5 Tips to Help Businesswomen Succeed
In the last decade, women have made great strides in business. Unfortunately, we usually have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and we still only earn $.77 for every dollar a man makes. Many factors play into how a woman in business is perceived, and it’s an obstacle that can be downright frustrating at times. Is it society’s fault for creating stereotypes and engraving a false perception in our minds? Or are we to blame for feeding the perceptions with our actions?
Here at The BLU Group, we are constantly working on ways to improve ourselves as business professionals and are fortunate enough to have the tools and resources to do it. From observation, experience, loads of advice, and constructive criticism, I have developed 5 tips for business professionals (particularly women just entering their field) to learn and live by:
- Stop saying, “I feel”: How often do you hear businessmen starting off a topic with “I feel”? Hardly ever. Women are more emotional than men; that’s just biology. This doesn’t mean we have to let our emotions control us. When you’re giving an explanation or input on a subject, give facts, statistics, knowledge from experience, etc. Leave your feelings out of the mix unless they are requested.
- Stand up for yourself: Don’t let other people intimidate you. If you feel strongly about a decision or an idea and it gets shot down right away, ask why. When you get an understanding of the rejection, be strong and give support for your idea (again, with facts not feelings) and see where it goes. You’re going to get rejected, you may even get yelled at, and you’re going to have people that don’t like you. That’s not just business; that’s life. Learn to take all the negativity that gets thrown at you, and use it to develop “thick skin”. Business is tough; you should be too.
- Speak up: If you’re too scared to share your thoughts/ideas with your boss, co-workers, vendors, and/or clients, how will you ever separate yourself from the rest? Become great at what you do and let yourself be heard. Note that the most successful business people in this country are anything but shy when it comes to speaking their minds.
- Educate yourself: Obtaining a higher degree and graduating from college shouldn’t be the end of your education. You should always be searching for ways to improve yourself – personally and professionally. Confidence grows from knowledge.
- Know your value: Above all, know how valuable of an asset you are. If you feel you are underpaid, unappreciated, and/or mistreated in your place of employment and you’ve tried everything to change it, leave. There are employers out there that will recognize your skills and talents, and pay you according to your overall worth.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned in life, it’s that you can’t change anything but yourself. Even if you have to work harder to be taken seriously, do it! You will only grow as a person and as a business professional. Say it with me ladies; “I am woman, hear me roar.”