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Making Your Mark in Meetings: Start with, Don’t Take the F*ckin’ Notes!

Women disproportionately offer to do the housework in meetings. It undermines their voice.

WHY

Multiple studies have shown that women often judge their own performance as worse that it actually was, that men tend to overstate their abilities and performance while women understate them, and that women attribute their own success to others whereas men own their success. This confidence gap undermines women in many situations at work, and can torpedo our impact in meetings – a venue where voices are heard, opinions are shared and decisions are made.

What To Do (Bites)

  1. Don’t wait until you have a perfectly planned and cohesive statement to make

    Men offer more ideas and get more credit in meetings whereas women wait until they’re sure. By that time, someone else has jumped in and taken the floor (and the credit)! Speak up.

  2. Speak early

    People who speak early in meetings often set the direction of the discussion. If you have to help steer the boat, get your voice heard early as the conversation is taking shape.

  3. DO NOT take notes for the team

    It will not contribute to the perception that you’re a leader, because it will actually detract from your ability to contribute. It’s time consuming admin work that a CIAIY mom does not have room for. Period.

Sometimes I’m so exhausted, it’s hard to find my voice in meetings.

Tips

  1. If it’s helpful to you, think about the meeting and agenda in advance and what your opinion is on the various topics. That may make it easier for you to jump in. But remember, there is rarely a perfect moment, so don’t hesitate.

  2. Don’t be the annoying one who returns to a topic that was covered 20 minutes ago – unless you have a big, pivotal comment to make. Returning when everyone feels they’ve moved on feels unproductive.

  3. If the culture requires rotation of note-taking, you should take a turn, unless you are leading the meeting. You can’t do both. If your turn comes too frequently, politely decline with “I know our intent is to rotate note-taking. Given I did it recently, I suggest you ask someone else this time.”

Hope you found this helpful! Got a topic you’d like some wisdom on? Let us know.

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