Women have been in the workplace for quite some time now, but sometimes it’s still hard to make our voices heard or to be taken seriously by our colleagues.
If this is something that resonates with you, keep reading for some advice on how to establish yourself in the workplace and demonstrate your true ability to your coworkers.
Socialise with your Colleagues
Building relationships at work is a really effective way to make the workplace a more comfortable environment for yourself and for others.
Having a sociable atmosphere around the office makes it a lot easier to ask someone for help or troubleshoot a problem without running into any awkwardness.
A good way to do this is to initiate casual conversation with colleagues you run into throughout the day - start by asking questions about their day or a task they’re working on, and, if they seem open to it, you can progress into light but more personal topics by asking about their hobbies or a partner. You can also offer information about yourself to open up the conversation by mentioning a book you’re reading or some car trouble you ran into on the way in, for example. Conversation is give and take!
Tip: avoid engaging in conversation with people who look particularly engrossed in their work and have earphones in, as they may not wish to be bothered at that time!
If you find yourself connecting well with certain colleagues, you could even organise an informal social event outside of work by inviting them for coffee or cocktails - depending on the vibe.
Take Credit for Your Ideas
A lot of women experience our ideas being spoken over and ignored in meetings, only for a man or a more senior colleague to speak up with the same idea and receive praise for it.
In these situations, it’s important to keep your cool but also to not allow others to take credit for your ideas. A good way to handle that situation is to agree with the person speaking while referencing your original point.
For example: “Thanks for building on my prior point, John, I think this will be a fitting solution to our problem. Perhaps we can work together on developing this.”
This response shows a positive attitude and a willingness to collaborate, while still emphasising that this was your idea.
The fastest way to make progress at work is to impress.
If you want to succeed at work, it’s important to be prepared. This way, you will be able to present well thought out ideas while also being in the prime position to think on your feet when the conversation moves onto unexpected topics.
Go into every meeting armed with all of the information you need as well as having already considered possible problems that could arise and potential solutions to these. If you need a starting point for this, a SWOT analysis template may be helpful.
For less effort-heavy preparation, small things like knowing clients’ and colleagues names and remembering details about them are also good little signals to those around you that you are personable and switched on. Studies show that using somebody’s first name subconsciously builds a connection between you and them, as well as allowing you to hold their attention.
Another effective way to be prepared for any situation at work, is to make sure your body and mind are feeling their best. Our Collagen Hot Chocolate is tailored to help you get a good night’s sleep, which is crucial for focus and energy, whilst allowing the collagen peptides to strengthen your joints, boost your skin elasticity and hydration, and promote healthy hair and nails.
If you are finding male colleagues in particular explaining concepts to you that someone at your level should already know, it may be because they are engaging in something called ‘mansplaining’ - when a man assumes a woman must not know something despite this not being indicated.
This is largely due to how we are socialised, and the male colleague in question isn’t necessarily a bad guy, but that doesn’t make it less irritating!
Handling this can be tricky, as you don’t want to cause offence to a colleague who thinks they are trying to help. Direct but polite reminders that you are already familiar with the concepts they are trying to explain can help them recognise that they are underestimating you without hurting their feelings.
If this doesn’t stop the mansplaining, then you can follow this up by stating you will ask if you are uncertain about something but otherwise do not need the explanation.
Trust in Your Ability
Carrying yourself with confidence is an important part of success, especially at work. No one is going to trust you and take you seriously if you don’t show yourself the same courtesy.
However, this is easier said than done, so sometimes you have to fake it until you make it!
Little changes to your demeanour - such as presenting your thoughts as statements rather than questions, and adapting your posture to project confidence through keeping your head up and shoulders back rather than hunching over - can change the way you are perceived by your colleagues.
You are full of good ideas, don’t be too afraid to say them!