In professional settings and male-dominated fields, it is often difficult for women to have their voices heard. No matter how loud or clear or informed that voice is, it can be drowned out by dismissive tones, louder opinions and even self-doubt. Making your presence known and your message heard may be an uphill battle, but it’s an important skill to learn in order to gain respect in your career.

Commanding a room is not about exerting power. It’s about placing yourself in a position where you’re seen on an equal playing field as your peers. Rather than focusing on double standards or changing your voice to fit a particular mold, you should recognize your voice as your strongest asset. Everyone is born with a strong, compelling voice, but if you find your voice being lost in a sea of dissenting opinions, here are a few ways to find your footing and get your point across.

Be confident

Or at the very least, feign confidence. Approaching any situation with confidence convinces the audience of your abilities and helps them feel secure with you in the lead. While it’s always important to be yourself, if you’re not an inherently confident person, by all means, fake it until you make it. No one will be the wiser. 

Be assertive

Oftentimes, assertive women are mistakenly viewed as aggressive. Stop worrying about being liked by everyone and instead focus on being heard. Push past fears and resist the urge to be submissive. At the end of the day, standing up for yourself and your opinions will earn you the respect of your peers. 

Be honest

There are few things more vulnerable and more powerful than speaking your truth. Nothing you say or do will please everyone, so you might as well be authentic to yourself. Listen to your inner voice, and let it guide you. At the end of the day, you don’t have to answer to anyone but yourself. 

Be concise

Wandering ideas and winding sentences lose your audience’s attention and damage credibility. Collect your thoughts before you speak so you know exactly what to say, crafting a shorter yet more poignant statement.  

Be deliberate

Make each word, each breath and each pause intentional. Speak slowly and clearly to give yourself time to think and your audience time to absorb what you’re saying. Your precision will not go unnoticed, your message will be received more clearly and your credibility will get a nice boost. 

The most important thing to remember when you’re looking for your voice is to be sure of yourself. You are capable of incredible things. If you believe that and apply it to everything you do, others will follow suit. 

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