If you’ve ever found yourself in a work meeting, you’ve probably been subjected to what the internet has coined as “mansplaining.” Thanks to the internet, we are now consistently overwhelmed with the purest examples of mansplaining across the world. Since you can’t necessarily be as brave in your response to mansplaining as you would on Twitter, we’ve brainstormed a few ways to deflect, avert and gracefully take on every type of encounter in your workplace.
Where do mansplainers get their water
From a well, actually
— Keegan Osinski (@keegzzz) April 13, 2016
First things first, how do you spot mansplaining?
Mansplaining can come in multiple forms or combinations of interruption, repetition or vocal intonation. For example, if you notice a male coworker start his sentence with “well, actually,” listen closely to what he says after. If you feel any disregard to your credibility, listen closely. If you feel at all patronized, you have every right to believe it is mansplaining. As women, when something makes us feel less than or causes us to question ourselves after a certain instance, we tend to disregard or push aside. So noticing and putting a name to this event is the first step in helping us be less passive.
If a coworker keeps interrupting you
Most mansplainers don’t know they are committing the act, so raise your hand and say, “I’ll hand the mic over to you when I’m done.” This will politely tell whoever is interrupting you that you’re acknowledging them but would appreciate if they didn’t interrupt you. Of course, if you’ve built enough rapport with this coworker, be upfront and say “please stop interrupting me.” After the meeting, follow up by telling this person how being interrupted makes you feel.
If you feel like someone isn’t acknowledging your experience
Utilize this feedback model: this is what you did, this is how it made me feel and this is what you can do differently next time. I know we were all taught “I feel” statements in kindergarten, but this still holds true. Your coworker most likely isn’t evil, just uninformed. Tell him on his first offense how you felt being interrupted and how he can help you out next time. He’ll most definitely be more careful with his words in the future.
Don’t use apologetic language when speaking up for yourself
Women tend to use words like “just,” “sorry,” “kind of” or “maybe” when sending emails or speaking up in a meeting. While we may feel like we’re saving face, in reality we are veiling our power and intelligence. We’re also adding more filler in our language, making our emails less sincere. Limiting your use of apologetic language will help you out in the long run. Try this awesome GMail Chrome extension called Just Not Sorry. It will underline all apologetic language to make your emails much more purposeful.
Band together with other women you work with
In the spirit of shine theory, when some women look great every woman looks great, you and your fellow female coworkers can practice amplification. According to Huffington Post, Obama’s top, female aides used an amplification strategy in the workplace. Whenever a female speaks up in a meeting, other women will follow up or continue to repeat what that female said, ensuring they credit her every time. This makes ideas, statements and opinions harder to ignore or talk over.
We’re not there yet, but there is no doubt that progress is being made. Hopefully these tips help you out. We got this!