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Tired of Feeling Invisible? Here’s How to Be Seen and Rewarded

How to command an audience

“Do you feel sometimes like there’s a person inside that’s screaming to jump out?” asks leadership expert and executive coach Charmaine McClarie. “I want you to let that person out because that person is really the truth of who you are.”

But to be recognized and rewarded for who you truly are, it’s essential to use the language of leadership that makes people turn their heads and listen, says McClarie, who says her strategies have helped 98 percent of her clients be promoted within 18 months.

Here are her top five:

1. Communicate vision. “If someone says ‘I work hard,’ I say: ‘Yeah, everybody works hard. But what does that mean? Did you work with vision or strategy? That tell me more accurately the kind of work that you produce.” Case-in-point: When McClarie introduces herself, she does not first say I’m an executive coach because there is no vision or differentiator in that. “I tell people that I help smart people get promoted and communicate the big picture. I provide executive coaching to iconic leaders of Fortune 500 companies.”

2. Speak in headlines. “I have a friend who leaves voicemail messages—two voicemail messages because she can’t get it all in one. And I just delete it because, hell, I don’t need to know all of that. But if she were to speak in headlines, I got it: ‘Charmaine. I’m delivering X. I’d like for you to review it. And then I’d like you to get back to me tomorrow. That’s clear. And that’s something we can practice in every aspect of our lives.”

3. Address everyone’s three core questions. “Why should I listen? What’s in it for me? And what do you want me to do about it? … So, when you’re speaking to someone, think about what in it for them? What would excite them? What would be the value proposition for them—not for us?”

4. Create witnesses. Creating witnesses to your accomplishments expands your sphere of influence. You want to make sure, that if you’re spending the eight, 10, 12 hours a day at work, you are actually getting a return on your investment. … You do not want to be a well-kept secret.”

5. Don’t audition for your job. “Many times, as women in particular, we audition for roles we already have. Too often, women say: ‘I’m not sure if this is right’ or ‘I don’t know what you think about this’ or ‘I’m sorry.’ If you’re sorry, hell, you shouldn’t be in the room. You’re there because you have an insight, and you have a perspective that is important and is of value.”

Practice even one of these techniques, McClarie says, and you will see a change in your career trajectory.


Charmaine McClarie shared her comments at the 2019 Watermark Conference for Women session “How to Be Heard: Effective Communication for Career Advancement.” You can hear more here.

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