“we end up in this rut of trying to figure out how to do this and still be likeable, because we’ve been burdened with this idea that if you’re not liked, you can’t get your work done.”
last weekend, leap.club hosted a masterclass with none other than faye d’souza — award-winning journalist & news anchor. faye’s the youngest woman in india to lead a national news channel as its executive editor, and has since changed the way news is covered on indian television and online!
the masterclass was small, warm and intimate. 30+ women across disciplines — vps, brand specialists, founders, women in finance, heads of talent, marketers & more — gathered as faye drew from her experience, wins and challenges alike.
here’s some excerpts from her talk on “how to make your voice heard” — simple hacks and measures that make a big impact!
1pick where you sit with intention.
“i’d reserve a seat in conference rooms with a book and a pen. if i was running the meeting, i’d sit at the head of the table — the position of power. if i wasn’t running the meeting, i’d sit right next to the person who was. where you sit is important, and i’ll tell you why: as women, we tend to fade into the background, intentionally choosing seats that aren’t in the forefront. when you’re sitting right up front, the person who’s speaking is going to look you in the eye and try to convince you. that’s a powerful place to be.”
2don’t wait for permission to speak.
“i’ve seen women do this — they know they have something to add, but they spend time going over it in their heads, more time worrying about whether it makes sense, then waiting for the chap who’s speaking to finish, then thinking about whether it sounds dumb, after which someone else has probably already said it. there would be tonnes of people who spend time saying things that make less sense but aren’t self-censoring.
don’t ask for permission to speak, and definitely don’t apologise for speaking: it’s okay to interrupt politely & get straight to the point.
‘if i may’ > ‘i’m sorry, but…’ — what’s the worst that will happen?
speak as often as you can, and as much as you can — let people get used to the sound of your voice!”
3rephrase your self-doubt.
“if you’re thinking about suggesting something that is a bit of a gamble and may or may not work, change the verbiage around how you say so. ‘we should experiment with this’. ‘consider’ ‘attempt’ ‘experiment’ — admit it’s a gamble but don’t take yourself down!”
4talk softer & slower: breathe when emotions get heightened.
it’s very often that emotions can bubble up at work, particularly when we’re fighting for something we’re passionate about, or have strong views on. whether anger or frustration or tears, it is absolutely not wrong in any way: some of the most emotional people are also the most passionate.
“it’s scientifically true that the deeper & slower you breathe, the more you can control your body. so when confronted with difficult situations, remember this. even if you can't control what you’re feeling, you can control what you’re showing. the communication of panic and passion is different, and it’s not enough to just feel — we also need to effectively communicate what we feel.”
5dress the part.
“taking the time and energy to determine what makes you look & therefore feel strong is worth it. when i started out, i realised that wearing jackets made me feel good: not too effeminate, big, and broad. do what you need to do to feel good, so when you walk into the room you feel exactly the way you want to. don’t worry about being judged. the binaries of modest & inappropriate shouldn’t exist, so don’t let judgement bother you.” so whether it’s heels, sneakers, or that bold red lipstick — you do you!