Teach people how to treat you

Being seen as 'nice' does not boost your credibility."We get what we tolerate and it's essential not to settle for less than we deserve," says Victoria."Use likeability when you want to put people at their ease and build rapport," says Antoinette.  "But know when to flex the gravitas and power, without going over-the-top. Too assertive makes people switch off."

Own your ideas

Got a great idea? Don't keep it to yourself.Own your ideas and share them publicly so you get the credit when it counts."It's important to speak up in meetings without 'hanging your hat on' your ideas, so they're considered in the mix but it's not the end of the world if they're rejected," says Victoria.Adds Antoinette: "Beginning your points with 'I believe' or 'in my view' will have the strongest impact". 

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Speech that earns respect 

"Brevity is key to being taken seriously," says Antoinette. "No rambling explanations are needed to make a point".Self-deprecation will prevent you being taken seriously, as will a voice that goes up at the end of a sentence.Says Victoria: "Be articulate, using the right words to state your case or persuade without putting people's backs up".

Admit ignorance

It's a common female trait to feel we can't admit to weakness around men. "But," says Victoria, "you don't have to understand every area of every business. I sometimes ask myself 'do I need to know this to do my job well,' and if the answer's no, I focus on what matters".If you feel too out of the loop, don't be afraid to question what's being discussed so you can play a full part. 

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Be direct and specific

Feeling aggrieved about a colleague's behaviour? "Don't let issues fester," says Victoria. "Be ready to give examples so your complaint is evidence-based. And focus on the impact of the behaviour".Look them right in the eye when you're talking says Antoinette: "Don't tilt your head in a conciliatory way, but keep it level. Use their name while you give the facts and pause to give them time to take in what you've said". Remember: less is more.


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