What does your voice sound like? – Most women err on the softer, quitter sound. You need to make sure that people can actually hear you. It’s a common occurrence to be constantly shhhhed as a child, being told to use your quiet voice, & keep your opinions to yourself.
Unfortunately, these traits become engrained in adulthood.
Softening your voice is often rooted in women’s fear of offending, of stepping out of line, or interrupting. We downplay our significance, our value and our worth by broadcasting our ideas in such a passive quite voice.
I don’t think I’ve ever asked a man to speak up in one of my classes or even in conferences. Ever. Yet, every meeting I’m in there’s always the obligatory “quiet talker,” and she’s always 100% of the time a woman.
Stop asking permission to speak. Ever utter the phrase “Mind if I interrupt here?” or “Perhaps I can add something here…” Why not just say it. Why not just state your opinion, or share your thoughts without asking for permission like you’re in grade school.
Stop apologizing before or after you speak. NEVER apologize before you speak “Sorry to interrupt, but I just wanted to add….”. And NEVER apologize after you speak “Sorry if that was long winded….sorry if I took up too much time with my question.” UGH! Just stop apologizing. Just know that every single time you apologize you’re demoting yourself in the eyes of your employer and potential clients.
Strengthen your language. Women often rely on qualifying words like “like “maybe, perhaps, a little bit, I’m not sure, we could try, probably, it’s almost, sort of, hopefully, I guess, I hope, I’ll try, I trust that….” –Change these words to “I know. I will. I can. I have. We should do this. We have achieved this. This is a good idea.” See the difference? You went from sounding like a worker to looking like a leader.
Leave your emotions out of it. You’re not “grateful” or “thankful” or “appreciative”. Just say “thank-you” if you receive a compliment. That’s all you need to say.
Get to the point! – Holy crap, why are so many women ramblers?! Stop. Just get to the point. There’s nothing like a long-ass meeting or conference call to make the weak speakers stand out. No one wants to hear your rambling story about how you found the new client, how traffic was a killer this morning, your allergies, head cold or muscle cramps. Seriously. Just get to the point, and then stop talking. Honestly, I’m trying to help you here, and we need to sound as articulate, direct, thoughtful and confident as we can in EVERY situation. So, please stop oversharing.