Life offers us opportunities all the time … the trick is
(a) Spotting them, and
(b) Taking advantage of them.
When you are new to a company, new in a role or just looking to move up the ladder you will be presented with opportunities to shine, either through the normal course of business or better yet because you made it happen!
Here are some thoughts for you …
1. If you get the chance to chat with someone influential be prepared to have a meaningful conversation?
Do you have something interesting to tell?
Can you ask interesting questions and stimulate conversation?
Are you actually prepared for the opportunity … or are you going to wing it?
Do you know what messages you want to get across, and how best to present them?
2. You might get to attend a company function, a charity event or some other “social work” setting.
Do you know how to behave?
Do you understand etiquette and manners?
Do you know who will be there … and what you might say to them?
Are you treating it like an opportunity to shine, or an opportunity for company sponsored booze?
3. You may find yourself in large networking events.
Do some research … who will be there, what the event is all about, some history, the organisers etc.
Learn how to network … there are many sources that offer advice and some training.
4. At any time in your career you may find yourself with opportunity.
Remember the basics.
Do NOT just play it on instincts.
Put your best foot forward.
Never assume … that you know it all, that you have the experience and that your past experiences have prepared you for this moment! You might just let the moment slip through your grasp for lack of a little preparation.
Some of the dangers lurking in the shadows of your career aspirations …
1. People’s opinion of you can be colored, good or bad, very quickly. You know that old saying … First Impressions count!
2. One small indiscretion can cause the red flags to go up, meaning that you now have a hurdle to overcome.
3. A favorable impression on the right person can go a long way.
4. Some of the classic moments that will not help your career:
Getting drunk at a company function … social or not;
Speaking from the hip … possibly because of too many drinks. Nothing wrong with a little honesty, but always be cognizant of who you are talking with.
Not being prepared for a meeting.
Being given an opportunity to present ideas/concepts/opportunities and focusing on negatives not solutions.
Talking too much.
Not listening enough.
Ignoring the normal etiquette of a situation.
All of the above could have been opportunities to impress, to make a positive mark on your career … don’t miss your opportunities!
“I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.” Oprah Winfrey