by Louise M. Felsher, CMP, CMM | March 01, 2006

Has your career hit a stumbling block? Are you stuck in a rut and not sure how to get noticed, appreciated or promoted? Following are eight tips to help you get back on the fast track.

Humility is not going to propel you to the corner office. To become a successful leader, you must practice the art of self promotion.
    To begin with, get over any fear of public speaking. (Need help? Hire a speaking coach.) Such engagements will boost your profile within an industry and with top brass at the home office, while providing high-profile forums for you to strut your stuff. 
    How to get the engagements? Fortunately, the meetings industry provides plenty of opportunities to develop skills. Volunteer to speak on a panel at an industry event, or to put together a session on a topic in which you have expertise.

Today’s business world is tight and hectic; an underling today could well be your boss, competitor or vendor tomorrow. An assistant can sing your praises or talk negatively about you to your superiors, peers and other members of your team. Therefore, treat all lower-rung and junior members of staff with kindness and respect. Better yet, be a mentor to these individuals and help them to move up the corporate ladder, too.

Don’t assume that knowing the meetings world inside and out will make you indispensable to the company. The most successful planners bring experience in areas such as marketing, education, research and graphic design to the table. If all of your experience is in meetings, take courses to develop these other skills.

It’s ironic that some meeting professionals will dismiss informal in-house and/or departmental meetings as irrelevant to their roles in the organization. Make the time to go to such sessions and be prompt. It’s critical to be seen as a team player, especially when senior managers are in attendance.

Quite simply, if no one can see you, the harder it is to be noticed by higher-ups. If you don’t work at the headquarters office, you need to schedule face time with managers. Similarly, if you telecommute, schedule semiregular meetings with your manager and/or team at the main office. And if higher-ups attend events you are organizing, don’t be shy about introducing yourself and interacting with them.

You might think you appear indispensable and dedicated when you are available to the office 24/7, but some senior managers don’t look upon that as a plus. Indeed, regularly staying late and/or making yourself available on weekends might make you come across as an inefficient worker and a woefully poor time manager. You are entitled to downtime and a personal life and good managers respect that.

Think strategically before getting mired in petty arguments with co-workers; niggling fights will only drain your energy. The time to go to battle is over things that really will impact your job, your department, your event or your future.

Accepting a lower salary than you feel you deserve might position you favorably in the short run against colleagues vying for the same position, but will it make you happy in the long term? Ask for what you think you deserve, and don’t be afraid to turn down an offer that undervalues your skills.