With International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, March is a great time to reflect on how gender can impact professional success. Did you know that female representation drops at each level of advancement of corporate America, with the result that only 20% of C-suite roles are occupied by women? There are a wide range of factors that contribute to female under-representation, many of which may be out of your control as an individual. However there are changes you can make to your communication style that will project confidence and credibility, and help you get the professional advancement you deserve.
The words you choose play a significant role in how others perceive you. Although communication style is extremely individualized, there are some patterns that tend to be more common in women. One issue that is frequently seen among women is over-apologizing. While saying “I’m sorry” when you’ve done something wrong is common courtesy, apologizing in situations in which it isn’t warranted can negatively impact your perceived confidence and credibility. For example, “Can I ask you a question?” comes across much more confidently than “I’m sorry, can I ask you a question?” Before inserting an “I’m sorry”, make sure you’re actually doing something that requires an apologize.
Another common communication pattern is women is over-using the word “just.” Even if you’re not overtly apologizing, inserting the word “just” in a sentence can make it sound like an apology and undermine the importance of your message. For example, the sentences “I’m just following up on our conversation,” or “I just wanted to ask you a question,” would both sound much more direct and professional by taking out the word “just.”
If your communication skills are holding you back from professional success and you want to make your communication skills your most powerful professional tool, make sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. In this free resource, I break down the myriad factors that contribute to confident communication and guide you through how to use each aspect to your advantage.
Give us a call and see how Corporate Speech Solutions can improve your professional life! Call us at 212-308-7725 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you might have!
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