Business Magazine

How Women Can Stand Out During Conversations

Posted on the 13 December 2011 by Classycareergirl @classycareer

Today’s post is written by Brittany Lyons.  Brittany aspires to be a psychology professor, but decided to take some time off from grad school to help people learn to navigate the academic lifestyle. She currently lives in Spokane, Washington, where she spends her time reading science fiction and walking her dog.

Deborah Tannen once penned the now-famous essay, “There is No Unmarked Woman,” to express how women are judged by entirely different standards than men. Making a memorable positive impression in a new business setting can be challenging. While you may be judged by your decisions, these same decisions might not cause you to stand out any more than any other female in the room. It is important that you consciously make an effort to create memorable positive impressions upon meeting new business colleagues and clients alike.

  1. A positive way to make yourself memorable in any setting is by creating a unique introduction for yourself. Try introducing yourself and following your name with an interesting fact, such as a short story about your travels to the meeting or the fact that it is your first time in that particular city. Alternatively, if you can’t quickly think of a interesting fact on the spot, then compliment the colleague you are meeting. In general, both men and women remember when they are given a compliment (such as, “That’s impressive you received a doctorate degree in your field, PhDs are not easy to obtain.”), and by doing so you will stand out in their minds.
  2. When engaged in a conversation, make sure that all your words count. You don’t want to be remembered as the woman who talked incessantly without actually contributing anything of significance to the discussion. If you are in doubt over the pertinence of a point that you’d like to present, then try introducing it into the conversation in the form of a question. For example, “How do you think such-in-such event will (or has) affected this?” This way, you are still contributing to a conversation, without drawing any negative attention to yourself. Make sure that your questions are memorable, as they can direct the entire stream of the following conversation. Staying up to date on current international events is one great way to always be armed with interesting and relevant questions to pipe into a conversation, whether at a lunch, at a social gathering or at a business meeting.
  3. Be careful not to be antagonistic towards men at a meeting. Too often, women in business are labeled as aggressive and scorned by their male colleagues. Simply treating the men you encounter with respect will create a far better impression than trying to aggressively assert your “belonging” in the business world. In her famous autobiography, Mary Wells Lawrence mentions  how her confident actions in an entirely male-dominated workplace partially contributed to her outstanding success. Strive to follow in her footsteps and you are sure to win over anyone you meet.
  4. Finally, be bold enough to be a little different. Again, make sure that this is a good difference—not one that could potentially isolate you. This could mean inserting those comments and questions into a conversation that might otherwise be between two dominating personalities. It also might mean targeting your social interactions to include certain individuals who might otherwise tend to be disengaged from the conversations taking place.
  5. Watch what you wear.  Of course, as the essay “There Is No Unmarked Woman” states, the manner in which you dress will be memorable whether you intend for it to be or not. Avoid overly revealing attire; while this could make you memorable, it might not be the kind of professional attention that you should be seeking to further your career. Choose outfits that are carefully constructed and stylishly designed. A stylish taste in fashion will make you positively memorable to both men and women business partners.

Readers, what are your thoughts?  How can women stand out at work?

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