Those things that form quickly and set up like cement. The blind spots of not really knowing the impression you leave on others. You think you are having a conversation, or making a post on social media – but there it is – opinions are formed about you instantly.

Speech is a funny thing. The written word is a sacred tool.

Relationships are formed or broken over words spoken. Countries in divide or in unity over treaties. Business covenants marry or divorce through meetings and then later, contracts.

As women we are often unable to see how the words we use on a daily basis in the office can affect perceptions.

These are small insidious ways women discredit themselves over and over again.

Apologizing – I’m sorry. I’m sorry. What are you sorry about? Constant apologizing can be the kiss of death for a women in the office. Unless you stepped on someone’s foot, there is no reason to be constantly sorry.

Asking Questions You Know The Answers To – I call this up speak. It’s when women end sentences with questions – on purpose – to keep the dialog going. Silence is powerful. Be ok to sit in it, especially at meetings. If you know you get nervous and start talking too much, go to your breath. Watch it rise and fall in your chest. Disengage the wild thoughts and the compulsion.

Wishy Washy Speak – Nothing on earth discredits a women (especially with a man in a meeting) than words like perhaps, just, actually, maybe, a little bit, etc. Be definite in your speech. You are not ‘a little bit concerned’ with your disruptive employee. You are concerned in the corrective conversation. This is work and business. No one in the room feels comfortable with maybe or a little bit of anything. Be firm. Be definite. Have an opinion. It’s ok.

Fear of Being a Woman – Many times I’ve been asked if I had to ‘act more like a man’ to get ahead in business. Never. This isn’t about changing who you are or asking you to shelf being sensitive, compassionate and collaborative. Find your voice and style. Women can be very powerful and not come off being authoritative or bitchy.

Here’s what it boils down to at work:

Like it or not, men rule the world in business. If that weren’t true, we’d see more than 5% of women placed as CEO’s in the market. There is an entire game that is being played in the office. Know there is a game and figure out the rules and boundaries. Once you get the game – play.

You have something to offer.


Listen to the Plaid Radio interview with this #PlaidPower blogger, for more on this topic!