Speaking up in a meeting and having your voice heard can sometimes be a challenge, especially for women. Whether you’re speaking to a board full of male executives, in a room with your new team, or an unfamiliar setting, we’re sharing best practices to ensure you’re taken seriously at every level. We want every woman to feel empowered to create her own executive presence, so we’re giving you our top tips on how to embrace your strengths and inspire and empower other Leading Ladies in your workplace.
There’s nothing worse than showing up for a meeting and realizing you have no idea what is about to be discussed. Be sure you know what the meeting is going to focus on going into it, and if you are presenting you should be well prepared with your talking points and as well as any tech needs. If you’re attending a meeting with a new team or department make sure you’re familiar with who will be in attendance and each person’s role and feel free to connect with attendees ahead of time. If you’re the meeting organizer, we always recommend sending an agenda ahead of time so everyone is on the same page and you can avoid distractions.
Dress and act the part
This may seem obvious, but the saying holds true – dress for the job you want. If you are presenting to a board of executives, a leadership team, or manager, dress the part. Your attire and how you present yourself will be the first thing anyone notices, before your presentation even begins. This advice is not limited to leading ladies, we’d recommend dressing the part to any employee looking to get ahead. If you bring your cellphone into the meeting with you, keep it face down to avoid any distractions. Be present and engaged always, event if you’re not speaking.
Know how to improv
This may seem odd, but as much as you prepare for your meeting, factors can change in an instant. Be sure to read the room and take notice of how engaged the audience seems. It is important to prepare your notes, but it is even more important to know how to tailor your message and key points to engage the audience. So be ready to pivot if need be.
Own your accomplishments
You are a Leading Lady, and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. On top of that, we know you have many accomplishments and achievements under your belt. Feel confident & proud and speak from your experience. You are in the meeting for a reason, so own it and don’t be afraid to share your opinions.
Slow down and listen
Be sure to communicate slowly and concisely. There is no need to add fluff or small talk when it doesn’t feel appropriate. Listen to what others are saying so that you are able to ask questions, answer questions, and have touch points to discuss later on during the meeting or during follow ups. Take notes as needed and end every meeting with clear follow up steps so everyone walks away knowing exactly what needs to happen next.
How do you exemplify executive presence as a Leading Lady? For additional resources click here.