Today’s blog post deals with the common problem of “being heard”. Specifically I am going to share with you 5 strategic ways in which your voice can be heard in male-centric work environments.
Men and women are very different, I think we all know and can agree on that. In the workplace, this couldn’t be more obvious, and the main differences are that men are usually more cerebral and think, whereas women can be more emotional and feel. Given this innate sense to nurture and care for others puts us at a huge disadvantage at work. So it’s time to toughen up, break a few rules and start making people take notice of you.
#1 AWESOME communication skills
If you are not a confident and excellent communicator, you must become one….pronto! To be heard and understood, you absolutely must be able to speak clearly and listen effectively. Take communications and public speaking workshops if this is an area that you know needs work and refinement. It’s crucial to be able to express yourself professionally, confidently and accurately to small and large groups of people, so make this your first priority to master.
#2 Know your material
Before entering any dialogue with management or peers, you should be able to stand behind your work and know it inside out and back to front. Your knowledge must be solid for you to present with confidence and credibility. The worst thing you can say in a meeting or work situation when asked about your area of work is “I don’t know”.
#3 Be professional, not flirty
Flaunting your femininity may get you attention, but not in the boardroom. There is a time and a place to allow yourself to be a feminine woman but in a male-centric environment where you want to succeed and be recognized, just as much as your male counterparts, you need to keep this part of your womanhood in check or they may rip you to shreds and stereotype you. Highly successful women know not to giggle around men, wear provocative clothing or be touchy feely, because this behavior has been documented to result in fewer promotions and pay raises.
#4 Let them hear you…literally!
Interrupt, ask questions, agree, disagree, give your opinion. Do whatever you need to do, to literally be heard. Many women feel intimidated or feel they should be seen and not heard in male-dominated settings, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. You need to start to speak up. It can be daunting at first, but if you want to be heard you need to have something to contribute, so contribute. Stick to the facts, keep your contributions on topic, and try to avoid using “I”. Opt for we or my instead, it has a more team-centric feel to it.
#5 Out-perform your competition
One of the best ways to be heard is to out-perform any competition. If you’ve ever watched the Olympic Games, most people remember who came in first place, but rarely does anyone remember who placed second or third, despite being up on the podium. The same applies in your workplace. If you can consistently come in first place, suddenly your “voice” will be heard, by default. You have now given your boss a reason to trust you and turn to you for ideas and input.