Don't let the next 12 months fly by without putting a plan in place to make this coming year your best ever. Below is a Professional Development Plan I recently put together for a coaching client who wanted to work on three things: (1) more visibility at work, (2) more self-confidence, and (3) better networking skills.
Keeping things as simple as possible, I've asked my client to do only three things each month, building on the previous months' work. I invite you to take a little time to put together a similar roadmap to maximize your success in 2012.
2012 Professional Development Plan (Sample)
1. Write down three words you want people to think of when they meet you for the first time (such as smart, confident, trustworthy, etc.). These three adjectives are the basis of your personal brand, which all manner of verbal and non-verbal communication must support.
2. Ask yourself if your clothing, hair and make-up add or detract from your professional brand.
3. Purge what no longer works when it comes to clothing and grooming. Hire a private stylist if need be, or make an appointment at a department store with a stylist to ensure your "look" supports your brand.
1. Join Toastmasters to be a better speaker and work on self-confidence (alert marketing department that you will be available as a speaker in a few months).
2. Join women's affinity group at the firm.
3. Volunteer for a role on the affinity group's social committee.
1. Identify three people at the firm who could possibly be a mentor.
2. Invite each for coffee or lunch away from the office and discuss with each your reasons for getting together and what specifically you would like them to help you with.
3. Follow up with a thank-you note to each person. Did one or two accept your request?
1. Assess first quarter accomplishments and give yourself a pat on the back if warranted. If not, what did you miss? It's only April, keep pushing.
2. Beef up LinkedIn presence (read The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success by Wayne Breitbarth).
3. In an effort to maintain a balanced life, choose an activity you would like to participate in or a class you'd like to take that is in no way connected to work (yoga, mountain biking, Mandarin Chinese). Put class(es) on the calendar for May/June/July.
1. Ask 3 past clients for recommendations on LinkedIn profile; write 3 unsolicited recommendations for people on LinkedIn.
2. Commit to reading local newspaper and Wall Street Journal every day.
3. Attend one networking event out of your comfort zone (bring business cards).
1. Write one article on area of expertise and post it on profile page of LinkedIn.
2. Send this article to past clients and prospects as a way of keeping in touch; ask them to forward it to people who might be interested in the topic.
3. Speak to marketing department about potential speaking events appropriate for you.
We'll share the rest of the Professional Development Plan with you in next month's issue.
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