Communication is vital in every sphere of life. It is one of the most critical functions of management. Communication may cement an organization or disrupt it. It promotes managerial efficiency and helps develop a spirit of cooperation. Therefore it has become one of the most vital factors in efficient management. Hence, it is essential to understand how everyday communication errors can ultimately harm your career potential.
Women leaders often find it difficult to talk to decision-makers and convey their desire for executive-level opportunities. Even some powerful women struggle to speak up in meetings. Some feel an overwhelming sense of panic as they begin to over-share irrelevant details in meetings that were not pertinent to their limited time. It may sound harsh, but most women have a few everyday communication faux pas that could potentially block them from the proverbial “seat at the table.” Here are the top three things that women entrepreneurs need now.
Many professional women tend to be over-apologetic in meetings with colleagues and in the presence of decision-makers. Such behavior is often perceived as weak or even childish. For instance, saying that you are sorry during a meeting because you disagree with another colleague’s point of view, or raising your hand to speak up during a meeting and then uttering a simple “sorry” before adding value to the conversation, are instances of communication faux pas.
Although the constant volley of apologies indicates politeness and kindness, you may often be viewed as unsure and passive. Rather than apologizing, show gratitude. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry to interrupt,” say, “Thanks for listening,” or, “I have something to add, thanks.” Saying these creates a level of attentiveness about the value of a woman’s contribution and limits the appearance of fear that an introductory apology suggests.
“A Long Time Ago”
Often, people continue to highlight their past achievements to promote their business in the market. Many believe that accomplishments do not expire until one stops talking about them. It is common to assume that one’s previous accomplishments diminish in value due to time and subsequently minimize their importance. Nevertheless, you will often meet people who continue advertising their successes from the past, illustrating how they shaped their company’s growth.
Women sometimes factor in relevance and the negative impact of bragging into their decision to omit accomplishments and accolades. When they share, it’s common to add, “That happened such a long time ago,” making it even easier to be overlooked for an opportunity. But accomplishments are relevant and do not have an expiry date. You cannot keep others guessing about your potential.
Suppose you are on track for a leadership role in your company and finally have the ear of an influential decision-maker who has invited you to attend an exclusive networking event. Still, you cannot participate due to a conflict in your schedule. You may feel the impulse to narrate all of your plans entirely, which is the wrong move.
You are wrong to say, “I wish I could join you, and thank you again for the invitation. I cannot attend because I promised my mother that I would join her for dinner, and since we rarely get a chance to see each other now that I moved to Seattle from Portland and she is only here for a few more days, I don’t want to break my promise. I’m so sorry, maybe next time.”
However, the right approach would have been to say, “Unfortunately, I can’t join you tomorrow as I have a previous commitment that cannot be changed. I am honored to be considered and look forward to joining you at the next event. Thank you.”
The moment you add “because I” to a professional conversation, there is a likelihood that you will overshare superfluous personal details. The same issue has been observed over email: “Sorry for the delay in responding. I was out of the office yesterday because I had to take my son to the doctor.” By omitting “because I,” you will only share the most relevant details that the other party is not privy to, as opposed to ones that may work against you in the future.
It is essential to be aware of how simple everyday communication errors can negatively impact your career. Although you may not realize it, decision-makers and gatekeepers seek confident talent, and adding more women to the list is paramount — especially in the Great Resignation. Be aware of how common phrases, which are more acceptable in personal settings, can harm your career and business growth.
Communicating is one of the most effective skills you can cultivate as a business leader. Remember to share using nonverbal and verbal cues. Listen carefully to what others have to say and over-communicate in novel ways to ensure the content of the conversation sticks with the audience.
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