Ask E. Jean: How Can I Make My Voice Heard at Work?

Life & Love

Dear E. Jean: I have a quiet personality. I speak softly. I’ve tried to talk louder. I’ve tried saying, “Please hear me out.” I’ve even raised my voice and said, “Please listen!” And yet, 9 times out of 10, men interrupt and talk over me. They even go so far as to tell me to “calm down” when I’ve raised my voice and am in the middle of saying I would like to “finish my thought.” Why can men use a firm voice and talk over people, yet if a woman does it, they want her to shut up and listen? If a woman is assertive, she’s considered a bitch or told to calm down. I’m beyond pissed. —It Just Happened to Me Again!


Again, Mon Amour: As I write this answer, millions of male half-wits are interrupting women. Nothing seems to stop ’em. Even if women keep talking, or interrupt the interrupter, or say, “Let me finish, please,” the chumps interrupt again two minutes later. I have an unorthodox but practical solution: When you’re interrupted, let the chap get four or five words out, and then declare, “You are brilliant!” Add, “I can’t wait to hear what you have to say after I make my point.” There’s not a man alive who will continue yammering when a woman—particularly a woman with the genial expression of a raconteur—praises his genius. Try it. It’s never failed me.

This letter is from the Ask E. Jean Archive, 1993-2018. Send questions to E. Jean at E.Jean@AskEJean.com.

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