Being a female in a meeting is not easy, especially when you are the only female in the room, or if luck is on your side, one of the few females in the room. You dress your best and ensure that every attire and accessory you have on is in pristine condition. You don't want the males to think that you don't know your onion, neither do you want to be relegated to the background. If you are lucky, you have earned a position for yourself in the firm, and your words are taken like gold. You have a spent a long while working on self-empowerment.
The truth will always be that most women have their opinions discarded because they are females. To some people, how dare a businesswoman to think up something clever?
Some offices are really involved in women empowerment, and equality of both genders at the workplace, and in some cases, it is mere lip service. They paint themselves as being female friendly, but one hour in that workplace, and you may realize that the show of women empowerment was all for the camera.
How then do you survive in such an environment? It is only when you empower yourself and give those around the feeling that you are smart, that your opinions will stop being taken with a pinch of salt.
You have to start by giving those around the feeling that you are smart, especially at meetings. There are some meetings that you may attend, and start feeling the urge to nap. You may want to get to your feet and tell them to end the meeting because it is one of the most boring moments of your life, so far. Doing that, will not help your course.
You may be smart, have ideas to share, but you have continuously been turned down, how then do you give them the feeling that you are enjoying the meeting, and toppling with great ideas. How do you perpetuate the facade in a meeting, even when you are bored?
There are some things that you can do at the meeting that will give you the result you need.
1. Do Not Show Up Late To The Meeting
Sometimes, when our ideas are not taken as useful, we may think of avoiding such meetings. Why go since your idea won't be worth anything? Missing a meeting is the wrong way to go. As a businesswoman, it gives those around a greater reason to think that you are probably a cute doll with nothing in the brain. Show up at the meeting, and show up early. You don't want to be on the wrong side of your boss. Remember that you are trying to butter up to him or her.
2. Dress Well
Before you attend the meeting, ensure that you take out time to pick up your clothes. Your dressed sense should be formal, smart and not flirty. This doesn't mean that you should adorn yourself with a Victorian Period garb. You don't want to show so much flesh to prevent the thoughts of you being a doll with nothing in her brain to really be vindicated. You want to be smart, and not a bimbo.
3. Try and Come Up With Ideas At Brainstorming Sessions
There are sometimes that the meetings end up becoming a brainstorming session. The floor is open, and ideas are asked for, regarding a problem facing the firm. Suggestions are needed. Sometimes, the most useful solution comes when you think it is absurd. The idea may seem laughable to you, but when said out loud, may not be. This is the time to show your onion. This doesn't mean you should blurt out everything that comes to mind. Use the brainstorming session, to show everyone that you are smart. Empower yourself as a businesswoman through this means.
4. Calm The Room
In a brainstorming session, a lot of people may be bringing up ideas, except you, of course. Everyone is wanting to be heard above others.
This is a great point to make yourself seem smart. Be the businesswoman. Be the sense of reasoning in the brainstorming session, and utter words like, 'Can we please calm down and review one idea after the other?'
That quietens everyone as they turn to stare at you as if you are a messiah.
Then add words like, 'With all the suggestions given, what problems are we trying to get solved?'
This will instantly make you seem smart.
5. As the meeting is going on, pretend to take down notes on what is being said, and remember to nod a lot. Don't overdo the nodding action. Nod like you understand what is being said. This is a self-empowerment process in your workplace.
When going to a meeting, never forget a notepad. Remember, you are trying to grace the good books of your boss.
How can you take down those notes? Try to write a few words or a single word out of the sentence read out.
Don't make them feel that you are recording what is going on in the meeting. Try and chime in the beginning of the meeting that your notes are personal, and someone should take down a record of the meeting. You don't want the whole room to know that you are really not interested in the meeting.
6. Try and get the presenter to go back by a slide. Ask him to go back to the precious slide he just showed. This will give everyone in the room the feeling that you are interested in the presentation, hence smart. This will impress your boss.
Do all these things continuously in meetings, and you will be seen as a smart one, whose ideas should not be taken for granted. The workplace and even the business sphere is hypercompetitive and there is no place for those that appear weak, or not brimming with great ideas or those that don’t appear to be smart. It is a dog eat dog situation. Be the bigger dog.