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“The female may have a point, but it’s always the men in the room that have the last word.” This was during an “over the lunch table conversation” at office with a couple of colleagues.
How many of us have left a meeting with the feeling like, “Did I really get my point across?” or “That was my idea, but why did it end up sounding like it was his brainwave?”
So is it true? Is it actually men who dominate the meeting rooms? A lot of us would argue that it depends on the individuals around you, the type of organization you work for, and of course, the kind of individual you are. Here are some tips that will help you irrespective of these above factors.
Know what you want to say!
Research your facts before entering the meeting. You’ll be able to put forward your thoughts more confidently if you have done your background research. As women, we are conditioned to remember multiple things at the same time. The same goes for the data. Most of the times women remember numbers and figures more accurately than men, and are totally capable of presenting it in a better manner. And there comes the second tip.
Keep your data at hand and in a presentable form
This is absolutely essential. It makes sure that everyone knows what you have worked on, or what you have researched. If it’s an idea you are presenting, it’s best to have a prototype or a presentation. When they see it, it registers in a better manner than when they hear it. Also remember to have facts, figures and notes jotted down to answer any questions that might pop up.
A lot of women don’t speak up in meetings at all. Even though we might have done our background research much better than all the men sitting in the room put together and might be surer of our facts, yet when we present them, we just don’t sound convincing enough. As opposed to men who can present half the same data with double the conviction. Ask questions, clarify doubts, and don’t be afraid to contradict if you know something is not right. And when you speak, make sure you are heard.
Know when to shut up
This is actually as important as speaking up, and is for women who do speak up! Women are judged faster at meetings than a male peer. Sometimes the meeting may just not head the way it ought to. And the conversation is not at all what you had intended it to be. If you just cannot bring the conversation round, know when to retract from it; unless of course you are leading it. Pressing on when you know it’s a lost cause will only earn you reputation as a pain.
Every person is different and every woman has a different approach to work. Women generally have a knack for bringing in a new perspective to the table. Tapping into this talent can only improve things. It’s time people in the boardrooms realized this too.
Founder @Tell-A-Tale - I gobble stories and spit out new ones everyday; travel addict,
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