ST Women in Technology - 38

and this can make you sound unconfident about
what you are saying. And women often use a lot
of qualifiers too - "maybe," "I think we should,"
"we might" - which can make you less persuasive.
It's much better, for instance, to say, "this is what
should happen, or "based on my experience, this
is the right thing to do." At some level, many of us
think that qualifying our statements will protect
us from being judged or criticized, but in fact, it
just makes us easier to dismiss.

WOMEN OFTEN USE A LOT OF
QUALIFIERS - "MAYBE," "I THINK
WE SHOULD," "WE MIGHT" -
WHICH CAN MAKE YOU LESS
PERSUASIVE.

In the course of my ten years as a consultant
at Accenture, I also picked up some speaking
lessons more specific to information technology.
Three of the biggest lessons there were:
Don't sell the technology; sell the
value the technology will bring. It's much
easier to get buy-in for a project when you've
convinced the people who will use it that they're
going to have more time on their hands or that
they'll save money because of the solution you're
implementing.
You need to communicate differently to
different people. Some people will not give
you feedback on a conference call, for example,
but will be more comfortable having a direct
conversation with you afterward. Or they might
prefer written communication. It's important to
try to understand what they prefer and why. This
is especially important if you're working across
multiple cultures.
The more dispersed your team, the more
focused your messages need to be. If you
are communicating with a globally distributed
team, make sure your message is very clear and
straight to the point. Don't try and send multiple
messages in one session.

38

LISTENING TO LEARN
The other set of lessons I learned on the job all
had to do with listening. Of course, I had always
listened, but I found that IT leadership demanded
a much more active kind of listening:
Try to see eye to eye. You will be able to make
a deeper impression and have a better sense of
the local office dynamics if you meet your distant
teams in person. If you can't, video conferences
can be much more effective than the telephone.
Get to know your stakeholders. I found out
that before you implement a change, you need
to talk to the people the change will affect and
understand the impact - good and bad - that
your solution will have on the people using the
system. A lot of times we try and implement
technology without realizing there may be
other changes that are already happening in the
business, and the people may well be exhausted
as they try to keep up. It's crucial to understand
the context.
Look for advice. It doesn't have to be lonely at
the top! People tend to think of mentorship as
an early-stage activity. A mentor is viewed as
someone who can help get you started, but after
those early years, you're on your own. In fact, I
have found mentors to be very useful to me all
the way through my career. It can be very helpful
to reach out to somebody who's done something
like what you're trying to do, instead of trying to
reinvent the wheel and figure everything out on
your own. Depending on your objective and the
goal, there's always somebody out there who
has walked the path or has some experience that
they can share.

MENTORS AND COACHES
Define your goal, then look for somebody who
has the insight and the energy that you need
to show you how to achieve a goal. You don't
necessarily want to choose someone who
looks like you or sounds like you as a mentor.
It's easy to think that, because I'm a woman,



ST Women in Technology

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ST Women in Technology

Contents
ST Women in Technology - Cover1
ST Women in Technology - Cover2
ST Women in Technology - 1
ST Women in Technology - Contents
ST Women in Technology - 3
ST Women in Technology - 4
ST Women in Technology - 5
ST Women in Technology - 6
ST Women in Technology - 7
ST Women in Technology - 8
ST Women in Technology - 9
ST Women in Technology - 10
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ST Women in Technology - Cover4
ST Women in Technology - 108
ST Women in Technology - Poster 1
ST Women in Technology - Poster 2
ST Women in Technology - Poster 3
ST Women in Technology - Poster 4
ST Women in Technology - Poster 5
ST Women in Technology - Poster 6
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