Women on average get interrupted 60% more than men in the workplace!! And when it comes to decision making men are 75% more vocal.
I think all women have been in a situation (maybe even every day) where they feel like they have to battle to get their voice heard.
Being constantly interrupted by men or ‘manterrupted’ (often without them even realising they are doing it) naturally quietens you and can make you lose confidence. And, don’t even get me started when a co-worker blatantly takes credit for an idea you have already pitched!
But this even happens to the smartest and most capable woman, as you can see in this frustrating (yet funny) clip below.
No matter who you are this naturally causes self doubt or that sinking feeling to set in.
So to avoid spiralling in to self doubt here are some tips to stop interruptions and to help you speak out so you’re heard.
I’m sure you’ve come across The Boys Club in the workplace. A group of men who have so much banter, take any opportunity to pat each other on the back and beat their chests. I’ve been in too many meetings where I’ve entered the man’s den and felt almost invisible as they talk about football, rugby and only acknowledge each others views. But I’ve never come across women joining together and becoming a force to be reckoned with.
It’s time to create your own ‘Girl Power’. Connect and build more relationships with your female colleagues. Encourage each other, stand up for each other, re-enforce their opinions if you agree in a meeting, give each other credit in front of men and help each other interject if you know one of you is trying to make a point.
Call out if someone takes credit for yours or another’s idea
This may be the most difficult to do, but perhaps one of the most important. If you’re in a situation where someone starts repeating yours or someone else idea as if it was their own, instead of starting simmer inside speak up.
Simply state when they have finished that ‘it’s great you agree with my/Jane’s view/idea because…. ’ and take back control.
Own the room
Getting your body language and the way you communicate right, can do wonders for helping your voice be heard. If you have a seat at the table you deserve to be there, so start with reminding yourself that before you walk in to any room.
When you take your place at the table, pull your chair in and lean forward on the desk. This automatically gives you presence and indicates you are here and want to be heard. Also, ensure you win each attendees eye contact from the very start. Yes, eyeball them all. This again reinforces your position and confidence. Don’t hide behind your laptop or constantly look down making notes. Try to start owning the room. These may all be small things but will straight away change the dynamic in the room to focus more on you. Even if you don’t think you have anything to say let your presence be felt, because when you do they’ll be ready to listen to you.
Manage your delivery
One thing which tripped me up for years was how I communicated my point of view. I think I almost felt like I had to justify everything I had to say, meaning I often would end up rambling or give too much detail.
A way to get over this is try to condense and be concise in what you say. Statements always have more impact than long paragraphs and you can always follow up with detail once your audience is intrigued. Today I always try and stick to the power of 3. Make 3 short points and leave them wanting more. Also, by using shorter sentences it reduces your natural pauses for breath, reducing the risk of being interrupted. But make sure you always speak with force and never find your self whispering.
Another thing that even I find frustrating is when anyone makes any kind of an apology when they start speaking. ‘I hope you don’t mind”, ‘If you wouldn’t mind”, ‘i’m sorry’. This automatically weakens your position and authority to all that listens, almost inviting them to shut you down or dismiss your view. You have a right to speak, the same as anyone else. Never apologies.
Finally, watch your language. Try to use as many words that have conviction, like ‘know’ instead of believe’. And definitely stay clear of any ‘maybe’s’.
I hope this helps,
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