Partner with a few coworkers and agree to amplify each other’s voices during meetings and team discussions. If one of your partners is interrupted in the meeting, politely point this out to the interrupter by saying something like “I am sorry, but I missed what Laura was saying. Laura, what was that?” or give the interrupted person another opportunity to speak by saying something like “Let’s get back to Laura’s point. Laura, can you continue?” Furthermore, you can help ensure credit is given to the proper place by saying things like “I really liked Laura’s idea to do ______.” Partners working together in this way can help make sure more voices are heard during meetings.
Why it is important:
Not all ideas are equally heard during meetings and discussions. Many times, men tend to talk more frequently and make more suggestions while women and people of color are interrupted and not given credit for their ideas. This situation perpetuates the negative bias that women are less creative than men and ultimately gives women and people of color less influence in the profession. By ensuring these individuals an opportunity to speak, we can prevent their ideas from being attributed to others or ignored completely and thus encourage more equitable promotion in our industry. Furthermore, allowing everyone an equal opportunity to speak during a meeting taps into more perspectives, skills, and experiences and benefits overall team performance.
Speaking While Female by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant
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Description of difficulty levels:
Very Easy - Takes no more than a couple of minutes, requires almost no effort
Easy - Takes no more than fifteen to thirty minutes, requires little effort
Medium - Takes no more than an hour, moderate effort required, might have to put yourself out there a bit
Hard - Takes a couple of hours, effort required, will have to put yourself out there.
Very Hard - Takes more than a couple of hours, may be a recurring commitment. Requires a solid amount of effort. Challenge yourself!