion. Once the meeting has finished, circulate the key points to all participants with quick thank you that doesn’t belittle yourself. None of this “Oh, thanks for letting me sit in your meeting, it was so amazing to meet everyone involved…”. No. You brought value to that meeting, sympathy is not the emotion you’re after.
Rather, something along the lines “Here are notes of the meeting. Please be in touch if you have further questions”. Depending on the size of the meeting, send them out individually with a personal note.
Now, I said before that you won’t be there for your opinion – across a meeting table is not your place. However, in the taxi back to the office, or whenever there’s some time with just the guys from your team, that’s when you can offer your thoughts on what went on. Having a fresh perspective means you might have something worth hearing.
Either way, you’re proving your worth to a Key Influencer in the business. It’s something that you would have forged off your own back, and was done in a useful, non-invasive way that slotted in to their busy schedule. Who knows where that relationship might lead to…
This post has been all about making and taking opportunities for yourself. Have you ever worked the Shared Calendar? Or something similar? If so, please share in the comments section.
Thanks also to @EddStockwell for sharing this exercise that he adopted before founding @Tutorfair