Aviation for Women

JUL-AUG 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

Issue link: https://afwdigital.epubxp.com/i/995717

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Page 22 of 52

20 AviationforWomen J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 words punctuated with giggles. Be aware of the pace of your speech. Record yourself and listen. One tip is slow down to the point that your speech sounds slow to you. Stop for pauses. Speak distinctly. That slowed-down pace is more effective. 4. Take credit when credit is due. Women are typi- cally better at giving other people credit, and that's a good thing, and part of being a team player. But sometimes you are the one, the only one, who saved the day. You are the one who noticed the wrong date on the invitation as they were about to mail. You're the one who came up with the great idea. You are the one who fixed the coffee maker. When your work is being acknowledged in a positive way, and it was an individual effort, a simple thank you will do. 5. Learn to accept compliments. This is the cous- in of learning to take credit. When we're complimented, whether for a new shirt or an on-time report, there's a tendency to go into details that play down the accomplishment. Great presentation? "Oh, I was so nervous." Terrific report? "It was nothing. I got lots of help." You wear a shirt your co-worker hasn't seen and likes? "This shirt? I noticed it in the back of my closet this morning and I hadn't worn it in a while because I'm not sure the color works for me, but I wore it anyway… I wasn't sure about it… I got it on sale last year… Do you think it's too summery?" Blah. Blah. Blah. Oh, stop. As with credit, when it comes to receiving a compliment, a simple thank you will do. 6. Knowledge is power. You may consider asking a co- worker who you trust to help you improve your communications by monitoring your speech, comments, and contributions in meetings, whether at the lunch table or in the boardroom. Have the friend make some notes: What words do you overuse? What sounded weak? How did you make yourself less important? What does your co-worker think you could have done better? Did your co-worker notice the reaction to something you said? It's difficult sometimes to hear what we're doing wrong, and it's the pathway to change. 7. Stop disqualifying yourself with qualifiers. It's easy to start a statement with, "I'm no expert, but…" or, "You guys have worked here longer than I have…" or, "I know I only have 350 hours, but…" or, "I'm not an accountant…" All these phrases undermine your position from the get-go. You have re- duced the perception of yourself even before you start. Of course, sometimes these things are said lightheartedly, but the point is that you're saying them at all. Get to the heart of what you want to say, and forget the qualifiers. 8. Stop asking for feedback. Asking, "Am I making sense?" or, "I'm probably not explaining this well…" or, "Does that make sense?" are all asked with good intentions. We want to make sure we're getting our point across. I remember asking someone, "Do you understand what I'm trying to explain?" I asked him be- cause I was struggling with my words (or so I thought.) He an- swered me, somewhat sarcastically, in a Gomer Pyle-type voice, "Uh, yeah, I think so." He thought I was being condescending, but I wasn't. If someone doesn't understand you, they'll say so. And if you weren't making sense, you really don't want someone to an- nounce, "No, actually you were babbling." 9. Stop diminishing yourself and your work. Watch yourself in your written communications as well. Let's say you need sales numbers from a co-worker so you send an email: I know this is a really busy time for you and I wouldn't bother you except I'm doing the annual report and I was just wonder- ing if you have a spare minute if you could possibly send me the net sales figures just for 2017? I am sorry to ask you this as I know you're swamped, but I'd really appreciate it if you could get those to me when you have a chance. Really? An empowered woman gets to the point. How about: Please send me the net sales figures for 2017 as I am working on the annual report. If you could get those to me by the close of business on Tuesday, I'll stay on deadline. Thanks. Written communications are easier to change than our spoken language as you have more than one try to get it right. Backspace, backspace, backspace, delete. Start again. 10. Don't back down. Some women are willing to take no for an answer, at the first hint. Back to that trade show booth. You announce in a meeting, "We need a new trade show booth," and a colleague replies, "It's not in the budget." Do you drop the topic, slink down a bit in your chair? Instead, you could say, "The lighting on our booth is broken. The booth has a testimonial from a customer who died in 2015, and the graphics don't include our new product line." Of course, there may come a time in the debate where you've made your point and it's truly time to back off, but ex- periment with standing your ground when you know you are right. We can't go from wuss to Wonder Woman in a day. If you think your language could be more powerful, pick one of these tips and concentrate on that for a week. You could start with your apolo- gies. Note how many times you apologize and stop doing that. Or you could concentrate on your written communication and trans- form your words from sniveling to empowered. It takes practice, but soon you'll be talking (and writing) like the boss you were meant to be. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Patricia Luebke, WAI 1954, is a New York City-based freelance writer, editor, and marketing consultant. We can't go from wuss to Wonder Woman in a day. If you think your language could be more powerful, pick one of these Ɵps and concentrate on that for a week.

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