Gladys’ Old Lady Survival Guide for Meetings

I’ve been in many meetings throughout my career, and I’ve learned quite a bit about how to survive a long meeting and how to get yourself heard (despite being female! Gasp!). Here are a few tips to take to your next meeting so you don’t end up sitting in the back and being forced to take notes. Or get a man a soda.

Interrupt people. It’s ok. Really.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt got some flak on the internet for interrupting USCTO Megan Smith during a panel at SXSW. Women can’t be heard because men constantly interrupt them. And women who try to be the interruptor themselves end up being seen as pushy and aggressive. Well, I’m here to say, it’s ok to interrupt people, people! You just have to do it in a way that makes the other person feel like they interrupted you:

Man: "...So how we will differentiate ourselves in the marketplace--" Woman: "--that's nice, but..."

Man: "!" Woman: "Oh, no, I'm sorry...go ahead..."

Man: "Oh no, you go ahead..." Woman: "As I was saying..."

Reiterate someone else’s good idea and make it your own.
I’ve actually had this done to me many times in meetings. Except that the person actually disagreed with what I said, but to make it seem like we weren’t in conflict, he said we were actually saying the same thing. It was bizarre. But in any case, the last person that states some big idea is usually the one that people attribute the idea to. So grab that last great idea you heard, reiterate it, and make it your own! Nothing wrong with that!

"I think we're both saying the same thing...let me reiterate so everyone understands..."

Even if you’re not paying attention, make sure people think you are.
This is pretty funny, because people say this ALL THE TIME. And no one seems to catch onto the fact that muting has nothing to do with listening. But, people buy it because they don’t want to contend with technology being the reason you couldn’t answer the question posed to you.

"Sorry...can you repeat that? I was on mute..."


No, of course I’m not being completely serious! Sometimes you have to let a little humor into your life to survive the daily grind. Life is too short to get hung up over whether an entire gender is out to get you or if maybe you’re just taking life a bit too seriously.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.