How do I get the men in the room to listen to me?

Dear Aunty B,

I am a young female working in a man’s world. I find that most meetings I attend I am the youngest, most educated, and usually the only female. I have 15 years experience in the field that I work in and have relevant points that add value to the discussion.

My problem is that as soon as I start talking the eyes of my colleagues glaze over and I can see them either straining to hear, or just not listening to my input. Five minutes later, the one person that was listening to me repeats my points and it is accepted as the way to go.

This frustration is removed when I meet with other females in meetings, whereby they seem to be able to hear me and I leave feeling motivated and encouraged. Unfortunately, the majority of my meetings are not with females and I am just left feeling annoyed and ingored. How can I get the ‘boys’ to listen to me? I feel that once I start talking I just sound like a squeaky wheel…



Dear Frustrated,

It’s simple!! Blokes like blokes and you shouldn’t be there. To penetrate the walls of their sexist, little world, you have to go in disguise.

Here are 17 things to do:

1. Look like them. Get a bad haircut, buy a cheap shirt and make sure when you talk, you wave your hands around so everyone can see the yellow sweat marks under your arms. (Don’t forget to boast about how cheap your barber is.)
2. Sound like them. Talk in a deep, monotone voice and never say anything perceptive, insightful or sensitive. Focus instead on stating the bleeding obvious – and often.  
3. Always command your space. Sit at the centre of the table and stretch out your legs really far under the table so everyone around you has to sit side saddle.
4. Tell a jokey story as soon as you sit down so you control the “ball”.
5. Make a few “in jokes” so outsiders feel like losers.
6. When anyone disagrees with you, make disparaging remarks such as “Look, you’re missing the point.”
7. If anyone interrupts you, talk louder.
8. Pour yourself a glass of water and ignore everyone’s empty glasses.  
9. Tell long irrelevant stories about the time you worked somewhere else and did something AMAZING.
10. Scratch your crotch and squirm uncomfortably several times to “adjust”.
11. Start every sentence with “going forward” to show you are, well, going somewhere.
12. When anyone of little consequence – or of the female gender – opens their mouth, look at your watch. 
13. Paraphrase the smartest ideas in the room into management speak.
14. Swear frequently and use the occasional colourful phrase like: “I had him by the balls.”
15. Forget irrelevant things like women’s names and call them flossie, sweetie or darling instead.
16. Act as if everyone in the room wants to have sex with you, then and there, on the floor, desperately.
17. At the end of the meeting congratulate yourself loudly on your great contribution and the great progress you are making. 

There. That should do it! Now when you open your mouth, they won’t see their wife at home. They will see themselves. Oh. And one final tip. Leave your glass on the table for someone else to wash up.

Good luck!
Your Aunty B


To read more Aunty B advice, click here.

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