Does this sound familiar; you’re at a meeting and you start to speak and out of left field and man jumps in and talks over you?
If that sounds familiar, then you’ve been manterrupted.
Now, have you ever been in a space where you have just explained something and a man proceeded to re-explain or restate what you’ve clearly just said?
If so, you have been a victim of mansplaining.
Some people believe these two acts are simply the findings of over-sensitive women (whatever), however, research has been done on this.
Manterrupting is a scientifically proven problem and happens when a woman is interrupted by a man simply because she is a woman.
A University of California-Santa Barbara study found that 47 out of 48 interruptions in mixed-gender conversations consisted of men interrupting women
Now let’s talk about mansplaining.
Mansplaining is when a man explains something to a woman in a way that’s demeaning, condescending or patronizing. Or in a way that belittles her level of intelligence and her knowledge, all with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it.
Knowing that the gender bias exists and that it needs to be broken is the first step.
However, the piece in which we need to ensure that we are equipped to do is to speak up when it happens.
Most importantly is knowing how to do so in a manner that is safe, and in a manner where you are stepping into your confidence.
A lot of the time what stops people from taking action or calling it out is not knowing what to say or how to say it. People also have to manage their feelings of discomfort and fear. So, let’s talk about how we can actively break the bias with our words.
Here’s how you can be more confident when you speak.
First, stop looking to feel confident or brave, because it may not ever happen. Even though we have been taught that confidence is an emotion, it isn’t. Confidence is a behavior, an attitude and a skillset which means you are in complete control of your level of confidence. Never forget that.
Second, you must be intentional with the conversation that you have with yourself, and about yourself, before you speak (read that again). For most people that internal conversation sounds something like this; “This isn’t going to go well”, “I don’t want to be embarrassed,” “What if he accuses me of being sensitive,” and “I suck at speaking in front of people.”
That internal conversation needs to shift. What you need to start saying to yourself should be more supportive. Bolster your confidence with self talk such as “I’m standing up for myself,” “This will be OK”, and “My voice matters”.
Here’s what I often say to clients; “Stop being committed to, and focused on how other people will react when you speak up, because you have zero control of them and how they will respond.”
Commit to, and focus on the act of speaking up, because that’s what matters most. Push through the uncomfortable feeling because that is the only time true change will happen. Your voice matters, it always has, and it always will.
Ladies here’s how you shut down mansplaining and manterrupting. You want to be prepared with a few interruption phrases and body language gestures. I have you covered! Read below and use as needed!
- First, be direct, name the bias or what’s happening
- Then state that it’s not OK
- Finally, share what should be done instead. Make sure you say it as a statement.
Some examples of what to say:
- “Mike I’m speaking.
- “Steve, thanks for the comment, and I’m fine to continue.”
- “Let me continue and if there’s still a question, I’ll answer it at the end.”
- “You’re mansplaining/ manterrupting me.”
Body language tips:
When saying all of the statements above make sure to make direct eye contact with the person when you say it and physically turn your entire body and face them.Sometimes we need to put on our loud voice and match tone for tone. Don’t yell, but do be firm.
Ladies, it’s time to shut down mansplaining and manterrupting each and every time it happens.
Own your ideas, your opinions and your worth. Don’t allow men to take credit for your ideas as their own.
Stand firm in your opinions and never apologize when sharing your ideas. What you have to say is just as important as anyone else in the room. Speak up, say it and share it.
Will it be easy? Well, easy or not, it will be worth it!
It becomes easier as you build your courage muscle and start to speak up more often.When you build your courage muscle, you start to strengthen your self-belief which directly impacts your ability to show up and act with increased confidence.
Realize that growth only happens in your uncomfortable zone. Ladies, it’s time to shut down mansplaining and manterrupting for good. Now you have the tools to make it happen. Let’s get to work.
This guest post was authored by Karen Donaldson
Karen is a Celebrity Communication, Body Language and Confidence Coach, Executive Public Speaking Coach, and a #1 best-selling author. Her books are Speak Like You Breathe, 30 Lessons to Become a Naturally Confident Speaker, Living a Life with No Excuses,Straight Talk To Say What You Mean, and Be Heard and Get Noticed. You can find her at www.karendonaldsoninc.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, fand FaceBook