OK, I know it’s a cliché but sadly it’s a cliché that still rings true for women in the professional world. Woman get overlooked and over talked and our ideas ‘stolen’. That’s not my prejudices coming out there; that’s the results of almost every piece of research looking at workplace interactions.
Every time I read something or hear someone I’m working with make that comment (or express that sentiment) I wonder how can this still be true? There are lots of differences in the way men and women communicate. One is not better than the other, at least not in my book; we need both styles to have a representative society that works for the majority, not 50% (Or only works when the other 50% adopt the style of the dominant 50%). The world is comprised of men and women, roughly in equal numbers, yet one style of communication has been set as the bar, the standard all are judged by.
I’ve read masses of research and books on this topic and generally speaking no great surprises are revealed. The circumstances vary but in summary, women talk less than men in meetings, get listened to less and yet the perception is that women talk more. Which says volumes about how women’s talk is regarded.
As a professional woman what can you do? Well, being aware is part of the answer. Take time to notice how you speak in mixed groups. Do you hedge your language with ifs, and buts and placatory ‘I’m sorry to interrupt’? Is ‘sorry’ an over used word in your repertoire?
You can’t control what others may do or say, but you can control you. Speak with confidence, expect to be listened to, give that message in all the language you use, bodily and verbally. Your words need to be congruent with every other piece of information you’re giving. And remember, if you don’t have confidence in yourself, and in what you’re saying, no one else will.
RenewYou is my one day confidence boosting course for women available across UK and internationally. Click here to find out more.
Posted on November 2nd, 2011 by Jane