Great Idea Ms Jones… Would a Man Care to Say It?

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.

*Speak Up

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.

*For Speak Up course click here


Posted on November 2nd, 2011 by

3 Responses to “Great Idea Ms Jones… Would a Man Care to Say It?”

  1. Felicity says:

    Hi Jane – this is so true. This morning I was listening to ‘In Our Time’ on Radio 4. The astronomer Carolyn Crawford was asked by Melvyn Bragg for her view on something and gave a clear and well-informed response. Without invitation one of the two men on the programme (Paul) followed it by repeating everything she had already said! I couldn’t believe it, but was pleased when MB then quickly asked Carolyn for another contribution. One of the hazards of live broadcasting!

    • Jane says:

      It feels like it should be old hat but I hear it so many times! I work with a very senior woman who gets so frustrated by the frequency with which she’s ignored (or was until we began working on it!). Thanks for the comment, Dr Cooke!

  2. Shan Rees says:

    Commenting on your post, Jane. I think it best not to honour such idiocies with names, actually. Best for us women to focus on speaking authentically from our power, with conviction. And, rather than a feeble ‘Can I say something?’ I have something to say/contribute/’ The more of us who show up in our female power, the more folks will get used to it, the more women will do it and the more it will become the norm.Yay!! Thanks for the post.

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