Let’s be honest.
Do you sometimes feel that you are invisible at your workplace? Do you sometimes feel that your opinions aren’t valued and heard? Do you sometimes hesitate to voice your opinions for the fear of the backlash you may face?
I’m sure many of you are nodding your head in agreement.
But, the #1 rule for career advancement is simple: be heard and be seen.
You might feel your opinions aren’t taken into consideration. Or your ideas and perspectives are ignored. If you are a working woman, I’m sure you can relate to this. But it’s 2021. And its high time we don’t let this slide.
Here’s how you can make sure your voice is taken seriously. These simple steps will allow you to take the first step towards a gender-agnostic workplace where your ideas matter and opinions are noticed.
1. Value Yourself
Communication depends a lot on confidence, isn’t it? We have often heard “Confidence is the key in communication”. Though it may sound clichéd, it is true. Confidence allows you to speak concisely and with clarity. Confidence comes from believing in our own abilities – we have to first trust and value ourselves. This does not mean you to be arrogant or rude.
But it simply suggests that you don’t undermine your talents and abilities. Don’t brush away praise when you get credit for your work. Don’t forget that you are a valuable asset to the company. We agree it may not be easy to feel this way when you are constantly undervalued. But this is exactly why you should invest in your capabilities.
Building your abilities serves as a huge advantage as this will make your invaluable for the company and they would be nervous about losing you to competitors. Make smart choices so that your workplace values your presence. Be so good that others will have no choice but to give you credit and value you.
2. Open Up
Once you feel confident about yourself, the next step is to open up. Introduce your ideas and thoughts during meetings. Don’t kill your own ideas by not sharing them with others.
You will feel sidelined if you don’t interact with your colleagues. Women often tend to stay quiet and focus only on their work. It’s important to build relationships and show up fully as an engaged person in the team. We can’t blame others if we don’t take an initiative for our voices to be heard.
A pro-tip to get started: Listen to the conversation and ask meaningful questions and offer solutions instead of problems. Feeling shy or awkward to speak up? Just think about the worst-case scenario that will happen if you voice out. Even if it isn’t your best idea, speaking out is better than staying silent.
3. Choose your words carefully
It’s common for women to speak out by using devaluing language. Examples for the same include “I just want to give an opinion on…”, “I guess I did not mean….”, “Sorry for bothering you, but I wanted to…”.
Avoid using words like sorry, just, guess. These words reflect uncertainty and apprehension. Learn to converse like your ideas are a valuable input to the conversation and not an interruption.
Use firmer phrases like “What I believe is that…” and similar sentences. This will give your ideas and opinions a strong stand. A tweak in your conversation style may work wonders on how your company perceives you.
In a Nutshell
Today, a lot of companies are trying to make solid efforts to promote gender equality. However, when it comes to raising their voices or communicating their ideas, women find it difficult to do so. But this world won’t change unless you do. A small initiative from your end can make a huge difference. We believe women don’t need to change their voices to be heard and taken seriously at work. All it requires is to believe in yourself and use the superpower that you already have in you!