Ladies, have you ever made a great point in a meeting, only for some guy to come along, parrot your idea two minutes later, and get all the credit? Have you ever started a thought to be cut off by a guy whose idea isn’t particularly better (but is particularly louder)?
These experiences can happen even in the best of workplaces. The guilty party usually has the best of intentions, and doesn’t even realize that he’s doing it. Here are some ways to make sure your contributions get heard, and to help create an environment where every voice is valued.
Call them out. If you’ve been working for weeks on a great new plan, and Johnny’s getting all the credit because he’s the one who brought it up in the meeting, don’t let him steal the spotlight. Speak up! A simple “hey, wasn’t that the initiative I brought up in the last team meeting? I’ve already started working on it” can be enough. If Andrew is getting pats on the back for repeating your idea in different words, you can let him know that he’s doing that – “How is this plan different from the one I proposed a few minutes ago?”
Finish your thought. You’re presenting something new, and there goes the new guy again, cutting you off mid-thought to offer his two cents. Since you can’t reinstate those “it’s my turn to talk” sticks from second grade, you can bring it to his attention that you were in the middle of speaking. “There are a few more points I need to make – can you hold that thought until I finish?” or “I’ll get to that in just a minute, but I wasn’t done covering this topic yet.”
Support each other. Building an environment where everyone’s voice is heard means having each other’s backs. If you hear someone taking credit for a peer’s work or cutting off a friend mid-sentence, stick up for them if they don’t feel comfortable sticking up for themselves. You can also shine a light on other women’s contributions – “I really liked Jenny’s idea,” or “Andrea brought up something in last week’s brainstorm that really made me think.” Let them know you’re listening!
Got any good tips for amplifying women’s voices in the workplace? Got any mansplaining horror stories? Share them with your friends on HearMeOut!