Want to climb to the top? Hard work will get you there but you need to know how to schmooze your way too. Heed these PR tips to build up your reputation and fatten that paycheck.
Pick an ally needing positive publicity as much as you – someone you can trust. “You agree to talk up each other’s virtues to key personnel who might genuinely be interested,” says Susan Abrams of US-based image consultants Corporate Icon. “It’s best done casually by introductions at networking events. Remember to pick an ally from a different department – one not chasing the same promotions as you.”
Apply for every industry award. Just like cereal-box competitions, if you enter enough, you’ll eventually get lucky. “Notch up these wins, however minor, to groom a rising-star image that will wow your boss,” says UK-based occupational psychologist Dr Angela Carter. But do not brag too much. “Extolling your virtues can make others jealous,” says one of London’s top publicists, Max Clifford. “So discreetly get someone else to inform your boss.”
BE THE GOOD NEWS MAN
If someone else triumphs, there’s no harm in a piggyback. “Ensure your boss always hears good news from you,” says business psychologist Rob Robson in the UK. “As the messenger, your boss will subconsciously associate you with it, even if it had nothing to do with you,” offers public relations (PR) guru Clifford.
ACT THE PART
“Listen to what your boss says about what impresses him, then demonstrate those qualities,” says Clifford. Watch his body language, too. “Try mimicking his style slightly – we like people who are just like us,” says Judi James, author of The Body Language Bible.
TAKE POLE POSITION
“You’re effectively publicising yourself every time you’re with your boss,” says Clifford. So choose your position at meetings or social events to show him your best side. “Avoid the chair next to him (for creeps only) or directly opposite (which suggests conflict),” says James. “Diagonal but within easy eye line is perfect to create empathy as well as a sense of rapport.”
PROTECT YOUR LEAD
“Good PR is about protecting your image as much as promoting it,” says Clifford. Those boozy late nights with co-workers can be vital to your career, but they’re worth nothing if you can’t perform the next morning. “The next day, make sure you’re showered and at work earlier than your boss who was out with you the night before,” says Robson. “This shows integrity and reliability.”