How To Get People To Advocate For You At Work

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why an advocate is key to career advancement

How To Get People To Advocate For You AT Work

An advocate is someone who is on your side and is the person who will send an email or pick up the phone to help you get an interview or a lunch meeting.  An advocate doesn’t necessarily have to be your mentor, but sometimes these people are the same.  Having an advocate, or many advocates is the secret to career advancement.

building a path for visibility and career advancement

Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed Chairman at Citi Private Bank South Asia, Lung Nien Lee. 

They shared key tips and personal experiences on why finding an advocate is key to career advancement.  This Soulcast Media | LIVE event is brought to you by our amazing sponsors at NeedThat™

NeedThat™ is a modern independent publishing company that wants to cut through the noise of everyday consumerism.

The best products are the ones that are referred to us by our friends and family, people who we can trust. NeedThat is connecting our readers to make smarter and informed purchasing decisions.

So how do you find an advocate? During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Lung and Jessica discussed how they found advocates and became them for others.


1. How Can I Get An Advocate?

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica asked Lung how someone can find an advocate.  His response was – It’s very simple, make friends. Most people want to help, they really do.  Sure, there will be a few who aren’t interested, and that’s okay.  But the vast majority of people actually want to help others. 

But how do you start? See below for our tips:

Do your homework – Once you’ve identified someone who you’d like to get to know, find out what department they work in, what their job is.  Research them on LinkedIn or the internet to see what has been published about them. 

  • As for 10 minutes for coffee
  • Get to know someone
  • Find points of connectivity
  • Find points of interest

The key is to get to know this person, as a person.  Rather than immediately launching into what you want, take the time to get to know them. Otherwise, the person may feel used and unappreciated. It’s a process. 

People need to trust you before they can advocate for you.

People need to know who you are and actually like you before they can advocate for you. 

Network – It’s important to have a strong network within your organization. Having a strong network allows you to speak to other people within your organization and learn about what they do. If you have a friend at work, that’s your network. Expand from there. Part of knowing other people within your network is getting to know others outside of your department. 

As you network within your organization you will find bonds between yourself and others.  These bonds will help form real relationships. And these relationships are how you find advocates.


2. Small Talk

Small talk can help you network and meet new people. But what happens if you feel like you simply don’t have anything to talk about?  Or what if small talk is a struggle for you?   Small talk is a skill that can help you make those important connections and form bonds with people who will become your advocates. 

In order to engage in authentic small talk, you need to have broad interests.  This will help you connect with anyone. 

The more interesting you are, the more people will want to talk to you. 

advocate is key to career advancement and successDuring the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Lung gave a few ideas on what you can talk about when breaking the ice with someone for the first time. 

  • Food – Food is universal. Almost everyone has a specific opinion about food.  You can talk about a local restaurant you just visited or even one that you hope to visit.  Food is a great topic to break the ice.  And generally, it’s a non-controversial topic!
  • Music – Music, like food, is also universal.  You can talk about concerts you’ve been to or are hoping to go to.  
  • Weekend – Asking someone what they did that weekend is a great question.  You can also follow up with a little bit about your weekend. 
  • Weather – Really lost on what to say?  The weather can easily break the ice with anyone.  It may seem cliche but if you’re struggling and really want to make a connection – start with the weather. 

Having broad interests allows you to interact with many different people.  And these many different people can all become your advocates.  Only after they get to know you can they become your advocate. 

Because the truth is, an advocate is putting their own credibility on the line. 

If they don’t know you, it can make them look bad if you don’t live up to what they say about you. So be sure you are truly getting to know someone rather than expecting them to pick up the phone for you without even knowing you.


3. Visibility And Advocates

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, a question came in from the audience. The question was, How can you effectively increase the visibility of your accomplishments at work?

You need people on the team to share your good work.  It’s more effective for others to sing your praises than for you to boast about yourself.  

Having people on your team share your good work only works if they are able to know and see what you’ve done.  This is why, on top of building those important relationships, you need to have a visibility strategy set up for yourself. 

The people who know you and see what you are doing are going to be the ones who speak up for you when they see you doing well.  They will be championing you.  And when they point out something fantastic that you’ve done, it means so much more than if you simply share your accomplishments. 

Part of finding advocates is remembering to be an advocate.  Being a team player is key.  Not only talking about yourself and what you’ve done, but doing the same for other people.  You should do this without the expectation that they’ll do something for you in return. Building those important relationships will fastrack you for bigger career success. 

If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Lung’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
  2. Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
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