“If you’d just let me finish…”

by Lauren Acurantes30 Nov 2016
One of the most annoying things that can happen to anyone is getting interrupted during a meeting just when you’re about to unleash your big idea.

However, recent studies have shown that more women than men get interrupted during a meeting.

“In fact, a recent study found that men interrupted women 2.1 times over the course of a three-minute conversation and only interrupted men 1.8 times,” wrote Elana Lyn Gross at Monster.com.

“Interestingly, women were also more likely to interrupt another woman than to interrupt a man.”

Interruptions imply that your ideas are not valuable enough and not being heard can be detrimental to anyone’s career, particularly when it comes to performance reviews.

Gross turned to three experts to find ways “take back the mic”.

‘Take ownership your idea’
Kathy Caprino, founder of career-coaching firm, Ellia Communications, said that if someone interrupts you in the middle of your presentation, don’t stop them. Instead let them talk freely then once done, bring the conversation back to you.

“The key is to establish your authority, confidence and know-how on this topic and not to get derailed, but do it in a respectful, calm and compelling way,” she said.

‘Use the amplification strategy’
Find a buddy, preferably another woman, who can back you up, advised career coach Rachel Andujar.

This form of ‘amplification strategy’ (a tactic wherein one woman makes a point and another woman seconds the motion but credits the idea accordingly) is a win-win for both, she said, because “you’re covertly claiming ownership and helping out a colleague”.

“You and a colleague can stand up for each other’s ideas to make sure that they are heard and are validated,” she added.

Speak with confidence
Just as important as what you are saying is how you say it. Jill Jacinto, millennial career expert at WORKS, said it is important to pay attention to “your volume, clarity, upspeak, and whether you are concise or verbose”.

Practice by doing a mock meeting and observing areas where you have to improve on. Watch out for the speed at which you’re talking or when you’re mumbling, she said.

‘Adjust your body language’
Jacinto said there are certain high-power poses that you can adopt to project confidence. One is ‘The Loomer’ where you put both hands on the table and lean forward, or ‘The CEO’ where you lean back in your chair while keeping your feet firmly planted on the floor.

“They might not stop someone from interrupting you, but they may just help give you the courage to speak more confidently about the work you’re doing,” added Gross.

Related stories:

Are your meetings fair and inclusive? 

Is your company losing employees for ‘small subtleties’? 

Men believe women are represented fairly in business: Report 

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