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Sofia, 34 years old, asks: »I work in a purely male domain. I am not heard in the meetings. I bring up an idea, nobody reacts. If a colleague brings up exactly this idea, of course as his own, one on one later in the meeting, it will be approved as if I hadn't said anything. What can I do to be heard? "
Sofia, 34 years old, asks: »I work in a purely male domain.
I am not heard in the meetings.
I bring up an idea, nobody reacts.
If a colleague brings up exactly this idea, of course as his own, one on one later in the meeting, it will be approved as if I hadn't said anything.
What can I do to be heard? "
There is a great deal that you can do, provided you are willing to put aside the understandable annoyance about it and step into the ring.
Perhaps the following comments will help on the curiosity of gender-specific communication, which makes life difficult for many women in the male world.
Knowing this can make it easier for you not to take it personally and withdraw, but to see it as a challenge and to move forward with your ideas undeterred.
To understand: The differences in communication between men and women are serious.
Even in childhood, they learn different forms of communication without being aware of it, according to research by sociolinguist Deborah Tannen.
The boys learn a vertical language, which is mainly about checking the group status and clarifying who is the stronger.
This also applies to a meeting.
It's about the game of measuring and challenging yourself.
The idea is then chased away from someone.
Very sporty, of course.
Girls, on the other hand, tend to practice horizontal language behavior aimed at strengthening relationships and balancing interests.
Not standing out in the group, being like among equals, is meaningful.
Good for the social structure, unfavorable when it comes to standing out with an idea or a statement.
In a study, Deborah Tannen examined the differences in the proportions of conversations between men and women in a professional environment.
She found that men take up a much larger space with their contributions in meetings.
While women speak more quietly and keep themselves brief, men speak more often and make their contributions much longer.
They take up space, acoustically and in terms of time.
Communication and a high proportion of speeches are status symbols and proof of power.
Men use the "shame-free" option, while women more often hold back and do not want to take up much space - out of fear of appearing too dominant or uncooperative.
All of this happens unconsciously and with no malicious intent.
However, the effect is exactly what you describe in your everyday life.
Your ideas are not heard, ignored or simply hijacked.
You write that you no longer want to accept that.
Here comes your plan!
Choose the timing carefully
Above all, do not present your idea at the beginning of a meeting.
At the beginning there is the determination of the ranking among the participants.
Only when the pecking order scramble is over does calm return and content is heard.
You should therefore wait the first few minutes before submitting your idea.
Of course you should mix in the time, just without running out of powder.
Take your time
Speak loudly and slowly.
The voice automatically becomes deeper.
That strengthens your position.
Carry out your idea calmly.
Use numbers, data and facts.
Men are more likely to dock on facts and factual arguments.
Present your idea in a personalized way
"How about if we ...?" Is non-binding and leaves the idea owner open.
Do not formulate as a question, but as an unmistakable, personalized announcement, such as “I am in favor of….!” Reason 1, 2, 3.
"Who will agree with my idea?" Avoid the subjunctive: words such as could, should, would relativize your own idea and invite you to ignore it.
Support your proposal with your expertise
Do not say "From my point of view ..." but "Our successful campaign shows that ..."
Address your ideas to the decision maker
Following the idea of ranking, the highest status is also the most important thing in order to make YOUR idea a reality.
Get your idea back
If someone takes your idea for you, make it clear immediately.
For example: »It's great that you support MY idea!
I'll go through the advantages of my suggestion again «or» I am pleased that MY idea has your approval! «
Interrupt calmly and don't let yourself be interrupted
Women find interruptions impolite.
In the heat of the moment, men often think nothing of it.
Try it out and just slide into the conversation.
If you are interrupted again and again in the presentation of your thoughts, have a master sentence ready, for example "Now I'm talking!" Or "Lord ... I will be happy to listen to you when I have finished!" You can also use a very effective non-verbal technique Communication: Underline your announcement by holding out your right hand like a policewoman stopping traffic.
Take up space visually
Stand in virtual meetings.
They are bigger inside and out.
In face-to-face meetings, choose a prominent seat, if possible at the head end.
Have enough material such as folders and notebooks ready - this will also enlarge your area.
Dear Sofia, the bottom line: just go ahead and speak up.
Loud and wide.
They want to be respected, not loved.
Take all the speaking time you are entitled to.
Words mean perception and power.
The power to bring your good ideas to life and put your label on them.
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