So I listened in on a webinar, or kind of a panel discussion on International Women’s Day. I tuned in assuming it would be just another completely unrelatable chit-chat where people would, in the most ignorant way, brush-off the real challenges women face, forgetting that they were lucky enough to not experience it. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.
Although all women in the panel were from senior leadership roles, they were talking about some very relatable on-the-ground issues that you and I face; things like being skipped in important emails for e.g.!
And the one most important take away for me was this little piece was amazing advice, that I dint realize how precious it was until a week of practicing it – “Always say something in every meeting you attend, virtual or in-person. Never just be a silent spectator for the entire duration.”
At the time it just felt like a nice suggestion. So I practiced it throughout the week. I attend almost 6-7 virtual meetings everyday and half the time I am added by my seniors as a backup. So I am just absorbing information during those meetings, without even a greeting or acknowledgment many times. It never bothered me directly because I don’t have such a big ego 🙂 But I will admit very often I feel it takes people longer than usual to give me due importance, not in an indulgent way but as general consideration or thought to include me.
And this trick made me realize staying quiet during those meetings was subtly causing that probably. Who would have thought! As I started to announce myself on joining the meetings, people started to take notice of my name, many time even asking if we have worked before, or how can I contribute to the discussion. It has not changed my life completely, but it definitely has brought a significant difference. People whom I have attended several meetings with before never even knew my name! Or that I was even attending those calls.
I think staying completely quiet during calls is considered a declaration of non-importance, as if I am saying that you don’t need to know my name, just ignore me, I am here to take notes, or for technical/operational issues etc. I never thought about it this way but it might be true. Just one week of practicing saying “Hi everyone. This is Priya from the EA team.” has made a huge difference, at least for me personally. I feel more confident and definitely more acknowledged.
Thank you to women who share such practical advice!