Convener: Ching V.
Notetaker: Liv E.
Specific resources to share from session: (links, books, organizations, articles etc.)
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Led By: Ching Valdezco
“No matter what industry, what field – people are people”
What brings you to this discussion?
“I want to get better at communicating with people – I want to get my point across better and effectively”
“I feel like I’m at the point in my career where i feel like I need to make the jump to management and want to be able to know the right way to be an equal at the table with the guys”
“I saw leadership, a seat at the table, and I want to hear everyone collaborate on it”
“I’m here to learn from everyone else and leadership skills and more management, and increase my skills”
“I just started my career and want to get a head start and hear what people have to say”
“There’s a retention problem for women and the perception of what you can and can’t do – in the past, I was a CEO, and I could use my skills accordingly. At big companies there are all sorts of politics because you can’t get respect if you don’t have the right title… the statistics show that women don’t get promoted and are not pushed up – a seat at the table & getting women into the executive suite are really important to learn”
“I took time off to raise my children, and I’m starting to look into doing something for myself again”
“I would qualify myself as ambitious and I have heard often that “Women don’t ask” – and trying to balance that with how I know I deserve what I want and what I should”
“ I want to share my experiences with just being bullish and asking”
“I want to learn how to change people’s perspective that I am shy and afraid to speak up for myself”
“I hit a wall and I am told I’m being emotional when I try to push for things”
“I love engineering but I think I like a lot of other things too and some of the leadership roles really excite me. I would like to see how I can be more effective in communicating that in my workplace”
“I am an employee and I’ve been a consultant most of my career – I’ve had to adopt a lot of male mannerisms to try and blend in. Right now I’m in a very diverse workplace, and I was recently involved with a very important program and when they decided to choose a manager, I’d like to talk about the ways that we limit ourselves”
“I was thrust into a leadership role, but the moment I started looking for my next thing, I realized I’m not good at asking for help to find a new job.”
“I’ve always been assertive and pushed myself ahead, but now I’m finding out my passion comes across as being bossy. Maintaining assertiveness and passion but holding back and talking less in meetings feels like going backwards.”
“I started early – I spent the first 2/3rds of my career not knowing how to speak up, but the further you rise in your career, the more important these skills become. For many of us, in order to progress, being able to make ourselves heard is hugely important.”
A leader is someone who can develop a vision and share it with someone in a way that they can understand it.
Gardner survey: 700 CIOS, what are the most important traits? “Business Acumen” = #1, Communication Skill = #2, Executive presence: #3. Technology skills? #12
Business acumen: Knowing about the impact of what you do on the business – being able to describe what you do, and how does that affect the bottom line?
Being able to speak about the business understanding is critical when moving between jobs and roles: women’s resumes will discuss what their role was, whereas men’s resumes will list concrete examples.
Many of us have been raised to be humble and not talk ourselves up – but this is a skill we need to learn.
“An experiment I did myself: I work with 5 men – and they yell. I was in charge of a project, it was my first big project, I needed to make an impression and that I knew what I was doing – I had to yell. I had to cut these guys off. And the response? “Calm Down.” So, I shared an article about how women responding the way men do is misconstrued as emotional – and since then, they’ve been more respectful.”
Understanding business requires little new knowledge, but a new vocabulary. How do I find it?
Mentors and ask them about it
Bring up conversations with those who have it
Start 1:1 to not just learn, but build support for ideas
Walk through ideas and ask for advice
Get everyone bought in early
Charging right in – you really need to work against your instincts in some way
What seems to be more valued in business is less of “I have all the answers” and instead “I know how to get them”
Prepare for questions
Practice difficult conversations
Say it, especially if it’s a tough ask
“Think about the leaders you respect. They aren’t people who know everything, they’re the people who you feel comfortable with and are willing to admit they don’t always know the answer.”
Sometimes people will ask you a question that you are pretty sure you know, but sometimes all you need is a couple of seconds to come up with a good answers. Learn thinking time techniques : “You raise a good point”, “that’s a really good question”, repeat the question as a statement to allow the brain to catch up.
Come up with 2-3 thinking time techniques that you could use
How do people come up with first impressions?
What percent of a first impression comes from the words you say? 7% – 35% is how you sound, and everything else is non-verbal. We have our perception of how we think is the way we come across, but we need feedback that helps us grow.
Practice and get feedback
Notice how often you say facts / suggestions with a rising tone at the end of your conversation
Be conscious of filler words
How should we try to present ourselves?
“I am sure that I think…”
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“How did that sound?”
“What are your thoughts?”
is better than:
“Did that make sense?”
“I hope that helps”
“Was that clear?”
Trying not to be viewed as “emotional” or “motherly”
Deepen your voice
Assign speaking ability to an object “e.g. talking stick”
Tone should be slow and paced
Assign someone to keep a meeting on track well
“Prevention is worth a ton of cure”
Develop a reputation for being the reasonable one in the room
What did you learn?
Lower tone of voice and slow speech
Try recording myself
i need to be calmer
I need to be more aware of where my tone is going and check it
Practice confidence, not humility
Share vision in a way that inspires other
Practice tough asks
I like the idea of speaking about what you’re going to say by repeating
Allies going into a meeting
Practice my voice
1:1 meetings with important people
Good closing sentences
Reminded I end high pitched so it sounds like question
Tip: different genders have different resumes (focus on return on investment”
You don’t have to be the expert to talk about it
“Has everyone had a chance to introduce themselves?”