A recent study, Women in the Workplace 2017, found that female representation drops at each level of advancement of corporate America, with only 20% of C-suite roles occupied by women.
Although there are a range of issues that contribute to female underrepresentation, one factor that can impact advancement is communication style. In the past, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of a panel at the Intercollegiate Women Leadership Development Conference. As a panel member, I collaborated with a range of other women professionals and spoke with female graduate students on how to “shatter the glass ceiling” as they launch their careers. Last week, we discussed some of the ways you can strengthen your communication skills to convey confidence and professionalism and climb the corporate ladder. Today, we continue with Part 2 and a few more ways women can use communication to build their careers.
Watch Your Vocabulary: Vocabulary choice can play a significant role in how others perceive you.
Recently, a former Google executive published an article about a trend she noticed, particularly among her female colleagues: the word “just” crept into their speech constantly. As the author notes, “just” rarely adds any meaningful content to your message. Rather, it reduces the importance of your message and makes it sound like an apology. For example, “I’m just following up on our discussion,” or “I just wanted to ask you,” sound much less direct and professional than the same phrases minus the word “just.”
Cut out Fillers: Fillers words and phrases like “um,” “uh,” “like,” “you know,” and “right?” can create an air of insecurity and significantly damage your credibility.
Start by identifying which fillers you use, and in what situations you use them most often. Then work on replacing these fillers with a pause. Not only will pausing help you cut down your filler usage; it will also give your listener time to absorb your words and increase the clarity of your message. A good rule of thumb is to keep your filler usage to no more than two fillers per minute: any more than that and the listener will be paying attention to the distracting filler words rather than your message.
If you’re looking for more ways to craft a strong, confident image that will help you to achieve your professional goals, make sure to pick up a free copy of my e-book “Communicate with Clarity and Confidence!” by subscribing to our newsletter community on our website. In this free resource, I break down the myriad factors that contribute to confident communication and guide you through how to use each aspect to your advantage
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