As of late, I’ve been called out a lot, by men nogal, for always saying “I’m sorry.” It’s made me particularly aware of my generally apologetic demeanour. I feel like I’d apologise for breathing in some circumstances. I’m certainly on a journey of self development, and with that, lessons of unconditional self acceptance. But it’s become evidently clear that being a young woman in business enhances my sense of inferiority when it comes to being confident and owning my capabilities.
Nkiru Olumide-Ojo recently took to social media with some business advice for women that’s circulating for all the right reasons. It hit me hard. This boss lady is a Nigerian female enthusiast, author, columnist, development speaker and technocrat, with a career history in financial services, aviation, telecommunication and petroleum sectors.
Women have, and are still, shattering glass ceilings in the business world. But Olumide-Ojo pointed out some engrained ways of thinking that still follow us females into the office. This empowering business beastess took to her social media to raise awareness around three words women use to disempower themselves at meetings.
1. “Am I making sense?”
In asking this, women are making their point less powerful, says Olumide-Oj. She suggests to rather ask if what you are saying is understood. Understood?
2. “I’m sorry, I just want to say that…”
This is a biggie for me. I’m always apologising. It’s become a toxic defence mechanism to prevent myself from saying something that someone else might not particularly agree with or appreciate. Olumide-Oj emphasises that there’s no need for any woman to feel apologetic for speaking. You are allowed to use your voice! (Makes mental note…).
3. “It may not be a smart idea but…”
Using negative qualifiers is both annoying and destroying. For me, this is just wining dressed up for a day at the office. Olumide-Oj suggests using an idiom to illustrate, or try “Have you considered…”.
*Idiom: Words or phrases that aren’t meant to be taken literally. So, for example, rather than saying. “It’s probably not possible but…” try “It’s a long shot but…”. Back yourself and be confident.
“The language you use can be so empowering. Being positive, knowing your worth, owning your expertise can all be conveyed to others with the language you use,” concluded Olumide-Oj.
Preach it, sister!