Speaking Up

Speak up is a piece of advice often given to women because women have traditionally been denied the chance to voice their opinion. Hence subconsciously women tend to not voice their opinion, so the continued insistence to Speak Up.

This has led to the other side of the fallacy. Because we are told to speak up we are also at the risk of executing it at the wrong places at the wrong time. And probably look like that woman who just said something for the sake of saying it. We are often told this example of how men even though they don’t know anything get away with talking crap and being treated smart. So we should too. Here is the thing. Women have a higher cost to pay for speaking for the sake of speaking. Speaking without knowing. Speaking out of context. Speaking crap and getting away with it doesn’t easily work for a woman. Neither do we want to compete with that low-hanging fruit. When we do that we just make it easier to be disregarded as that one who doesn’t know anything but sits there because she is a woman.

As always we have to tread the line.

In places where you are known, you are a part of the group, let’s assume you can speak up, naturally and sensibly.

Speaking Up in situations where you are new, you are ignored and you need to be heard, they are hard and tricky. Do it wisely.

When you are new, when you don’t have anything to contribute, Speak Up to say so.

The power of speaking up comes from preparation. Preparation for the details of the matter at hand, the subject matter.

When you are new, understand the context and ask smart questions. Don’t give a warning “this might be a dumb question.” If it’s a dumb question you probably can choose to seek clarity offline.

When you are ignored, learn the subject matter pertaining to the discussion to contribute. Even if it’s one line, a summary, assert your chance to speak. That one-line summary should speak for the ignored hours and silence. It matters what you speak than how long you speak.

Then there is also a space where you have to Speak Up to be known, to keep one foot on the gas pedal for your next career progression or rating. Others should know you exist. So you have to Speak Up. Speak Up often You shouldn’t worry whether you would be seen as dumb. But you also have to be prepared not to talk dumb. It applies to everyone, but as a working woman who has a little costly penalty to pay let’s make it better for ourselves.

We know it’s important to Speak Up. Let’s Speak Up wisely. All it takes is just a little bit of preparation.

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