Four ways women can make themselves heard in the workplace

Concerned that you’re not being listened to in the office? Here are four ways women can make themselves heard at work.

With the gender pay gap posing a continuous issue and new research by Currys PC World revealing that women are 26% less likely to ask for a pay rise than their male counterparts, it’s evident there’s still a way to go before women achieve true equality in the workplace. 

The battle for equality doesn’t stop at how much we earn, however. It can branch into all areas of our professional lives, from being considered for executive roles to simply being taken seriously in the workplace. 

If you feel like you struggle to be heard at work or aren’t being presented with the opportunities you believe you deserve, here are four things that you can do to empower yourself. 

1) Believe in yourself

If you don’t believe in yourself, it’s going to be tricky to convince other people that they should. Truly believe that you are worthy of being listened to, you know what you’re talking about and you’re good at what you do, and this will shine through on the outside – with a confident mindset, comes confident communication. 

This can be essential in every area of business, from having your ideas taken seriously in meetings to asking for a pay rise. 

2) Speak up

If you want to make an impact in a business and demonstrate your worth, you need to make yourself known. This means not only being present at meetings but speaking up in them too.

Make an effort to have your voice heard, sharing your thoughts and ideas whenever possible. And, if anyone tries to interrupt you – which they often will – stand your ground and let them know you’re not finished speaking.

Using shorter sentences that express thoughts and ideas concisely will help to avoid interruptions more than using complex longer sentences that require pauses. 

3) Choose your words carefully 

The language that you use can have a huge impact on the way people respond to your requests and opinions.

Women are particularly prone to adding questions to their statements, using fillers such as ‘um’ and ‘err’ or apologising unnecessarily – often to avoid coming across as too assertive. This can give an impression of uncertainty and result in statements losing impact.

Instead, always be direct and to the point. Don’t be afraid of coming across as assertive – if done correctly, it shouldn’t come across as abrasive or confrontational, but simply that you’re confident in what you’re saying.

If something needs to be done, don’t pussy foot around the topic with comments such as ‘if you have time’ – simply state that it ‘needs’ to be done. Equally, know when to stop talking, so you don’t run the risk of your point getting lost in verbiage. 

Read the three words you should never use at work if you want to be taken seriously.

4) Be mindful of your body language 

It’s not just the things we vocalise that do the talking; the way we hold ourselves can also say a thousand words. The body language you use should suggest that you’re sure of your own abilities and recommendations.

So sit up straight, maintain eye contact and give a firm handshake. Being expressive can also help to engage those you are talking to and to maintain their attention. Avoid crossing your arms or fiddling, as this can come across as nervous or stand-offish. 

Remember that you deserve to be heard and taken seriously in the workplace regardless of your gender. Hopefully by adopting some of these tips, you’ll receive the praise and attention that you deserve. 

Photo by Toa Heftiba