Getting The Manterrupter To Shut Up
There can be many challenges when it comes to being a woman in the workplace. Dealing with stereotypes, unequal pay and, in some cases, harassment. Another challenge can be dealing with different types of male personalities. A common one is known as a "manterrupter," a man who interrupts women who are talking.
You might be wondering what's the big deal. It seems all people interrupt when someone's talking. And you'd be right. This difference is the intent. For manterrupters, the intent is to dismiss what the woman says.
Here are a few suggestions to deal with the manterrupter at work. In Elizabeth Weise's article in USA Today, she suggested that you get allies (women or men) to support you in meetings. Allies will highlight your point or idea in the meeting and/or stop a manterrupter in his tracks. For example, an ally might say, "Wait a minute, Jack. Lorie's got a point about recruitment. Let her finish."
Use assertive body language and a strong/loud tone of voice to get back control. Stick your pointer finger straight up in the air or use an open-palm facing out (like a stop sign) to tell the manterrupter to stop. Turn your head away from him and continue talking to the group. If you're sitting then lean forward. Or, stand up or stand up and put your hands on the table. When you stand up people are looking up at you both figuratively and literally.
Mistakes To Avoid With The Manterrupter
A manterrupter is a man who interrupts women when they're talking. When dealing with men who have this tendency, there are a common mistakes women make. Many women, not all, may shut down, be quiet or withdraw. This is a mistake because he's steam rolling over you.
Another common mistake is not being persistent when trying a new strategy to shut down the manterrupter. Let's say that you decide to talk louder when you're interrupted. But as soon as the man talks louder than you, you quit. It’s tenacity that makes the point. You have to stick it out until they shut up. Yes, it might be uncomfortable, but you have to deal with it to be effective.
While raising girls to be nice, polite and nurturing, it's also important to raise them to recognize their value and that they deserve respect. This means that their politeness and niceness needs to have an edge. To cultivate this characteristic, allow your daughter to voice her opinions. Help her to ramp it up and tone it down when necessary.
Blanca Cobb is a WFMY News 2 Contributing Editor, body language expert and keynote speaker/trainer who covers nonverbal communication, psychology and behavior. Follow her @blancacobb. The opinions expressed in this article are exclusively hers.
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