Advertising
Advertising

10 Signs Your Potential Isn’t Fully Developed in Your Workplace

10 Signs Your Potential Isn’t Fully Developed in Your Workplace

Reaching your potential in the workplace is an exciting prospect. Yet many of us have simply not found the right job (or the right organization) to reach the heights of achievement. Many people, especially those fresh out of college, start off in jobs that are far below their potential. In time, well-managed companies provide promotions and training to get every employee to reach her potential. To figure out if you are reaching your potential, read on.

1. Your tasks are easy

Day after day you complete your tasks with ease. Your forgot what it is like to face a challenge at work. That’s the essence of being in a role where you are not reaching your potential. A job that pushes you to work hard and overcome difficulties, in contrast, is a job that encourages to reach new heights.

Before you decide to quit, take the time to look for new challenges. For example, consider scheduling a meeting with your manager to ask for additional responsibilities. Getting new tasks to learn is one way to start growing your potential again.

Reminder: Challenging work is what keeps you growing to meet your potential.

2. You cannot find anything to learn

Learning is essential to growth. When you are new to a job, you are constantly learning. Over time, you can continue to learn from taking courses and learning from your own mistakes. In some cases, you may simply have nothing left to learn. If you have reflected on your job, asked your manager for suggestions and learned what your coworkers do, then it may be time to seek a new opportunity.

Advertising

Tip: Grow your career by finding new tasks to master. It’s one key to preparing yourself for promotion and staying engaged at work.

3. You have developed all the connections you can

Every job gives you the potential to develop and grow your network. For example, you may customers, back office support staff and sales representatives. Over time, many of these people will become familiar faces and your network will not grow as fast. At that point, you can leave the role or take an active approach to developing your network (e.g. meeting people outside your company or join an association).

Tip: To expand your internal network, join office committees (e.g. health and safety committee or the social committee). These can be a great way to meet people from other departments.

4. You have exhausted the options for process improvement

Every job and organization has the potential for improvement. When you learn a task for the first time, you may notice all kinds of possible improvements. Over time, you can apply the principles of process improvements (e.g. complete a report or delivery 1% faster than last time or eliminate one of the steps) to improve your results. Over time, you may not be able to improve your effectiveness further. If you have reached that point, you may have reached your potential

Remember: At a certain point, there are diminishing returns in process improvement, no matter how good you are.

Advertising

5. There are no promotions available

In some companies and some departments, promotions are rare. For example, low growth companies may only be able to offer promotions in a few select departments (e.g. to promote sales staff). In contrast, a rapidly growing start-up company is more likely to offer promotions to staff. Promotions are one of the best ways to develop your potential at work so they matter a great deal.

To assess this point, simply ask yourself this question: In the past 12 months, how many promotions have I seen in my department? If the answer is zero, then it may be time to move on to a different role. Alternately, you may want to set schedule a meeting with your manager to ask about the promotion process.

Tip: Learn how to get ahead by reading How to Get Promoted.

6. You have no funding for training

Education and training courses are one of the best ways to grow your potential. That’s why companies like General Electric spend $1 billion per year to provide training to their staff. Self-reflection and on-the-job training have their limits. Before you quit, take the time to look for free resources such as online courses and books from your library.

Tip: Read 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education to keep your training going even if you are on a limited budget.

Advertising

7. You leave early every day

From time to time, you will need to work late to reach your potential on the job. For example, you may have to stay late to help your boss prepare a presentation. Or you may have a long day due to business travel. These are realities of the working world. On the other hand, if you are able to finish all of your work and leave early every day, then you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Align your schedule to match your manager. If she or he arrives at nine each morning, aim to arrive at 8:45 a.m. It is a good way to get an early start on the day’s work.

8. You rarely receive feedback about your performance

Like it or not, feedback is a valuable tool in seeking to reach your potential. In fact, negative feedback is highly valuable because this comment tends to include suggestions to help you improve in the future. If you rarely receive feedback, you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Are you struggling to make use of feedback? Read 8 Ways To Receive Feedback And Turn Them Into Your Strengths.

9. You are working in a toxic environment

Some companies and departments are simply toxic – full of complainers, gossips and even worse. Unfortunately, being surrounded by negative people at work makes it difficult for you to grow yourself. In the short term, you can work on improving your attitude and staying positive. If the situation does not change after 6 months or more, it is time to start looking for a new opportunity.

Advertising

Tip: Discover if you are surrounded by toxic people and what you can do about them by reading 5 Types of Toxic Employees And How You Can Deal With Them.

10. You feel bored at work

It may be difficult to quantify, yet it is very important. If you feel bored at work, day after day, then you are probably not reaching your potential. If you feel bored once at the office, you might be tired. If you feel bored week after week, you are probably not reaching your potential.

Tip: Use the pushing boundaries strategy to expand your job; this is a great way to learn more skills and reach your potential.

Featured photo credit: Boring/Unsplash via pixabay.com

More by this author

Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is a Project Management Professional and Founder and CEO of Project Management Hacks.

8 Free Online Courses for People Who Love to Learn 10 Ways Successful People Achieve Their Goals 10 Signs You Have Created a Good Work-Life Balance Young Woman Reading Book 15 Inspiring Books Every Leader Should Not Miss 20 Life Hacks Put To The Test 20 Popular Life Hacks From the Internet Debunked (or Verified)

Trending in Work

1 10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable 2 Top 5 Easy-to-Use Accounting Software for Small Businesses 3 10 Best Success Books You Need to Read to Be Great at Business 4 16 Young And Successful Entrepreneurs Who Prove That Age Is Nothing but a Number 5 How to Use Visual Learning to Work More Effectively

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

Advertising

2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

Advertising

It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

Advertising

7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

Advertising

10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Read Next