4 Tips from Freeform's 'Good Trouble' to Help Women Speak Up in The Workplace

Back in January Freeform premiered its new show Good Trouble, a spin-off of The Fosters, about now young adults Callie and Mariana trying to navigate their new adult lives in Los Angeles, CA. Being a software engineer in the tech industry, Mariana soon learned the harsh reality that is the blatant sexism in her workplace. Her ideas were never taken seriously by the guys on her team and her boss only gave her menial tasks to complete.

 

Now, I don't know about you, but I sure know what it’s like to be speaking in a group and have my words be overshadowed or overlooked. Whether you’re in the office, in the lecture hall, or in the coffee shop with friends, chances are you, or someone else in the group, experienced being spoken over. So here are some ways that Mariana’s secret, women only, “Byte Club”━made up of only the few women at her job━came up with to make sure your voice gets heard not only in the workplace but in any group setting:

 

Tip #1: No “um’s,” “sorry’s,” or hesitation allowed.

If you speak with authority, people won’t be able to ignore you. I have found this to be quite true in my personal experience in that whenever I show any bit of hesitation I will without a doubt get spoken over. People see pauses and any filler words as their opportunity to jump and get their word in.

 

Tip #2: Sit up straight or stand to deal with “man-terrupters.”

This sort of non-verbal assertiveness is non-threatening but shows that you aren’t threatened either. Now, this doesn’t just apply to the men that feel the need to talk over you, but our fellow ladies as well. Try to remember the last time you were overlooked when you were speaking in a group setting, whether it was casual with friends, in the library with classmates while working on a school project, or in a team meeting at the office. What did you do when someone interrupted you when you were speaking? Did you slouch a tad bit into your chair as you let your words fade out (like I usually do)? Or did you sit up straight and let your voice project your words with confidence?

 

Tip #3: To deal with “himitators,” thank them for agreeing with you, or reaffirming what you just said.

Himitators are the guys who basically repeat exactly what you just said, but everyone thinks it was their idea and not your’s. Just like with man-terrupters, a himitator can also be applied to women as well (your typical imitators). This happens to me all too often, where people ask for my opinion, advice, thoughts, etc., and then come back to me as if they had this random spark of inspiration. Don’t let others get away with stealing your words right out of your own mouth, because for some women all they have is their word.

 

Tip #4: If you’ve done all this and still aren’t getting credit for your idea use amplification.

When in meetings, or in any other group setting, if you see your fellow ladies getting overlooked speak up and give them credit for their ideas. And if you noticed that they got interrupted and never got to finish what they were saying, bring the conversation back to what they were saying before they got cut-off.

 

Other women are not the competition and shouldn’t be looked at as such. I personally want to see more equality and respect for women in the workplace, but I think it is only going to be harder to achieve that if the mentality of “every woman for herself” remains.