Speak Out

The day my first book was published

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Two years ago, in March, my first book was published!

I remember how excited I was and overwhelmed with how close it was to International Women's Day #IWD

Since then I've sold almost 1000 copies and still love getting notes from readers telling me how much they enjoyed it.

"Hey Amanda, I couldn't wait to tell you how great your book it is! I couldn't put it down all weekend and I want to buy a copy for all my girlfriends" said one happy reader 😎

With #IWD2019 just past, why not buy a copy to inspire a smart ’n savvy career minded woman in your life?

Step Up, Speak Out, Take Charge - A woman's guide to getting ahead in your career

Available to purchase from Amazon, Koby, Booktopia, Dymocks and even Walmart!

And keep your eye out for book #2 - From Invisible to Invincible - a self promotion handbook for executive women

Available from May 2019 ☺️

#LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #womenofimpact #invisibletoinvincible

My mission is to help women play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.

 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Three incredibly powerful speaking tips I learned from Jane Caro

When my coach first said to me I'd need to take to the stage and speak I said -

"No way!" "Not me!" "Talk to the hand!".

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -  1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -

1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

While I'd booked and briefed more speakers than most people have had hot dinners, the thought of doing it myself was terrifying.

Spring forward a few years and that initial resistance is beginning to dissipate. While I still get incredibly nervous, it's now more manageable - and I know I can make a bigger difference speaking one to many.

AIM Great Debate

Recently I shared the AIM Great Debate stage in Canberra with high profile, advertising and media personality, Jane Caro. Jane is well known for her dry sense of humour, her unique perspective and her ability to get the room comfortable really fast.  She was also the adjudicator for the debate.


Speaking While Female

So we started to chat about some of the challenges women speakers face including:

  1. The audience will critique what you look like, no matter what. And frequently, other women are the harshest critics.
  2. Some of us try and pack our talks full of content to prove we know what we're talking about and give extra value - when the principle of less is more might work better.
  3. Women speakers are still far more prevalent in the female empowerment space than hard data business topics, so finding ways to establish credibility is critical.


Just prior to going on stage Jane gave me three great pieces of advice which I now share with you.

  • #1 - be authentic because the audience will warm to you more. Not the let it all hang out type of authenticity, but the type that connects with real life language, experience and examples. 
  • #2 - don't be afraid to use humour. Humour is the thing that unites us. So smile at the audience, use your regular jokes that you would with peers and colleagues, and win them over with humour.
  • #3 - be confident and own the room. It will help you boost credibility if you look and sound like you know what you are talking about. 

So What Happened Next?

Given my competitive nature, in that moment I mentally dropped the page of stats from my script and stuck to the things that I was far more comfortable with (my skewed way of looking at the world and my irreverent sense of humour). I'd done the preparation, it just helped me to speak from a more authentic place. And the best bit? I rocked the stage for the first time ever. I nailed it. Wish I could bottle it. Looking forward to doing it again.  (Thanks Jane!)

  • I won points for the dubious honour of being the first person to swear on stage (mum would be so proud),
  • I got points for getting the audience to try manspreading and extrapolating to corridors of power in Canberra,
  • I got points for sucking up to the adjudicator by closing the argument with one of Jane's frequently quoted statements on gender equity, 
  • I even got points for working Trump into my argument on the cost of hair care products for women, and
  • Our team won! 
Gender equality will be achieved when we have as many incompetent women leading as we do incompetent men
— Jane Caro

So why is this important to you?

When we're in the realm of feeling like we're not quite good enough, or that we need to prove our worth, we tend to over prepare, over analyse or run the risk of being overwhelmed. It triggers socialised responses of conscientiousness, compliance and competence. 

In some scenarios, conscientiousness, compliance and being competent are suitable. But when you are in speak out mode - making a point, pitching to win, creating compelling arguments, then channelling your confident and more competitive self will be far better.

So get out there and invite yourself onto a speaker panel or something - and rock the stage with your own authentic compelling and confident style.

Remember - smart and savvy truly is the name of this game! 

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution #executivebrand

Book in for a free 45 min phone call if you want help with that.  Limited times available in the link.

 

LIKED THIS ARTICLE? HERE ARE A FEW MORE FROM THE ARCHIVES ....

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

How executive women can grab attention without swearing

At the bottom of this article is a video from mother, author and swearing expert, Melissa Mohr, Ph.D. to provide mothers with 'alternative curse words' as their get out of jail card free in times of stress ……  but first …..

Do you struggle to grab attention at work, in meetings, or on social media platforms such as LinkedIn? Despite best intentions at staying visible, standing out and being noticed by the decision makers, you’re battling to be taken seriously?

No longer is it good enough to go to work and do our job well rigorously, thoroughly and properly. Instead we also need to back ourselves, sell ourselves and articulate our expertise in language the business values and understands. In fact, we need to be our own PR, comms and marketing department rolled into one.

But it's getting really hard to cut through the clutter. Some senior level, seemingly, super successful executive women share with me that despite flying the flag for their future leadership brand 24/7 they still get bypassed and don’t know what they’re doing wrong.

Shorter attention span than a goldfish (yes you read that right)

Maybe it’s not just you, but it’s the reality of the human condition. In fact, it’s official  - as modern urbanised beings we have a problem. According to researchers, human beings now have an attention span shorter than a goldfish (9 seconds). 

With the increase of mobile technology and demands on our attention ever increasing our attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds (according to Canadian researchers in a study by Microsoft).  

No wonder you’re struggling to be taken seriously - it’s an uphill battle!

The new rules of engagement to Ensure your killer point is remembered

While we now know it’s not enough for your results to speak for themselves, it’s becoming obvious that even if and when you do speak to them, unless you work out a way of cutting through the clutter - your big ideas, your best suggestions, your great input, will run the risk of being bypassed. And businesses desperately need people with new ideas to solve old problems.

The new rule of engagement - 'she who can grab and hold attention will win'.  So developing techniques and skills that showcase your thought leadership, that capturepersuade, and influence, are part and parcel of your leadership tool kit.  

And while you might think it’s too hard, here are some great rules of thumb to keep in mind next time you need to grab and hold attention.

  1. First impressions count - after all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression
  2. But those impressions must be backed up with substance and content to build on your leadership brand, otherwise you’ll lose your credibility (achievements, case studies, results, evidence, arguments, commentary)
  3. Know what you stand for (key messages)
  4. And why - people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it
  5. Make it relevant - so your audience identifies with you
  6. Articulate this in different ways - so you don’t sound like a broken record
  7. Consistency and congruence trumps frequency - you don't have to wear people down or people will switch off.

So back to the video

Our swearing expert is also an expert at grabbing and retaining attention.  While I'm not an advocate of either swearing or Mac & Cheese, this campaign did really well all over the globe. The campaign uses humour, surprise, statistics (and flips statistics really effectively), shock value, empathy, popular phraseology and is relevant (for Mothers Day - right audience, right key message, right time, right place, right battles.)  So while you probably wouldn’t use some of what she does, you might employ one or two of the devices quite effectively.

Why? Because business, community and government need smart 'n savvy women with big, bold and new ideas leading!

And if you want help with this, do get in touch.

Feminine Leadership Superpowers + Attention = Priceless

And happy belated Mothers Day! .

Click the video below...

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

#1 fear that holds you back in your career

Have you ever found yourself at the end of the day after a couple of hefty debates at work thinking

  • "Why didn't I say that?", 
  • "Gee, I wish I hadn't said this ..... ", or
  • "Why is it that I always think of the right answer after the fact?"

If that's you, I hear you. I'm the same. Good with an argument after the fact, but not in the spur of the moment. If there was ever a subject that should become compulsory at high school, I reckon it's debating, to help young people learn how to speak in public, to construct rational arguments on the fly and to give them confidence in responding under pressure.

Frequently in a professional environment we need to defend a position or champion an idea, and speak out effectively on said topic. Easier said than done for most.

You have no doubt heard the humorous, but serious terms, bro-propriation, manterruptions and mansplaining, used to draw attention to those times when men speak over women, interrupt women or appropriate women's ideas. Worse, you've likely experienced them.  Yet there are things we women can do on our own behalf to ensure that our voice is heard and opinion is valued.

Learning how to back yourself and your ideas, express your opinions powerfully and effectively in meetings, public forums and via published mediums such as interviews will help.   

Evidence tells us that there are more male speakers on the speaker circuit and historically the consulting world has been dominated by men. However with more and more women speakers stepping up and speaking out, along with the rise of the fempreneur, our professional world is changing.  And the expectation for consultants, business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs, is that you need to know how to express your opinion in public (comms department permission pending of course).


I believe in the power of the voice of women.
— Malala Yousafzai

Letting go of your need to be right

Landing an opinion and having others critique it is extremely challenging for the recovering perfectionist. Yet when you let go of your need to be right, it is far easier.

Once you let go of your need to be right all of a sudden you allow for the possibility that there might be more than one opinion that is right at any one time.  After all, an opinion is just an opinion and what we hold to be 'true' today may be considered 'false' tomorrow anyway - and vice versa.

"Pressophobia" - fear of being interviewed by the press

Here’s the rub – most people are scared of expressing their opinion in public. In fact, fear of public speaking is the #1 fear for many and ranks even higher than death.

But I reckon if there is one thing that some people fear more than speaking in public, that’s being interviewed by the press/media.
 
If done right, media is a great way to boost your personal brand, build your credibility, position you as an expert and help you create authority.   Whether that’s industry press, your peak body magazine, or more highly publicised media channels such as television, radio and print/online articles it doesn’t matter.  

And if it’s done badly you have egg on your professional face in a potentially humiliating way.

Expert advice from three women in the know

Michele Barry, Sharon Sebastian & Rebecca Leo

Michele Barry, Sharon Sebastian & Rebecca Leo

 

 

So to help you become better prepared about possible interviews and getting more comfortable with voicing your opinion – I went straight to the source. Three women who know what it’s like to speak with the press and be quoted in public, have given you their thoughts on how to prepare. Thanks to each of Michele Barry, Rebecca Leo and Sharon Sebastian for generously donating their perspectives!

 

Michele Barry is a leader in the pubic health sector, is currently National President of Better Hearing Australia and Director of Frontis Consulting.  She regularly represents the organisations she works for.

Michelle’s advice:

1. Know your key messages and be ready for action. Media opportunities can be valuable and at times unexpected. Write media releases, followed by phone calls - get to know the journalists and producers in your topic area.

2. Be easy to deal with - when a journo calls you; call back quickly, respect the time lines of those in the media. If you are easy to deal with you will be called  back for your area of expertise. If you are difficult to deal with journos will simply call someone else.

3. Media interviews take practice so ask a trusted friend or colleague for feedback. I was told I smiled too much, which might be good sometimes, but in that instance it was a serious topic.

4. Call or write back to the journalist and say thank you. Tell them about the impact. You are more likely to be asked for an interview again.

5. Have a heading called media contacts on your website/ Facebook.  Make it easy for people to help you and connect withyou.

  • Michelle’s recommended resources: Invest in media training. Watch recordings of your self and work on your personal style. Sign up to "the Source" a PR reaching site and go for it.
  • Michele can be contacted via LinkedIn

Rebecca Leo is the Founder of Roar Women and the award winning Roar Events Australia. She is a speaker, coach and presenter who found herself winning a spot as a guest co-host on The Project!

Rebecca’s #1 tip was given to her by journalist (and host on the night) Hugh Riminton, when she was on The Project:  Just be yourself!  Be in the conversation as you would be with your best friends.   Your presence on camera is much more appealing when you are being naturally you.

Sharon Sebastian is a former journalist and currently works as a senior communications professional in Queensland. 

Sharon’s #1 advice?

Be prepared and do your research on the journalist, the publication and their target audience

  1. Find out who the journalist is and which publication they are from. Try and find a couple of articles written by your interviewer to get a feel for what their writing style is like.   
  2. Ask what the article is about and get the deadline.
  3. Get your questions ahead of time – a good journalist will normally send you through a set of questions so you can prepare. If they don't, not to worry, just ask.
  4. Key messages – if you are representing your organisation, think about what key messages you would want to get across. Don't try to be a salesperson! (Journalists do not like this.) Think about how you can creatively incorporate key messages about your organisation, while answering the questions put forward by the journalist, in line with what the article is about.

In summary

  1. Yes, learning how to speak out articulately and confidently is an excellent executive branding tool. Invest in training, support and practice so you can leverage it.
  2. Work out what you stand for - key messages, succinct, articulate, powerful and effective
  3. Be yourself - everyone else is taken!
  4. Do your research into the publication and audience
  5. Make it easy for people to find you.

Let me know how you go! If you end up being featured by your industry rag or profiled in your peak body magazine, send me a copy!  I'd love to share.


Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #careerfutureproofing #visibility #womeninleadership


Keen to read more? ....

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

From Zero to Hero in Five Easy Tactics

I was recently interviewed by LinkedIn blogger Tony J Hughes. He asked me to reflect on what drives me to encourage women into the C-suite (Step Up, Speak Out, Take Charge),. He asked me what sparked my initial interest in the topic, and also my top tactics or advice for women who think they are ready to take the lead.  Here's what I told him - plus a few extra tidbits that came up after his publishing date.

My mission in life is to help women to play a much bigger game – change the world if you will – and do so with big ideas, big vision and big, audacious bucket loads of confidence.
— Amanda Blesing


My mission is pretty clear and it started well before anyone might imagine. Yes, you may already know that I observed the different ways that men and women tackled ambitious goals and projects while working alongside various professions during my time in the Association sector.

But in fact it probably started in high school as I headed to boarding school at a newly co-ed school (at the time) that was still predominantly male.  There was a pretty clear distinction in who dominated the power base at the school and ...... I didn't enjoy being relegated to playing second fiddle purely based on my gender, one little bit. Yet I wasn't quite "ready" to challenge the status quo either.

While I didn't know what to do about it then, it certainly sparked an interest in seeing women tackle exciting and meaningful work - with strategies to work through those roadblocks, brick walls and glass ceilings of bias, discrimination or even leaning out behaviours, that sometimes get in the way.

I immersed herself in the works of Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In; Tara Mohr, Think Big; Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, The Confidence Code and Carol Dweck's Mindset as a starting point.  I also drew upon the latest research and findings in neuroscience to try and understand exactly what is it that keeps women "mired in middle management".

ZerotoHero.jpg

And finally, I examined the more unsettling research around gender bias and unconscious bias that keeps women out of leadership despite concerted efforts by women, business and governments to meet gender diversity targets.

Then voilà!  The Ambition Revolution was born - one-on-one mentoring for professional women – to assist them with confidence, to help them remain strategic and focused on the end goal – elevating themselves more easily to “expert status” and enabling them to more easily execute those bold, audacious moves required.  

It's your turn now

So if you're thinking about tackling something big, bold and audacious in the new year - maybe a promotion, maybe a career change, or maybe you want to head out on your own in a new venture - here are my top five tips for both men and women.

1. Stop being busy and start being strategic: As women we derive a lot of value in being busy. I suspect that sometimes being busy helps us see that we’re adding value and makes us feel less like a fraud. So we’ve polished up “busily doing the job well” to within an inch of it’s life and we imagine that it’s a sure-fire track to success. One of the key learnings is that being busy is going to make you miss the woods for the trees. Being busy keeps you side tracked. Being busy also wears you out. Work out ways of delegating, automating and systematising so that you can create time for strategy. And not just strategy in your work but being strategic about your career and leadership journey.

2. Put your hand up BEFORE you feel ready: The reality is that by the time we feel ready, it’s frequently too late.

  • We know statistically that there are more women undertaking post graduate education than men, and yet it’s not translating to more women in leadership or increased salary for women. And the studying is just one aspect of where we over prepare.
  • Remember the old Hewlett Packard internal research where women will only apply when they meet 100% of the criteria where as men are more likely to apply even if they only meet 60%? Yep, there it is again.  
  • We also know that, on average, women ask four times less frequently than men for a raise!! Yep, there it is yet again.
  • Remember back in primary school in year 1 or 2, when the teacher would ask a question of the group? The boys in the class would all shoot their hand up to get the teacher’s attention even if they didn’t know the answer. Somehow they knew even then, that it made you look better to be proactive and have your hand up, rather than wait around until you thought you knew the answer. Perhaps they realised that by the time the teacher got around to asking them for the answer, they might have had the chance to puzzle it out or even if they got it wrong, there were no serious consequences. They might have looked a little silly (to the girls) but they actually didn’t really care about that either.

So volunteer for projects and roles slightly beyond your comfort zone and expertise. Just in time learning is equally valid as any other form of education and sometimes far more relevant. The entire discovery learning model is predicated on it! Don’t dismiss it.

3. Get comfortable with discomfort: We know from the science of training for any athletic challenge, that the training will be hard work and will possibly hurt. Whether you like “Biggest Loser” or not, it’s a great example that if you want to achieve great results you need to not only do the work, but put yourself out there.

Is it that the female risk brain is more sensitive and finely tuned? Is it that young girls are protected and nurtured, where as young boys are (figuratively) thrown out into the wilderness to fend for themselves? Or is it something else entirely?

Get comfortable with discomfort because it’s from that discomfort that you will learn a heap about yourself and grow.  And the reality? Our brains light up like a Christmas tree when we achieve great results that we’ve had to strive for.

4. Learn the language of value: When many women describe their professional performance they frequently use language such as “loyal”, “hard working”, “thorough” and “diligent” – even at a senior level. Remember how we like to think in terms of doing good work and doing it well? The reality is if you can’t communicate in language that the C-suite understands, connecting with overall results, drawing parallels and linkages to the organisation's overall strategy, or even as to what keeps your CEO awake at nights, then you’ll be bypassed. This means thinking in terms of big picture and context and helping people to see how what you do contributes in those big picture ways.

Susan Colantuono, a career coach for women based out of the USA, talks about the critical “missing 33%” in female business education:

  1. Strategic acumen,
  2. Financial acumen and
  3. Business acumen.

Once again, don’t wait to learn it. Teach it to yourself. Learn the language of value and start using it immediately.

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.

— Amelia Earhart

5. Don’t just sit there – do something.  While strategic action is better than frantic action, some action is definitely better than no action. No action creates inertia and keeps you stuck in a rut.

It's just like a well worn track in the bush.  It's much easier to stay in the rut than forge new pathways.
  • Action is the fix for low confidence. 
  • Action is the fix for frustration.
  • Action moves you in some direction and creates momentum. Even if it’s the wrong direction you can change course.

Many years ago someone gave me the advice that no decision is a decision. At the time I took this to mean that delaying on a decisions that was okay. Yet the reality is that action in any direction will cause new information to come to light and it's far easier to course correct (in most circumstances) than get out of a state of inertia.

So why is all this important?

Because Feminine Leadership is said to be the leadership style of the 21st Century. Collaborative thinking, emotionally intelligent approaches, looking at old problems in new ways, transparency and non linear approaches are all part of this.

Women—and the men who can think like them—are creating a future we’ll all want to inhabit
— John Gezerma, The Athena Project

So sometimes as women we need to "Step Up, Speak Out, and Take Charge" whether we feel ready or not, whether it's easy or not and maybe whether we like it or not.  Because it's far easier to create a future you actually like, from the front, not the back. And its also far easier to change something once you actually have a seat at the table.  

If you don't have a seat at the table, BYO chair!
  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and art of amping smart and savvy.
  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game.
  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Language Warning! Four bad habits that undermine your credibility

The gender diversity (or gender equality) debate has been going on for years and seems to have gathered a new and welcome momentum.  Some of the issues we face include unconscious bias, conscious bias and downright discrimination.  However sometimes there is a piece of the pie that we women need to own. Sheryl Sandberg talks about “leaning in”.  I call it stepping up, speaking out and taking charge. 

When it comes to gender politics in the office, just like dressing appropriately, we also need to pay attention to our language and speech habits. If we want a seat at the “big table” then we need to speak like grown ups and “own that sh*t”.  And the following four habits that we women frequently demonstrate undermine our credibility and authority all in one - without us even knowing.

“And anyway, who wears a tiara on a jungle gym?”
— Sheryl Sandberg

1. Just – the most recent culprit  in the language debate is the use of “just”. Earlier in 2015 Ellen Petry Leanse, founder, Karmahacks; strategist, advisor, online pioneer was published in Business Insider calling women out on it.

I was delighted and couldn't agree more, because the word is a pet peeve of mine.  I hear this word all the time and mostly from women. Let’s be honest, frequently there is no just about it. At the very least the word is redundant – and at the most it diminishes the opinion, status or impact of the request by the initiator/asker.

Toolkit.jpg
  • “I just wanted to find out …..”
  • “I was just booking for …..”
  • “ I am just enquiring about …..”
  • “Just following up …”
  • “Just checking in …."

My own research (sample size of about six close personal female friends for brunch) determined that the use of the word is part of our feminine socialisation – not to big note ourselves, not to stand out, not to offend, not to challenge, to be safe and (let’s own the negative impact of fashion magazines, dieting and body image too) to be diminutive, small and not a bother.

So check your emails before you hit send.  Listen to your own speech patterns. Then remove “just”. This one small change makes your communications far more powerful. Try it. You may be surprised at how confident you sound and the results that you get with this one simple change.

2. Deflecting compliments . Oh boy. And most of us think we are simply doing the right thing!

You know when someone pays you a compliment and you say;

 “Oh, it was nothing, it was just my job, in fact the team did most of the work and … the reality is the project didn’t go so well. We hit a few speed bumps, we crashed into a few hurdles ………..” ? 

Sound familiar?

It’s okay to accept a compliment as it is and simply say thank you.  It makes the giver feel good, it boosts your own confidence plus it helps with your own credibility. Repeat after me -

“Deflecting compliments undermines credibility.
Accepting compliments boosts it.”

As women we’ve been taught time and time again not to big note ourselves, not to take credit unless its totally ours, and not to stand out . Why? Because it's allegedly “unladylike”. 

Well in a future where women are leading equally with men it’s totally unprofessional (non gender specific) to not accept a compliment.  So own it, accept it and maybe dish out a few compliments of your own as you see how they boosts the confidence of both the giver and the receiver.

3. Apologising for strong opinions

"Women are 37%* more likely than men to identify their own behavior as worthy of an apology, which leads to women apologizing more frequently than men do ... which in turn, unfortunately, fuels the double standard that women who aren’t “apologetic enough” are bossy (or worse)."  Upworthy July 2014

All true and correct according to a 2010 study by Karina Schuman and Michael Ross entitled Why Women Apologize More Than Men; Gender Differences in Thresholds for Perceiving Offensive Behavior.

However what’s more concerning is that as women we sometimes apologise for having strong opinions.  You’ve probably heard it in meetings or in strong discussions where sometimes, if a woman lands a contrary opinion, she apologises.

“If you set out to be liked, you will accomplish nothing.”
— Margaret Thatcher

Learn to accept responsibility for your own thoughts, ideas and opinions. They are just that; thoughts, ideas and opinions, not "truths".   These thoughts, ideas and opinions are based on the evidence you have access to at that time. 

As women we apologise even when its not our fault – when we bump elbows with someone on the plane next to us, when we are startled and when we talk over someone. Sheryl Sandberg says its because have been told we are too bossy since we were little girls. Sound familiar?  

It’s ingrained into us and a hard pattern to break.  But if you want to see evidence of what a difference it makes then check out this powerful campaign by Pantene – demonstrating the power of turning off your “automatic” sorry response.  

4. And finally - Uptalk – more commonly known as ending a sentence that is not a question with an upward inflection .

If you have any ambitions to head up a team, lead an organisation or influence others to join you in your new venture you’ll want to knock this one on the head - immediately.

Linguistic experts don’t really know where it came from but it’s fairly wide spread and, unfortunately Australians and New Zealanders are rather expert at it.  In a 2014 BBC article they call attention to the rise of the upward inflection (pun intended) and how it sounds like we are asking for permission all the time. This in turn diminishes your power,  your credibility and authority. 

Picture this - you are a high performer, possibly even a perfectionist, with an eye for your next big promotion.  You go in for your performance appraisal and you are totally and awesomely prepared.  In outlining your work, your input and the key measurable outcomes, every second statement you make ends with a upward inflection - which make it sound like a question.  

  • Where is the power in this conversation?
  • How credible do you think it sounds?

More importantly it sounds like you are seeking permission - rather than making statements - therefore undermining your best attempts at negotiating that extra pay rise or next big promotion.

The fix for it all?

The ego’s deep, ingrained need for approval is hard to fix - so you’ll need to be vigilant. 

  • Next time you have a conversation I challenge you to record yourself and listen for the tone and melody of your conversation.  Listen out also for apologies, the word just and also compliment deflection. Determine whether or not they were necessary - or simply ingrained patterning, people pleasing or seeking approval behaviours.
  • Ask a trusted colleague, coach or mentor to give you feedback next time you are in a meeting or in a situation where you feel stressed or uncertain.
  • Rehearse a few times and then record yourself again so you can hear what's really going on.  Fake it till you make it is probably great advice in this instance.
  • I've even heard of a manager using this as a teaching point with the entire team to ensure the department operated more efficiently and effectively - supporting each other and getting better results as a result.

So why is this important?

We're in interesting times right now.  As women we want to lead but frequently find the journey there is not easy at the best of times and downright challenging at the worst.  You want to make sure that your ambition "tool kit" is fitted out with the best of the best, sharpest, high quality tools that help you get ahead more easily.  Credibility, authority and expertise are great tools  - and we need to make sure that we don't accidentally undermine ourselves despite best efforts and intentions.

Vive la révolution! 

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—    If you missed it - 3 Signs Your LinkedIn Profile Sucks

  • I am the creator of The Ambition Revolution – the science and  art of amping smart and savvy. 

  • I mentor busy professionals to ensure they remain strategic, agile and focused on the bigger game. 

  • I also work with organisations who are trying to increase the profile of women in leadership, but struggling to do so.

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months