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RISMEDIA, June 17, 2009-(MCT)-Your manager is running around putting out fires. You need his or her attention, in a positive way. What do you do?

Communication in this hectic time of restructuring and surviving the tough economy has become especially difficult. Experts say there are actions employees can, and should take, to raise their profile with the boss in these changing times.

“Because of the threat of layoffs, people are fearful so the tendency is to keep our heads down, nose to the grindstone,” said Ruth Sherman, a communications consultant who blogs for and is author of Get Them to See it Your Way, Right Away.

Lying low is the wrong approach, Sherman said.

“You’ve got to find ways to let your boss know what you’re doing and what you’ve accomplished,” she said.

Joan Ciferri, president of David Wood Personnel in West Palm Beach, Fla., said there are two approaches to being the “last” employee: Fly under the radar or show you’re indispensable – willing to do anything it takes for the company to succeed.

That means knowing more about the company than the scope of your job and offering to help with projects, Ciferri said.

If you keep too low of a profile, your work may not be recognized. Someone on your team may even take credit for your work, Sherman said.

Staff meetings are an opportunity. While many workers prefer to avoid staff meetings, look at them as an opportunity to deliver your message of accomplishment. Just make sure it’s tied to the company’s goals.

“There’s a difference between bragging and self-promotion,” Sherman said. “Self-promotion is what’s in it for the team.”

Jot down notes before the meeting and mention one or two items to let people know about your contributions and how they’ve benefited the company.

Keep your boss informed. Bring home trade journals from work and subscribe to Internet feeds that keep you up on what’s going on in your industry or profession.

When you find relevant information, e-mail your boss with the link. Be sure to change the subject line to something that is compelling so your boss will open it, Sherman said.

If your boss doesn’t read the e-mail, you could pop your head into his or her office and ask, “Did you happen to see that article?” Have a copy in your hands, just in case.

Meet face to face or pick up the phone and call.

Too often, we sit in our cubicles or offices and e-mail, instant message or text each other. Face-to-face communication increases the impact of the message. Your facial expressions and speech pattern can make a more lasting impression than an e-mail.

If you work remotely from your boss, pick up the phone occasionally and call. Even a voice message increases communication because he or she can hear the inflections in your voice, Sherman said.

Invite the boss to lunch. Perhaps you can’t get your supervisor’s attention on a project. Suggest lunch. If there’s not time or money to go out, bring the sandwiches. “Make it so the boss doesn’t have to do anything but sit there,” she said.

Join the company softball or bowling team. Or, participate in the golf outing or charity event.

“Get to know your bosses on another level and let them get to know you,” Sherman said.

Ciferri said socializing with colleagues outside the workplace is a great idea. Take it one step further and join the organizations that matter to your company and its values.

If you do find yourself in the job market, then at least “you have a great network of people,” she said.

©2009, Sun Sentinel.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.