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How to Make Your Voice Heard in the Workplace (Especially as a Woman or Minority)

By | Regina Borsellino |

Have you ever sat silently as a coworker talked for 47 of the 50 minutes allotted for a meeting? Have you mentioned an idea only to be ignored or have someone else say it later and get credit? It can be frustrating and disheartening to feel like your voice isn’t heard in the workplace.

And when you’re a woman or minority, speaking up at work can be especially difficult. You might feel like you can’t get a word in edgewise or your ideas and feelings won’t be taken seriously. Or maybe you fear you’d be perpetuating a negative stereotype about a minority group or multiple minority groups you belong to.

Unfortunately, these fears aren’t unwarranted: Research shows that women speak less than men in the workplace, despite the perception they speak more, for example, and that women in leadership positions face negative consequences for being more talkative. So what can you do?

Above all else, “Trust your voice,” says Latesha Byrd, a career and talent development consultant and founder of Career Chasers, a virtual coaching experience for ambitious women of color who want to land their dream jobs and create careers they love. And remember that you have a right to be heard.

To be clear: It’s not your fault that your voice isn’t being heard at work. It isn’t the responsibility of marginalized people to drive societal change or fix the biases of groups with power. This article is about what you can do as an individual to help get your ideas and opinions across and your accomplishments recognized despite those biases and inequities.

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