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"Cues" to give people to show them I'm not to be ignored!

(98 Posts)
benid Wed 22-Jan-14 17:31:22

I didnt want to derail the thread about the work conference but I was Interested in what dusk said about "cues" to give out to avoid being overlooked/ignored.. Did you mean physical or verbal cues and do you have any effective ones you'd recommend? I have a small work function coming up where I'll be the only woman present. I tend to switch off/tune out from the desperate boring golf chat on these occasions, but it would certainly help my 'profile' if I engaged more. I do have stuff to say and can chat to the Menz grin confidently one-to-one but get bypassed in dinner-table chat iykwim. Any advice to help me advance the cause of women in my organisation grin by helping me to take a bigger part in the function ?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CailinDana Wed 22-Jan-14 20:51:00

You have to believe you're worth listening to and project that. Don't self deprecate or back down, push into the conversation and claim your place. Forget about being polite or charming - women are only required to aspire to those qualities as it keeps them meek and quiet. If someone makes a sexist or dismissive remark ask them to repeat it, twice then ignore.

DrinkFeckArseGirls Wed 22-Jan-14 20:55:21

Ooh, good advice Cailin. I will certainly use that. I yend to try to be polite and not to offend, but it makes me angry inside

TheDoctrineOf2014 Wed 22-Jan-14 22:47:30

Don't flame me but...Think of one of your male colleagues whose style you respect and think about the phrases he uses. I know I can be a bit diffident in my phrasing and try to cut out the "doubt" that conveys.

I do this with emails - write them then "de-please" them - switching "perhaps we should" to "let's do" type thing. It helps me, at least!

AnyFucker Wed 22-Jan-14 22:52:16

eye contact

keep your voice even, but insistent

if interuppted, say "that is interesting, we can come back to it later if there is time" then get back on track

don't stand on the fringes of a group, walk into it and nod encouragingly even if you don't have anything to add

some stuff on assertive body language

DuskAndShiver Wed 22-Jan-14 23:02:14

Great thread. I will watch and learn.
There is a thing I can sometimes pull off that you do when someone tries to interrupt you that makes them give up and look like a twat. Works best in meetings, doesn't work at informal times as they just shout over you anyway.
Another meetings rather than dinners thing to do is sortof chair, to keep the conversation about what you want it to be about. When someone tries to derail note it and get back to your thing, you can do this in a friendly way but it puts you in control and highlights that you are in control. I guess that is what AF said.
They are my only 2 things, I want to learn more things. Share, wise women!

FloraFox Thu 23-Jan-14 03:02:55

Yes, all of the above. I find those situations very difficult but it helps to analyse (not necessarily copy) the style of a particular confident sounding colleague. It's amazing when you realise how much your language is diffident and pleasing, as Doctrine says, when compared with men's language. You don't need to act like a man but you need to find an authoritative style that works for you.

I grew up in a community of big families and competitive banter. If you wanted to have your say without being interrupted, you would need to stick to the point and not ramble but if someone tried to interrupt, you could put your hand up, smile briefly and say "hang on a sec". I find that works well in social situations. Don't feel obliged to say something on every topic, if they are boring on about golf, move to a different group. Don't be afraid to pre-prepare something you want to talk about so you can initiate conversations. Men I know who are considered rainmakers do this.

Also, don't think about this function as the be all and end all of these interactions. These are likely to be people you will encounter for years. You don't need to win all the battles at this particular function. If you can put a stake in the ground as someone interesting and confident, you can build on that in the next function.

DuskAndShiver Thu 23-Jan-14 11:53:46

Socially, I think it is important to own the space. If there are drinks out, and you want one, take one, or offer them around and then take one. Don't assume subconsciously (as I do) that they are for the "real guests" or the "important people" and hold back. If you want to move something that is in your way, move it, or if the sun is in your eyes dazzling you, say something like "can we move a little out of this light?" or "would you mind pulling the blind across?" (if you can't reach it). It makes you (by which I mean me!) look junior and intimidated when you put up with things that are making you uncomfortable. I do things like this all the time and either it puts me off my stroke because I can't see or something, or else I feel an arse because someone notices and says "Oh sorry can I move that for you" and I burble "oh it's alright" which is like saying "Don't mind me, I don't matter anyway, I have no useful contribution so what does it matter if a table leg is stabbing my foot"

benid Thu 23-Jan-14 12:29:32

Hullo all.. thanks for the responses. Quickly checking in to say I appreciate them all very much.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 23-Jan-14 13:22:39

The biggest thing I think women do is apologise too much. And frame things as feelings. This is socialised, but very destructive to your professional authority.

Do not be afraid to chip in and don't apologise. "That is very interesting my perspective is/it reminds me of a study on Y" is still perfectly polite, but avoids that half hearted joining in women are particularly prone to.

Also, in a discussion at work, I never 'feel'. I always think, or have a perspective, or a view. This was taught to me by my wonderful first female boss and I think it makes a difference.

Also, don't be afraid to steer conversation away from topics that are male dominated. Natter, natter, natter about golf (assuming you don't play). So you make some comment like "Golf has never appealed to me really, who was it said that it was a good walk spoiled. But I love going running in the early morning and I suppose some of it is the same appeal." and with any luck you are off at a tangent.

Powerful men also often do that thing where they act like they are hosting even though they aren't. As a women you have to careful not to come across as waiting staff, or flirting, but the whole "I think I saw some food over there, shall we go and check it out." can work quite well if you are speaking to someone very informally and want to keep the conversation going a bit.

DuskAndShiver Thu 23-Jan-14 13:33:06

Yep, you want to watch how helpful you are.
When I was working in TV, a slightly biggish star blew me away by siezing the heavy equipment I was carrying and running to the top of the stairs with it so I didn't have to lug it up. I luffs him ever since, of course, but it was in a way a demonstration of privilege - being so grand and respected that no act of kindness can be misinterpreted or demean you. I am not at that level, clearly, and actually (this may just be me being a dick) it pisses me off when I am travelling in a working capacity and I get poor-ish service. I am not sure when I am being a dick or when it is ok to say to the (male, over-friendly) hotel receptionist, "Thanks, but I didn't want the number, I am just about to take another call, could you call the cab for me please?"

In that case I think it is justified (because if you are really about to take a work call, and you are travelling for work, that should be your priority and you really can't do both and get to where you need to go) but in more general terms I do sometimes find myself thinking "would you say that to a man?" about service and not knowing where it is leading (to me being a prima donna pain the arse? or not)

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 23-Jan-14 13:44:31

My personal experience is that it does happen to men a lot, but they don't necessarily analyse it. So, receptionist hands over phone number. Man doesn't actually correct it as an error, or wonder whether he should be making the call himself. He just responds with "Great. Could you call them and say I'll be in the foyer" or whatever.

WilsonFrickett Thu 23-Jan-14 15:29:10

Have things to talk about - read up on your industry news or the FT, or be aware of the new product, or whatever - so that when the talk does turn to golf, you have something else to talk about.

Don't get drunk. I know it's a double standard, I know, I know. But I giggle when I get drunk and that's not the impression I want to convey.

Don't get involved in handing things out, or otherwise 'playing mum'.

Call out anything that's sexist or patronising; don't be one of the boys. A 'that's interesting, did you mean to be quite so... what's the word I'm looking for, oh yeah, sexist' with a big grin has worked for me, both in terms of shutting down a sexist conversation and moving the conversation on.

PenguinsDontEatKale Thu 23-Jan-14 15:48:52

On the drinking topic, if you want to drink alcohol but be careful, I find a good tip is to be a couple of drinks behind other people. Arrive at venue and say you'll go for something non-alcoholic first (especially if the thing being handed round is sparkling). Thirst is a good explanation if in one of 'those' environments. Drink it slowly or have two. By the time you move onto wine, most people will have had one or two drinks quite quickly. You will be more sober than the non-drinkers and can use the point where they seem to be getting tipsy as a reminder to yourself to stop before that point.

Depending on your sphere, articles in the FT or economist can be useful 'up the sleeve' topics for dry moments I agree. Industry publications obviously for those in non-businessey areas.

Yes, yes, yes to not getting pushed into the admin role if that isn't your job.

Hogwash Thu 23-Jan-14 16:02:19

There's a cartoon my husband refers to (I've just had a google but can't find it right now) showing a male dominated group at a board-type meeting. One of the women makes a point and the chair says 'good point Ms x, but let's have one of the men make it'.

I know I've been in situations when I have said something sensible and pertinent, only to have a male make the same point a little while later and receive more positive feedback.

Someone I know has a daughter who has recently completed her PhD in an area that is very male dominated. She recently attended a conference and was reprimanded when she went to collect her coffee - it turned out that everyone assumed she was one of the catering staff!

woodrunner Thu 23-Jan-14 16:04:46

I think first impressions count a lot in work situations. go into the meeting, into the centre of the main group, make eye contact, shake hands and introduce yourself/job title/company. that gives no one a chance to think you can be sidelined. Listen, contribute, and add a bit of dry humour.

Also, if people are banging on in meetings, listen and say nothing, until you've worked out something really strong and succinct to say then come in at the end of the conversation. Better to be the last one in with the defining comment, than first in and shot down.

Hogwash Thu 23-Jan-14 16:05:13

Also meant to say that when working in male dominated environments I tended to keep things to the point and factual and completely lost the 'fluff' I may use in everyday conversation.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DuskAndShiver Thu 23-Jan-14 16:22:46

Hogwash - "One of the women makes a point and the chair says 'good point Ms x, but let's have one of the men make it'." - So recognisable - I bet everyone on this thread has been that woman a hundred times. But does anyone know what you do about it?
I am not sure whether it looks unnecessarily chippy and defensive to say, "yes, as I said before that is definitely a good strategy for x y z" - or what do you say? - or do you just leave it?

Penguins - yes I totally recognise what you are saying there about just men just saying what they want to happen as many times as necessary without the self doubt. this is the thing to do, one for next time

AnyFucker Thu 23-Jan-14 16:23:10

Don't make any risque comments in an attempt to be "one of the lads"

If you are not a naturally funny person don't go for humour at all. You will feel shit if it falls flat

Hogwash Thu 23-Jan-14 16:26:12

DuskAndShiver - no strategy - used to sit and seeth, personally! - and knock that person off my Christmas card list - I hate that sort of political behaviour. But, yes, 'yes, as I said before that is definitely a good strategy for x y z' would have been more appropriate!

StealthPolarBear Thu 23-Jan-14 16:34:52

Thanks for this thread. Marking place assertively.
As long as youre sure you dont mind me being here....thanks....bye....sorry again

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hogwash Thu 23-Jan-14 17:12:37

Stealth [girly giggle]

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