Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Six Subtle Moves That Hold Woman Back From Success

Lisa Johnson Mandell over at Dime crunch has written an article about the Six Subtle Moves that Hold Women Back from Success.. Here is the opening paragraph; "It's not that women are supposed to act, dress and sound like men to get ahead in the workplace, but there are a number of gestures women commonly use that denote vulnerability and fragility, rather than power and authority. In a blog post called "7 Behaviors that Keep Women from Getting Ahead," Dan Erwin cites an article by Mary Ellen Drummond many years ago, which still applies to many women today."

She does say that most of these behaviors are learned and can be unlearned.

And here are the Six: 1. Nodding your head a lot when listening. Apparently, men don't do this unless they are nodding in approval whereas women nod to encourage and denote that we are listening. We end up looking like a bobble-head doll and thus look like we have no authority. Try practicing only nodding if we approve.

2. Not taking up enough physical space. Here, women apparently acquiesce space, men spread out. By this we mean stand firm and tall, shoulders out, head up. When sitting at a table or desk, spread out -- your papers, you laptop, your pad and pens. Let everyone know you're there -- don't try to blend in. Take ownership of as much space as possible; that sends a powerful message.

3. "Up talking." Men end their statements on a down note, women go up on the end of their statements. Men sound sure whereas women sound questioning and unsure. Most women are not aware that they do this, and it's a particular habit with the young -- students and the freshly graduated. Speak with authority and periods, not with tentativeness and question marks.

4. Fidgeting. When women enter a room, they make 27 movements. Men make 12. These extra movements make women appear less confident because we are often fidgeting with our clothes, hair, or appearance. When you appear calm and contained, you appear powerful. Fidgeting implies nervousness.

5. Tilting your head. We think we are showing we are listening, it appears as if you're distracted or trying to deflect the message.If looking directly into some one's eyes is disconcerting, look just below their eyes at their cheeks or nose. But look directly at them and don't tilt your head. This, again, is something most women don't even realize they're doing

6. Introducing yourself too quickly. It's common for a woman to say, "Hi, I'm Jane Smith," right off the bat. But studies have shown that people seldom remember anything that's said in the first 5-7 seconds because they're too busy checking each other out, and visually processing whoever is in front of them. When meeting someone new, wait a few seconds before introducing yourself. Instead make a comment about the environment, event, etc. first, then introduce yourself.

Here is the 7th according to Drummond: 7. Women let men finish sentences for them. Fading out at the end of a sentence is more common for women than men, so is being interrupted. You need to complete your sentences and your ideas. So, keep talking, a bit louder and hold up your finger to signal you're not finished. Never, never, never let men get away with interrupting you. On occasion, you can also interrupt right back to make your point. And keep talking. As Drummond says, stick to your guns and your sentences.

You can laugh at these or say; I don't want to act like a man or that's just me. It does remind me of the book I read when first starting out; How to Dress for Success. But the thing is; I hear more women, especially clergy women complain that they can't get any higher, they can't succeed, or break through the glass ceiling. Maybe there is something from this article we can learn to improve ourselves while not giving up our selves. I read some of these as well in a book on preaching and I can't remember what book or what author. I have tried to work on the up talking, and it is a real challenge for me. I am going to try to pay attention to the rest.

She also lists More Telling Features with links to the articles:
■Body Language
What other features would you add? What are some of your thoughts? What are some of your ideas?


revhipchick said...

definately something to think about. i will try paying attention to how often i'm interrupted--i find that very intriguing. i'll have to check back later after some thinking on the subject. thanks for posting!

Amy said...

Well, I don't have most of them but I know I do tilt my head. I shall now invest in a neck brace. :)

Mompriest said...

uhm...I need to come back after I have a chance to check my library, I have a few books that are helpful in this. But mostly I think it is much about how we as a culture just honor men's leadership more than we do women's regardless of the little things we say and do. A man speak and the whole room listens and remembers, a woman speaks and people are paying attention to what she looks like, not what she says. sigh

Crimson Rambler said...

Great fun to read, and I think I do most of them. Thank you, Abi!