Divide and Conquer! Two observations and a conclusion
Observation #1: In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg references an incident in her life- where a male colleague cut her off during a meeting. Her boss came to the rescue by suggesting that Ms Sandberg hadn’t finished her thought.
This was a moment in the book where some women could glaze over- turn off- and say ‘my boss wouldn’t do that for me, as a matter of fact, my boss often IS the person who cuts me off’!
Observation #2: At a compelling panel discussion sponsored by Bloomberg and Bank of New York Mellon, Kelly Easterling, principal at Rothstein Kass, shared that it’s difficult for women to talk themselves up. The solution at Rothstein Kass? A group of female partners gather and share accomplishments. These women become each others advocates- fellow promoters.
A Goldie Solution: I like the idea of putting these two concepts together. When a women gets cut off, another women can certainly step up and suggest that perhaps the speaker wasn’t finished. Unless, of course the speaker is being cut off because she isn’t mindful of how much she’s speaking. This is an affliction Ms. Easterling mentioned that she, herself had been guilty of. Thankfully a colleague brought this to her attention and she’s reformed her ways- resulting in more powerful contributions to meetings.
By supporting each other publicly, we create a collaborative front. Not only is this a powerful step for women, it will prove an asset for company morale, too.
Once that support is exhibited publicly, the offended woman has an opportunity to regain authority- quietly and in a dignified fashion. In a matter-of-fact one on one conversation with the offender after the meeting, the speaker can say something like: ‘Do you realize that when I am speaking at meetings, you tend to not let me finish?’ This simple sentence delivered privately increases the likelihood that the offender will be slightly embarrassed and will reform his rude habit.
Divide and conquer. When you civilly call someone out on a bad habit- you’re taking the high road, claiming your dignity, and setting best practices for the ever after.