Hack Male-Dominated Meetings

To succeed as a woman in a male-dominated industry you need to make yourself heard in meetings by building one-on-one rapport and to capture their attention by creating stronger transitions to your perspectives with questions, “and” transitions, paraphrasing, and by restating the problem.

How do you succeed as a woman in a male-dominated workplace?

One of the top challenges women face working in a male-dominated work environments is making themselves heard in meetings.

Being smart, having confidence about your views and abilities, and speaking up decisively in meetings are not enough to be heard in meetings when you are the only woman sitting at the table.

Here are 5 ways women can make themselves heard in male-dominated meetings.

1. Build one-on-one connections

People are more likely to listen to you and to value what you have to say in meetings with multiple people if you already have a meaningful positive relationship with them. People support those they like and trust.

That is why it helps to focus on building rapport one-on-one, so that you already have a personal connection with many of the people in the meeting.

2. Ask leading questions

Another way to get others to listen to you is to include them in the discovery of the solution by leading them to your answer with smart open-ended questions.

That way, others feel more engaged with the solution because they feel partly responsible for it. It also allows you to avoid missing any blind spots that could cause others to disengage, and disagree with someone who is more senior or has more experience than you.

Often leaders use targeted questions to guide their teams in the right direction. It won’t take away your merit because people will realize how thoughtful and intentional your questions were.

3. Build on what others say instead of opposing them

When you oppose, disagree, or share a contrarian view, people are more likely to ignore you if it makes them feel less smart or less powerful.

Instead, build on what other people say in meetings by supporting something they said while calling out their name and adding to it with “and.” For example, “Howard, what a great perspective on incorporating statistics, and we could also …”

4. Rephrase and add

Another variation of building and adding is to rephrase and add. By rephrasing you make them feel heard and understood. Then they would also be more likely to reciprocate by listening to what you have to say.

For example, you could say “Let me make sure I understand, you said …” Once they confirm, then you complement it with your perspective “and I’d add that … because …”

5. Restate the problem before sharing the solution

Another method of capturing people’s attention before you share a solution is to restate the common problem that everyone is trying to solve.

Once everyone agrees with the question, you can naturally build some suspense towards what you have to say next.

For example, “From what I understand our main challenge is to reduce cost by 5% in the next 10 days, right? If that is the problem we are looking to solve, we could …”

If you are the only woman on the team then building rapport and creating stronger transitions to your perspectives can help you get male colleagues to listen to you.

Find out more about how to engage others in meetings for every occasion with this free guide “15 actionable ways to participate more in meetings” here.




Ivna Curi is the founder of AssertiveWay.com, empowering professionals at work. Don’t give up on your dream career until you learn this: bit.ly/getrecognized1

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Ivna Curi

Ivna Curi

Ivna Curi is the founder of AssertiveWay.com, empowering professionals at work. Don’t give up on your dream career until you learn this: bit.ly/getrecognized1

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