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How to make sure you don’t get talked over by a man, like Hillary

Here's how to channel your inner Hillary Clinton and not let 'manterrupting' bring you down...

Whether it’s at at home, at work or with friends, learning how to make yourself heard and avoiding being talked over by men, is key.

Barbara Kasumu, 29, CEO of award winning social enterprise Elevation Networks and founder of Visible Women reveals how to use your voice, and body to project yourself in any setting.

1.    Be Confident in who you are and what you know.
Confidence is key in all aspects of life, but especially when it comes to speaking. Your confidence through this authenticity will earn you success in any meeting, conversation, or interaction. Trust yourself and confidence will quickly become second nature.

2.    Stick to the facts. Substance should come before everything.
It’s absolutely ok to take a few seconds to think about what you’re about to say, and to consider how you’re choosing to say it. In fact, this pause often makes for more effective and powerful speaking, as the content is naturally more accurate and succinct. Remind yourself of this, and of the key facts in place before you open your mouth and you won’t go wrong from here.

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3.    Don’t make it personal.
Remember to address the comments not the person, especially when confronted with a frustrating personality. However they may choose to say it, remember it’s the content not the delivery that requires the response, and that you have the power and flexibility to respond with the right energy suitable to the content, and not the volume or style in which you have been approached.

4.    Remain calm and stay in control.
Don’t become a blubbering mess or a shrinking violet, either extreme can jeopardize your confidence and clarity, not to mention the intelligence and construction of your argument. Take a deep breath and remember that a controlled and measured tone of voice and pace of speech will be more powerful than anything else in conveying your argument, or in leading the discussion.

5.    No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Don’t give them the power to do this. Your opposition is only as big as you choose them to be and although the boardroom, or any workplace hierarchy, makes for an easy space for them to feel bigger, you wouldn’t be there if someone didn’t think you had input worth listening to. Think about your credentials and the reasons that you are where you are. Your opinion and influence is just as important as everyone else present, and given everyone else in the room knows that, you should too.

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6.    Pick your battles carefully.
Remember to always diffuse and sway. Try not to be drawn in on petty arguments. Instead, try to assert your professionalism through re-establishing the actual issue being discussed. Often I find rephrasing the topic can help draw attention back to where it should be in a subtle and sophisticated way, diffusing any growing tension and effectively managing the situation without aggression or emotion. This sort of situational management will make you stand out from the crowd and place you at an advantage in any team environment.

7.    Lead the conversation.
An easy way to own the conversation for yourself can be by asking the questions that provide the format for the conversation. I’m a strong believer that knowledge is power and you can prove this by guiding the conversation for yourself. Remember that the person that speaks the most in a meeting or conversation isn’t necessarily the one that is in control or winning. In fact, often they are the least in control (see above, blubbering violet). Small, effective and well-considered contributions such as questions that flip the issue on its head, or that ask the person questioning to answer something for themselves, can often have the furthest impact.

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