Five Ways To Use Your Voice In The Work Place
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
Have you ever wondered how to stand up for yourself in the work place? Or, have you ever wondered about your tone and if it comes across as passion or does it across as anger? Well in honor of Women’s History Month I spoke with Shantera Chatman, author of emPowHering YOU, which focuses on 12 steps to assist women with finding their voices. Today Chatman stopped by 'Syppin With Symone' to give us five tips on using our voices in the work place so we can continue to secure that bag and prosper!
Being Mindful Of Tone but more specifically black women being labeled as the angry black woman for standing up for ourselves:
That was something I had to understand very early going into Corporate America and working in the areas that I have worked in, I.T. and the Johnson Space Center there aren’t many people who looked like me so I had to really understand what that was. But, at the same time I owned who I was from the very beginning. I did not like people telling me I was loud or that my voice was different. People would say your tone is a little deeper. If you in any way seem passionate and it seems to be loud, you may want to make sure that your tone is lower. My response has always been that was a personal issue because to criticize someone for the tone of their voice or to make sure that it was something mandated in a performance review is inappropriate. The tone of my voice did not come from me, it came from my parents. If I am speaking in the same tone as everyone else it seems as mine is stronger and that is not an issue that I ever feel like I had to take up with anybody. Black women do get a bad reputation for it because we can’t ever get passionate in the workplace without our co-workers yelling that we are trying to kill them. We do have to be mindful of the anger versus being professional. No one wants to be stereotyped. No one wants to be put in a box and once you are there, its very difficult in Corporate America to come out of those boxes.
Owning Your Power: There is power in just being you. Owing your power and who you are breeds confidence and success especially if we are used to dimming out lights for others. Chatman says that when she started in Corporate America she was hired right out of college at the Johnson Space Center so she used to constantly tell herself that she did deserve to be there and her voice belonged at the table because if it didn't then they wouldn't not have hired her. After all how do you expect to ever earn a seat at the table if you are not confident in yourself?
Mentorship and why It Is Important In The Work Place: Having someone to took up to and receive guidance and advice from in the work place is very critical to professional and overall growth for the company. Reflecting on her days as a mentee and how it has helped her, Chatman feels like it is really important for women, especially women of color to find mentors in the workplace. She highly recommends finding someone to talk to and bounce ideas off of, a person who they can vent to when they feel like they aren’t able to speak up, as well as hone their work in the workplace. Finding a great mentor in the workplace can sometimes be challenging, so if you see someone who holds your same values and you look up to them it is okay to ask them would they mind mentoring you. Be proactive, offer to take them out to lunch and start building that relationship!
Women Helping Other Women Succeed In The Work Place: When women come together magic happens because no one is going to understand the woman’s plight in the work place like another woman. For example working mothers do not have the same experience as working fathers. Sometimes when a woman gets promoted in the workplace, her need for survival may kick in and she may feel like she cant speak up because she doesn't have the time so Chatman advises if that is the case, then when you do get invited to the table and are asking questions to allowing the one other woman in the room to say something. Its okay so say her name and call on her. How about allowing Sarah to do this instead of Jim?
Standing Up For Yourself Without Offending Others: In today’s society we have picked up a habit of “clapping back” rather it’s in a professional way or just blunt, everything does not deserve a response. For me personally, my clap backs have offended people and looking back now, I learned that I can stand up for myself without being rude. Chatman says that everything doesn't deserve energy and she allows her actions and work ethic to speak for her. While standing up for yourself is always recommended, you may receive some backlash from people who don't agree with your truth. Chatman recalled a time when her tires were slashed at work. Chatman also recommends taking some time to think before you reply. She shared a story about a time when she was in a meeting and she had to ask for a time out because she did not want to respond in a manner that wasn't professional and she was actually applauded for it.
More about Shantera Chatman: Chatman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Chatman Women’s Foundation, which provides scholarships and grants for women who are building businesses, women who are in school are trying to go back, and women who are trying to get out of shelters. Earlier this year Chatman launched a five city book tour called emPowHering YOU, which is also the name of her second book and was released earlier this year. The five city tour included Houston, College Station, Orlando, Atlanta, and Austin. The tour is designed to give attendees tips on how to prosper, having open conversation network, and a meet and greet with Chatman. Chatman who has dedicated a decade to uplifting women wanted to expand because she wanted more women to be confident in themselves and find there voice.