Make Your Voice Heard in 2019

Kathryn Heath, Jill Flynn and Mary Davis Holt wrote the article,”Women Find Your Voice: Your Performance in Meetings Matters More Than You Think,” for Harvard Business Review.  Here are our tips for finding your voice in 2019:

  • Prepare to speak spontaneously. Yes, this advice may sound counter-intuitive but coming to the meeting with cogent comments or questions can move the conversation forward.
  • Participate in informal advance conversations with your colleagues before the meeting. This helps clarify the true purpose of the meeting, making it easier to take an active part in the conversation.
  • Phrase. Try these active phrases to hold the floor in meetings:
     Say This   Instead of This
      What if we looked at it this way…       I think maybe…
      Have you thought of this…       How about?
      I strongly suggest…       How about?
     That is absolutely right and here’s why…       I tend to agree.
     My strong advice is…       I think maybe…
     I recommend…       Well, what if…?
     I agree completely because…       I agree.
  • Pitch. Keep an even tone and do not shift to a higher pitch when under duress. Speak deliberately and avoid signaling frustration.

Although we have focused exclusively on women, we believe that many of our recommendations apply to others as well, such as underrepresented minorities and men with more reserved personalities.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our latest publication from Harvard Business Review,  HBR Guide for Women at Workand our latest bookThe Influence Effect.