Your Route to the Top: How to get noticed

Take the lead. Set the mood rather than follow it. Be more energetic but more measured. Whatever you think is needed to establish the right tone, take charge and you'll be noticed for it.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Challenge conventions. Established systems are there for good reasons, but sometimes rules need to be broken.

Do more than is asked. Volunteer to manage tasks and be responsible for projects. This will win over grateful allies and show colleagues that you're ready to take more on.

Adopt a cause. That might be taking a stance on the office recycling policy or getting involved in local politics. Pick your battles wisely, but make sure you have them from time to time.

Notice the little things. If you see your client's BlackBerry is running low on juice, offer a charger. Or while you wait for colleagues to arrive, recall the conversation you had last time you met. Show you're on the ball with regular little gestures.

Have presence. Don't let people talk over you. If a conversation starts beside your desk, stop and look at them calmly; this shows that you don't want to interrupt them, or by implication, be interrupted yourself. They'll stop and apologise and you can continue where you left off.

Keep on moving. Change jobs or roles every couple of years. The new challenges will keep you on your toes and employers will have to pay attention if they want to keep up.

Get the right balance. Be humble with your successes and generous with credit: 'This was something I learnt from managing project Delta in the tricky period before the new clients started to flood in; the work that Mr X did was invaluable to the project.'

Follow up. Do whatever you commit yourself to. Send a follow-up e-mail; invite your client to a suitable event. Once you've got their attention, keep it.

'The Mind Gym: Give me time' is published by Time Warner Books (£12.99). Contact the firm at

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