1 – Finding Your Voice

1 – Finding Your Voice

Finding Your Voice

Young women often struggle with how to speak up and speak out in professional settings. Some feel that speaking about their accomplishments comes across as bragging and others feel that being assertive will come across as bitchy. So what are the rules of the game?

In this podcast, female entrepreneurs and experts will share their strategies for success when it comes to being heard…

Transcript

Clark: Women need to do a better job of tooting their own horn. Talking about their strength.

Frankel: You erase oh it was nothing from your vocabulary, okay, you erase it from your vocabulary because that’s what women say.

DeVita: To figure out how to negotiate so that you come out with what you needed to come out with. But you don’t have to do that in a loud booming voice. In fact, it is often best done in a calm voice.

Kristen: Welcome to “Sound Advice” – the brief audio download that brings the best of eClips to you. I’m Kirsten Barker.

Today’s topic is “Finding Your Voice As A Woman In Business”.

Young women often struggle with how to speak up and speak out in professional settings. Some feel that speaking about their accomplishments comes across as bragging and others feel that being assertive will come across as bitchy. So what are the rules of the game?

In this podcast, female entrepreneurs and experts will share their strategies for success when it comes to being heard…

First, we’ll hear from Christine DeVita. DeVita is President of The Wallace Foundation,one of the top 40 private foundations in the United States, with assets of more than $1.5 billion. She states that women need to develop the courage to speak up.

Devita: I think social science research tells us that men and women are raised in different ways. And I think that we know that even without the nurturing environmental contacts, boys and girls are hard wired in different ways. And so I think that some of that influence sometimes finds it’s way into professional behavior. And sometimes you will observe that in a room, if there is an opportunity to speak first, or to take control of a situation, perhaps a woman might be less likely than a man to lead them to the breach. Maybe that is the way we are raised. Maybe it is our socialization. But I guess my advise would be to have courage to do it. Even if it seems sort of against the way you were raised.

Kristen: Laura Clark, an Investment Principal at private wealth management firm Lowry Hill takes it a step further and says women not only have to speak up but they also have to ask for what they want

Clark: I think one of the things women, and this is a broad generalization, don’t do as well as men is they don’t ask for the business. They don’t ask for the raise. They just presume people are going to know that they are doing a good job. That their manager is going to know what the heck they have been up to for the last six months. That people are going to give them the business because they are honest. They work hard. They are outstanding at what they do. And I think in general, men do a better job of that. They get in there and scrap around. They want the business. And they ask for the business.

Kristen: Clark goes on to stress that women need to learn how to get comfortable with promoting themselves and find a voice that they feel is authentic to their own personality…

Clark: Women need to do a better job of tooting their own horn. Talking about their strength. And I think it can be done in a positive way as opposed to a , I’m not being treated the same. Or you know. I’ve got to do business differently. And I have got to be a hard nose about this. And people aren’t going to respect me unless I am really aggressive. For some reason that is taken as a more negative tendency in women than men. But everybody, I think everybody sort of comes to and figures out what is a comfortable working style for them. And most importantly, and maybe even more importantly is again, talking about you know, how does your manager best receive information? What are the best ways for you to promote yourself with them?

Kristen: Lois Frankel is a professional coach and author of two international bestsellers, “Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office” and “Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich”. She states that in addition to learning how to promote themselves, women need to take qualifiers out of their vocabulary

Frankel: This woman came up and talked to me and I said what do you do, she said, I work in publicity, and then I talked to her a little while and then she left and then my publicist came up, the one who was … I was actually assigned to work with, came up to me and said, oh I saw you talking to my boss and I said, who’s your boss and it was the woman who said she worked in publicity. She was the Vice President of publicity, she had the contacts at the Today Show, CNN, Fox that got me on the shows and she missed an opportunity to create her brand because all she had to say was, oh Lois, I’m so and so, I’m so delighted to meet you. I’m the Vice President of publicity and I’m so happy that my team and I were able to get your book the kind of publicity we think it deserves. Now all of a sudden if she had said that, that’s somebody I want to know, that’s somebody I think I should know, that should be in my network. So you need to make sure you’re doing that kind of thing, that’s what I mean by let other people know about it. You erase oh it was nothing from your vocabulary, okay, you erase it from your vocabulary because that’s what women say.

Kristen: But it isn’t only speaking up that is a challenge. Women often struggle with how to get their message across. In our next clip, we return to Christine DeVita who shares thoughts on how to deliver a message…

Devita: Success and business, career, sometimes the caricature in law, in corporate America, in running an organization of any size, sometimes the caricatures that the successful person is the one that is very aggressive, very demanding, very strident. And sometimes if that is not your personality, you sort of – sort of self-select out. And in my experience, I think that what I have learned is that you shouldn’t necessarily confuse aggressiveness or stridency with strength and smarts. And in my career, I have found that you don’t have to pound the table. You do have to have the intellectual heft and fleet of footness, if – confuse the metaphors there – to engage in the debate. To find solutions. To figure out how to negotiate so that you come out with what you needed to come out with. But you don’t have to do that in a loud booming voice. In fact, it is often best done in a calm voice. You don’t have to be the larger than life figure. You just have to not confuse smarts and strength with aggressiveness.

Kristen: DeVita goes on to say that you don’t need to be a pit bull to get your point across – but you DO need to be prepared.

Devita: In truth, when I was a young lawyer, one of the reputations I developed as a young lawyer is that I was relatively soft spoken, and would come in and we would start. And then out of the briefcase – they used to laugh at me because out of the briefcase would come the paper. And then it would be yes, but what about this? And yes. But what about this? And what about that? And I don’t think so. All in a very calm way. Didn’t have to get excited. Didn’t have to you know, attack personally. You just had to have your homework done. And I was very effective getting what I needed to get.

Kristen: We’ll close today’s segment with a clip from Amy Millman. Millman is President of Springboard Enterprises, an organization which has assisted hundreds of women-led high-growth enterprises raise over $4 billion in investment capital. She states that at the end of the day, women need to find their comfort zone and be themselves.

Millman: I think it is more what they project. When women try to imitate what’s not comfortable to them, they don’t come off very well. When they are themselves and are – and find their comfort zone it makes an impact. And I think of the times when I was you know starting my career. And we were told in our little seminars that we should be wearing you know, pinstriped suits that – and you know down play any femininity that we had. And we bought into it hook line and sinker. And looked stupid pretty much in the process. We didn’t blend. Nobody was fooled. They didn’t treat us the same. They didn’t really respect us anymore than they would have. And we looked stupid and we felt uncomfortable. And so you know how successful can that possibly – how much confidence can that really give you? And so I – what we say to them is we’ll make it so that that original objection of you being a woman is gone. Now just be yourself.

Kristen: Thanks for listening to this segment. If you are interested in hearing more from any of our featured speakers, please check our website at eclips.cornell.edu.

That’s E-C-L-I-P-S. cornell.edu.

And remember, if it is a business topic of interest, eClips will bring you “Sound Advice”…


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