How to be a Confident Woman when LEADING Meetings comes down to one key thing that you can use in EVERY meeting.
Read until the end I’ll tell you why this is definitely a time to get directive.
So, if you’re anything like me, you’ll notice that some people talk a lot at meetings - and we often credit them with being confident, even if the value of their ideas sometimes doesn’t hit the mark. Equally, we rarely hear from other people - even if you suspect their ideas are solid.
If you are leading a meeting where you want skill to shine more than bravado, one of my favourite tips is to:
Institute ‘turn-taking’ around the table. This may sound a bit basic but hear me out to see what that will do to your meetings.
So turn-taking. This isn’t so much about going around the circle as it is about calling out everyone’s opinions, not just assuming people will speak up. This is really important because if we assume introverts and extroverts have roughly the same number of good ideas, what are we missing if we disproportionately give time to the extroverts who are always willing to speak up?
So here is why you need to be directive.
Research shows only when groups are given explicit directions to take turns equitably in their feedback do women speak equally to men.
By comparison, in groups where students were asked to discuss a topic and told they could structure the feedback themselves, women made 17% fewer comments and took 25% fewer turns.
Turn-taking makes sense, not just for women, but for introverts or those who may not immediately share their thoughts in the free-for-all of many meetings. The researchers indicated; the guys in these groups were more likely to persist until they’d made their point...whereas the women usually backed off and gave up their attempts to speak if they were interrupted.’
This reminds me of how many women I know who lament the ‘game-playing’ and showmanship at meetings - things they don’t want to waste time on.
If you run meetings, asking everyone in the team for their thoughts is the best way forward, as it helps ensure you’re rewarding competence, not just confidence.
Getting recognition for your competence is exactly why I wrote The Con Job!
We’ll maintain the status quo if we keep thinking the outwardly confident are the ones who should be making all the decisions. My mission is to change this and to stand up for the non-status quo. Get involved in my competence mission by following #morecompetence on Twitter and Instagram. Help me spread the word to your competent non-status quo colleagues!
Share this with your friends and colleagues too - you won’t be the only one feeling this way.
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data