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R-E-S-P-E-C-T – 5 Easy Ways for Women to Lose Respect in Male-Dominated Industries

Women in construction comprise less than 10% of women – a statistic that remains virtually unchanged for more than 20 years. Women in mining make up less than 15% and yet Andrew Mackenzie, CEO of BHP Group has proclaimed the startling goal to reach a 50/50 workforce balance within 10 years!

But, how are women going to tip the scales in their balance and proclaim their power if they continue to demonstrate behavior that undermines their credibility? These are my top 5 offenders.

5 Easy Ways Women are Undermining their Credibility:

1. Showing Up with Your Notebook – Looking like an administrative assistant when you aren’t, is a sure way to lose respect. Taking copious notes conveys the subtle message that you are an observer and not a participant. Further, as your notes become more detailed and turn into the minutes, you’ll have earned the reputation as the official note taker throughout a project.

2. Asking for Permission to Speak – Injecting your thoughts into a meeting with phrases such as “May I make a suggestion?” or “Can I say something here?” reeks of asking permission. Instead, just interject your thoughts; no “premumble” needed.

3. Apologizing for Everything – Feel free to say “I’m sorry” for the room not being ready, the PC not working, or the weather not cooperating. Repeat after me: it is not your fault! Get out of the apologizing habit now.

4. Upspeaking in a Questionable Tone – I know you’ve heard this disfluency whereby women sound as if they are competing in a game of Jeopardy: their voice goes up at the end of a sentence and they’re not asking a question. Speaking with authority requires women to end their sentences on a down note.

5. Using Weak Words – Enough with the “I think,” “Perhaps,” or “maybe.” Earning respect means swapping out weak verbs for strong ones. Try “believe,” “commit”, and “recommend.” The bottom line here is that there are brilliant and talented women in this industry who simply need respect. If we do our part, we trust that you will do yours.

What’s your experience? Share in the comments below.

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