How to view it -- Step 1: The key words here are "my" and "analysis." Let’s start with the word "my." Focusing on "I" or "me" is not the lead value for professional women. For women, supporting the group or the team is big. In the last twenty years corporate America has talked a lot about teams and team building. But the fact is that men tend to focus on individuality. Team sports have "stars". Everyone knows Tiger Woods or the Gold medal winner. But no one knows the #20 ranked golfer in the world or who won the bronze medal in anything.
Men tend to do individual tasks in teams. It is the exceptional team where people truly think in terms of we rather than I. A man’s sense of self-esteem comes from doing. He thinks, "I am valuable based on what I do." That is how they tend to think about others in the work world.
How to do it: So If you want your ideas to be valued, you need to claim ownership to your work. You must get comfortable saying the words "I" and "my," "I crunched the numbers and ..." or, "My team found the following." Even if your particular idea is not accepted this time, you have laid the groundwork for next time. To the extent that you are not comfortable doing this, you need to practice. Say the words out loud when you are alone. Doing it in your head is not as effective.
The next word is analysis.
How to view it -- Step 2: Men love to analyze. They respect facts and figures. The description of an analytical sequence is music to a man's ears. Even if he disagrees, he cannot help but be impressed with the description. This goes all the way back to childhood, when boys are into sports statistics and get into great interactions about which team will win and which athlete is better.
How to do it part 2: Organize and describe your ideas as an analysis so that you can argue that facts one, two and three lead to "A" that leads to the potential negative outcome "B" and you have solution "C" with three reasons why it will lead to positive outcome "D."
So if we put this all together, it sounds something like this: "I (or my team) have done a detailed analysis of the factors involved. The analysis revealed that the facts one through three are creating negative outcome B and the best strategy for us at the point is Strategy C." Be prepared to back strategy C up with three reasons.
In this one sentence you speak in a manner that is very comfortable for men. You sound confident and credible. Some professional women are concerned about being too pushy. This is prevented by the phrase "The analysis revealed." Men cannot easily get offended by "the analysis." You let the analysis speak for itself. Even if your idea does not win the day, you have still scored points. This brings me to the final point "assuredness" that I will discuss in another article.
Written originally for w2wlink.com by Dr. Robert Schwarz. Reach him at www.marsvenusat work.com.
1. If you were given the task of getting up in front of people and saying why you are great at something, what would your reaction be? 2. Do you prefer to prepare your arguments ahead of time or do you prefer to co-create them with people out loud in a group? How does this relate to this article?
Early in my career an SVP in my company who was a man went through one of my analysis memos and circled every "I" in it. He talked to me about the power of "we" and sharing credit with your team. I've never forgotten those red circles. Using "we" hasn't hindered my ability to be heard.
(AKA Dr. Bob) is the National Director of Mars Venus Workplace Seminars and Consulting. He maintains a consulting & coaching practice in Haverford, Pa. He presents trainings internationally on topics, including communication, gender differences, leadership, creativity and advanced approaches to stress management and work life balance. His clients include government agencies and businesses, such as GE women’s Network, KPMG Women’s Network, Wachovia Bank, Daichii-Sankyo, Avenits and NASA. www.marsvenusatwork.com firstname.lastname@example.org