Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Ouch: A Quick Way to Derail Off-putting Conversations

In my quest to be the best-est possible leadership symposium planner, I attended the 2019 Joint Women's Leadership Symposium last week here in DC. One of the lunchtime breakouts was with the authors of Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women, Brad Johnson and David Smith. Wow! Their presentation was so fabulous and they packed a lot into a short amount of time.

My biggest take away was a genius hack they shared to overcome "bystander paralysis." It's difficult when something is said in a group that crosses a line, something like, "Hey Beth (sole women in group), why don't you go get us coffee while we get the meeting started." Speaking up is awkward or uncomfortable, right? And it's an innocuous, not a big deal task. But it's not treating a group member equally, either. And if you don't speak up immediately, it's gets even more awkward.

Their recommendation? Say, "Ouch!

That gives you a couple more seconds to gather your thoughts, and put together a better response, like, "It's better if (other person) gets coffee so we can all get started." or something. This is kind of a lame example, I know, but give it a try. It sounds better than, "Wait, what?" or "Seriously?" or "WTF?" (ha!)

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