Notes: How to Communicate Effectively as a Female Designer in a Male Dominated Industry
Start with a Credo
“No matter how heated the debate, I take an approach that allows me to be ______ and _______. I do everything possible to find mutually beneficial solutions, separating the problem. I’m respectful of the person, but hard on the problem.”
Asserting confidence as a woman.
Asking for permission can be perceived as avoiding responsibility or an unwillingness to avoid tough decisions. Leaders need to be willing to take risks and make difficult decisions independently.
My strong advice is…
I strongly suggest…
That is absolutely right, and here’s why…
My strong advice is…
I agree completely because…
Here is my plan…
When a man/anyone interrupts you:
I appreciate your questions and feedback. Please hold off until I’m done.
When you’re giving feedback to another designer:
What am I missing here that you’d like me to address?
What feedback do you want?
What are two things I/you did well?
What is one thing I/you that needs improvement?
At which points were you most confused?
At which points were clear to you?
What do you think about this?
Ask permission to give feedback: “Can I share my thoughts with you?”
Give feedback with questions & humility:
“I can see how you… From my vantage point, ….”
“It doesn’t seem to hit home with me.”
Asking for a promotion:
Assuming things are different 6 months from now, what are my changes of gaining a promotion?
Now that I’ve been in this role X years, what actions would it take to advance to the next level?
Have a meta-conversation
“Just want to understand, going in, what are your goals for this review?”
“To make sure I understand, is it OK if I just listen?”
“Tell me more.”
“Why do you say that?”
“What else should I know?”
“So it sounds like…”
“If I understand it correctly…”
“So what you’re saying is…”
“In other words…”
“Let’s talk about X - that’s important. After we talk about X, I want to come back to Y.”
“I see 2 related but separate topics for us to discuss. They are both important. Let’s discuss each topic fully but separately, giving each topic its own track. After we’ve discussed _____, we’ll swing back and discuss ________.”