We know that in an ideal world competence and credibility is measured by merit and not by gender. However we also know that we don’t live in an ideal world and many women often get interrupted or not taken seriously, especially in business environments. But that doesn’t mean you should accept that. It’s not an ideal world, but we can make it a little better – step by step – and it starts with you making your voice heard. Here’s 3 tips on how to stop getting interrupted.
- Assertive body language
If your body communicates shyness or insecurity, it’s more likely that you’ll get interrupted. And even if you do feel a bit shy or insecure, they don’t have to know that. Sit straight, do not lean back and don’t cross your legs. Hold your both hands on the table and look people straight in the eyes when talking to them. While speaking, gesture with your hands and make sure that you make eye contact with every person at the table and not just one.
- Speak loud and clear
When you decide to speak, make sure you speak loud enough so that everyone can hear you well. You don’t have to be smashing your fist against the table, but don’t mumble, speak clearly and state your position directly and openly. Don’t be shy – know that your opinion is equally worth as everyone else’s. After all, if you want others to take you seriously, you have to do it yourself first. Speak concisely, keep an orderly structure of what you’re saying and make it clear when you’re done speaking.
- “Allow me to finish”
If you do get interrupted, don’t give up without putting up a fight. Slightly raise your hand toward the person and say “let me just finish what I was saying” or “I wasn’t done speaking” and keep talking. Make sure to do it politely and respectfully, but also to show that you demand respect just as well. Even if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up. Try again next time. But whatever you do, keep it respectful and gracious. If you lose your temper, you’re letting them win.
P.S. I got the inspiration for this article when I was in gym today. There we have posters of big strong men like Mike Tyson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Thomas Humberg, but also of two women – Rose Namajunas and Paige VanZant. Personally I look up to these strong women just as much as to men. Men need female role models and women need them even more. So make your voice be heard and be a role model for others.
Happy Women’s Day.