How to Be Taken Seriously As an Ambitious Woman

Own it, woman!  

You put your all into the many goals you’ve set for yourself, and yet you still embrace new opportunities, and continue to push yourself. You’re a girlboss as some would say, or simply a boss, as others would say. You’re practically ambition incarnate, with great depth to your leadership capabilities and potential. Don’t get all bashful with me here, you know it’s true! So if we know just how ambitious and powerful we are, why don’t others seem to perceive us that way sometimes? How can we ensure that we, as women, are taken more seriously in the workplace, and in our daily lives? Well, someone call Aretha, because I’ve got a few ideas for how you can start getting the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. that you deserve! (Did you sing it in your head too?)

1. Watch your body language and vocal inflections!
Women have many strengths when it comes to nonverbal communication (like having a heightened ability to read body language, and express displays of empathy)… go us! However, there are aspects of our body language that we should be aware of in order to increase our authority. I’m sure we all know the classics: shoulders back, chin up, eye contact, firm handshake, blah blah blah. Yes, it’s all absolutely crucial to maintaining your boss status, but here are a few other tips I’d like to point out!
  • Firstly, claim your space! When you’re in a boardroom, or any kind of meeting with other powerful people (and especially around men), it’s easy to feel the need to shrink into ourselves, and take up as little space as possible. Instead, try spreading out your paperwork, broadening your stance, or even putting your hands on your hips. You’ve probably heard of the term “manspreading”, right? Well, let’s get womanspreading! Taking up more physical space will help you assert your authority.
  • Another biggie is the use of self-pacifying gestures like twirling your hair, touching your neck, playing with your jewelry, and so on. These gestures signal that you’re nervous and unsure of yourself, which can lead to people not taking you seriously. Try to be conscious of what your hands are doing when you’re giving a presentation, or speaking with someone.
  • Another habit that deters from our credibility is when we let our voices rise at the end of a sentence. “When we do this? It makes us sound like we’re asking a question? Or for approval? Which leaves us seeming unsure of ourselves once again?”…Do you catch my drift? (The question mark there is totally warranted because I’m actually asking a question, I swear!). So instead of letting your voice rise in pitch at the end of each sentence, try to start on one note, rise in pitch, and then come back down at the end.

2. Be #sorrynotsorry
Let’s take it from Queen B here: STOP SAYING YOU’RE SORRY!  This is something we women do incessantly. You probably even find yourself apologizing when you’re the one who was wronged!  My favorite depiction of this conundrum is illustrated in a Pantene commercial that was part of their “Sorry, Not Sorry” campaign. I’ve personally experienced the chaos that can ensue when you constantly apologize to people, especially after you ask them to do things they’re getting paid to do in the first place! In my case, it led to being disrespected and losing control over the group I was leading (cue the shudders as I get flashbacks of that nightmare). So why do we apologize so much? The reasons are under speculation, but there are valid theories out there. For example, women often experience the imposter syndrome, a feeling that we’re unjustified in having authority, and that we’ll be exposed as frauds when we do have it. This phenomenon is due to societal norms that are in place, but before we start hating on society like a bunch of angsty teens, let’s take a look at another reason why we apologize like it’s our day job. Women have a lower threshold for what they consider to be offensive behavior, so we apologize frequently for very mundane, inoffensive things in our efforts to be polite. Instead of apologizing for everything, let’s start saying thank you! Showing appreciation is always a great way to gain respect, while maintaining a sense of influence. Got it? Good, thanks ;)
AnjeClothing Shirt Dress + Military Button Wrap Dress
3. Dress for success
As the cliché goes, when we look good, we feel good! Wearing clothing that makes us feel powerful is key to bringing out the confidence that we all have within us, which consequently leads people to believing in our capabilities. Since I don’t want to give away too much of next week’s article though (stay tuned, winkwink), I’d also like to bring up how others perceive us through what we wear. Dressing ourselves for success helps others see us as the ambitious, credible women that we are. My advice in terms of dressing for your career would be to get to know your industry well. Different industries have different expectations as far as dress code goes, and being attuned to these expectations will definitely make it easier for your colleagues to take you seriously. Outside of a professional setting, you can have as much fun with your personal style as you want. Anjé clothing provides a sound foundation for you to play up your work wear and your own personal style, so that your authenticity can shine through. You can’t go wrong with our classic, seasonless pieces…put them on and they’ll bring all of the R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (did you sing it yet?) that you deserve!
These tips are great for increasing your authority, and helping to be taken more seriously, but the most important thing we can do as women, is empower one another. One way to do that is to shop The Virtue Collective where 10% of every sale of a Virtue Collective product on our site will go towards helping Kota Alliance innovate and grow, via the Virtueconomy. If empowering women and looking fine as all hell is something you’re interested in, definitely check it out. Stick around for next week’s article if you want to find out more about how your body language and clothing choices (among other things) can boost your confidence! But for now, keep your chin up, don’t you dare say sorry, and keep dressing like the fearless, ambitious woman that you are!

Share this post

Leave a comment

Note, comments must be approved before they are published