“Girl-Power” is a continual trending topic on all social media platforms of the day. Companies across the country are publicly displaying their efforts to ensure their workplaces are gender neutral – offering men and woman equal career opportunities, equal pay, equal treatment, and equal rights.
Have you ever sat in a boardroom full of men, being the ONLY woman present?
As a young, female professional, you will have to work very hard to move past the stereotype of being a cute, juvenile, and unnecessary addition to a male-dominated meeting.
In the age of the “Me Too” movement and female empowerment, there are still unfortunate hurdles that you will have to jump over and overcome.
You will work with people who treat you with respect and equality. There may also be times where you will be treated in a sexist and belittling manner.
This is article is a PRACTICAL guide on how to be taken seriously as a female business professional. Although the following tips can be applicable to men as well, this article is focusing on a woman’s actions in the workplace.
1.) Show Confidence
This was the single-most important step that I implemented in my own life.
Confidence was not a quality that came naturally to me, so I had to make a serious effort to take the steps to appear more confident.
Appearing self-assured and poised was a vital step in earning respect and credibility among my peers.
Related Article: 9 Easy Ways Women Can Project Confidence
2.) Don’t Flirt
Always remain above reproach!
Be careful when teasing your male coworkers and having “inside jokes” that only you share.
Don’t constantly touch your male coworkers. (A hand on the arm or back can convey many unprofessional things to others in the office).
Don’t make it a habit to drop by their office just to chat or send them emails that are not on a professional level.
The office gossip-vine can quickly generate a story that can damage your character among your peers.
You can be kind and have a good time without crossing the line of professionalism.
Related Article: 10 Lifestyle Choices That are Ruining Your Happiness
3.) Don’t Gossip or Badmouth
Even though it can be an unfair stereotype, women do get a “bad rap” for spreading rumors and creating exaggerated stories. (Cause let’s be real – guys do the same thing!)
Don’t let this behavior be something that you allow into your life.
If a rumor is passed on to you, let it die!
“I’m sure that person will improve over time,” or “If you feel this is an issue, you should go talk to them.”
Allowing gossip to become a part of your life can be very damaging to your credibility.
Related Article: 13 Successful Habits of All Happy Women
4.) Dress Appropriately
It’s no surprise that most men love butts and boobs!
Your male coworker or boss shouldn’t have the nasty habit of objectifying woman. But you should be aware that you wearing short, tight, and low-cut outfits isn’t going to help the situation!
Wearing revealing clothes might get you labelled as the “office eye candy”.
No, this isn’t fair! But it is reality.
Don’t let your rockin’ body be the thing that “professionally” defines you!
The first thing your peers should notice about you is your professional appearance and dedication to your work.
Related Article: 15 Successful Characteristics of a Classy Woman
5.) Don’t Allow Others To Talk Over You
Have you ever had your male counterparts consistently interrupt or talk over you in meetings or during conversation?
While speaking, use a strong and confident tone. This alone discourages people from interrupting you.
If you are interrupted, do not immediately stop talking.
Continue speaking for a reasonable amount of time until either they stop talking or it becomes evident that they want to control the conversation.
Remember, you were speaking and you have the “right of way.”
In a calm and controlled tone say, “Greg, I wasn’t quite finished” or “Just a moment.”
Also, you can calmly raise your hand to illustrate the fact that you would like them to wait their turn.
Tone of voice and professionalism are very important! You can “hold your own” without coming across as overbearing or haughty – two qualities women often get an unfair name for.
Don’t take it personally and don’t get discouraged! Time and consistent behavior can earn you the respect you deserve.
6.) Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes
“I apologize, that was an oversight on my part. I will work on correcting it immediately.”
Take responsibility! Don’t blame your mistakes on other people! This is a sign of insecurity and selfishness.
People who blame-shift lose the respect of those around them and built an environment of distrust and resentment.
The sign of a good teammate and leader is taking responsibility for a mistake and taking immediate action to remedy it.
7.) Don’t Get Emotional and Moody
If men experienced the hormonal fluctuations we experience ever month, they would probably die!
But announcing to the office that you are PMSing or on your period isn’t appropriate.
Your mood should not indicate that you are on your period! (No, this is not old-school – it is professional!)
Make an effort to have a consistent and reliable mood pattern.
Related Article: 9 Surprising Signs You’re a Negative Person
8.) Be Firm and Decisive
You need to be willing to listen to other’s opinions and weigh your options. However, don’t be easily influenced by others opinions or criticism.
Be confident in your own opinion and ability to make accurate decisions.
If you are prone to second guess yourself, drown out your indecisiveness by moving forward with the decision you made.
Women are often seen as easily influenced targets. Destroy that stereotype and be confident in yourself!
9.) Earn Your Place
Being a woman does not mean that you deserve to have your voice heard.
To earn a place “at the table”, both men and women must be dedicated subject matter experts.
Over time, you can prove that your work ethic is superior and your dedication is unwavering.
As your value increases, your reputation will precede you and your opinion will gain respect.
Work hard and prove yourself! This is the tried and true way to succeed.
Related Article: 9 Serious Signs You Have No Work-Life Balance
10.) Be Professional on Social Media
Enough with the sexy clubbing pictures!
Stop posting those long, political rants!
Although your personal and professional lives should remain separate, your social media account can show people who you really are!
Be very aware that your posts may affect your co-worker’s perception of you.
Don’t let your social media accounts jeopardize your reputation.
If you prefer to remain private, make it a policy not to add any co-workers to your personal accounts. This can help to maintain your private life.
To be taken seriously as a career woman takes effort and perseverance – as it does with every business professional.
When we work with other human beings, offenses and misunderstandings will happen.
You must carefully determine which circumstances you should confront or let go.
Sexual or verbal harassment – CONFRONT IMMEDIATELY!
A slightly rude comment or an interruption – probably let it go.
Over time, you will learn which tactics work best for you. Practice makes perfect and your journey of choices is ahead of you!