Tuesday, January 27, 2009

speaking up in meetings

For many women, public speaking means speaking up in meetings--and I've yet to meet a woman who hasn't encountered problems when she tries to do so. It's not that they lack competence, says Cecilia Ford, author of Women Speaking Up: Getting and Using Turns in Workplace Meetings: In this downloadable sample of the book's opening chapter:
I started out with an interest in finding cases of what women experience as “having our ideas ignored,” but, after visiting and videotaping the first few workplace meetings for the study, I shifted my attention to documenting women’s evident competency in meeting interaction.
Ford does a "conversational analysis" that walks through the dance of discourse in meetings, including how people take turns speaking, use questions to open up the chance to participate or put a challenge on the table, and skills needed when your point flies in the face of the status quo. Make no mistake: This is primarily an academic analysis, not a self-help book, as Ford notes that women "don't need to be fixed" because their skills are undervalued. (And I agree, but for those who've never learned how to negotiate while speaking in meetings, some training, assistance and reinforcement help.) If getting talked over or ignored are common problems in your workplace, perhaps your human resources team will help invest in this book.

Buy Women Speaking Up: Getting and Using Turns in Workplace Meetings

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