Without a doubt people that are secure in their lives and positions, don’t need to intimidate, right? In working with great teams across the world, I run into this topic a lot. Power being obtained and maintained by intimidation. That is wrong and unnecessary. The strongest and most influential individuals don’t intimidate. Intimidation is a strong sign of weakness.
First of all, when it happens to you, remember this ‘laugh it off’! Don’t respond with withdrawal and silence.
Instead, if you think you are right , move forward head first.
And remember, it happens to all of us! Recently I had the experience that I needed to contact someone on the phone. Granted, we had yet not met, but in the few minutes which followed, this person attempted to be so intimidating that I had to discontinue the call! It was clear that he needed to prove that he was powerful and strong. Instead, he goes on my ‘never call this dude’ list!
Intimidation occurs when people are insecure or too much in awe of their position. Some of the most fascinating people I have met share a common characteristic: they are extremely humble and easy to talk to. Others are not as pleasant and especially in the tech industry, they often attempt to intimidate.
If you can avoid such people, that is great. Avoid them. If you need to interact with such people, then set the record straight from the start and don’t allow such behavior to continue.
How? Generally, if you are equally forceful, these folks back off and become nice. Sometimes depending on the circumstance you need to bring up the topic and explain that their behavior is counter-productive which can help as well.
And remember, sometimes people are not aware of how they come across, how their voice sounds on the phone or how their emails are interpreted. Sometimes, they simply are void of such skills or their title has clouded their behavior.
Having said that, time is a precious commodity. If someone reaches out to meet me, I will respond, but if the person has been unclear about the reason to meet, or it is the wrong meeting, I will politely turn down their approach. But there is always a polite way to do this. I have found that there is no reason to be impolite or rude. I am also aware that the person who does try and reach me, sometimes, had to muster a lot of courage to make the first attempt.
I have not found any reason to intimidate and no reason to use power as a weapon! Have you? I want to make sure you are armed with the ability to not be intimidated. There is a strong difference between being determined, focused and driven versus intimidating. Intimidation turns people off, reduces influence and is of no value. Instead folks, find people who enrich your lives, from whom you learn and can be inspired by. Have you ever seen someone who is intimidating and can inspire?
Happy Twenty Twelve everyone. What a great year 2012 is shaping up to be. For me the most distinguishing element is the huge amount of positive energy I am feeling from everyone around me, combined with a sense of massive optimism…. Energy is boundless right now.
However, I am still amazed every time I look at an international, national or local technical conference to not find women Keynote speakers or session leads! Why is that? Women are about 50% of the technical workforce, highly educated, awesome at what they do, yet when it comes to standing at the podium, they are passed up. Why? The net-net of today’s technical conferences around the globe is that not only are there few to no leading women speakers, but female active attendance at these events are also low. The latter, trust me, is an issue that organizers are very concerned about.
I can tell you that the organizers of these conferences would love to have women on the stage, but they are not finding the right pool of women. OK, I agree, they are not trying very hard but fact is the choices are not abundant. Do an experiment – look over the websites for some of the top conferences, and look at the speaker roster… count the number of women! Hard to believe we are in 2012!
I would love to hear from you about this topic. Here are a few thoughts I will put out there:
1. Everyone (male/female) should become more vocal about the ridiculousness of having 0 or 1 female speaker at multi-day events. Call up the organizers, send an email. They will respond.
2. Recommend great speakers and if you feel you are one, start putting your name out there.
3. Are you inspired to go to events if it is considered a ‘male-heavy’ event? How would you change it?
4. Do you have great topics to discuss—- submit your abstract.
5. Can you substantially increase the visibility and draw of the event, let the organizers know.
6. Remind the organizers that having the same corporate speakers, saying the same story is not the best approach. Challenge and be positive. How many conferences have you been at the where the same speaker gives the same talk year after year… there is so much more we can do!
7. Ask the organizers how many women have registered. They want more female participation. They will listen.
8. Remember that conferences are amazing places to network, for everyone and not just your marketing folks. So, get out there. Network and meet up with great other individuals.
And finally, if you want to be a speaker and you are female, make your topic super interesting, engaging and be fearless. Know that if you want to be the speaker you are going to be on the podium with hundreds of attendees listening to you , instantly casting their social views of your talk in tweets AND you are on the spot and will be judged. This is perhaps what is hardest for women speakers… causes tons of intimidation.
This is a the core issue. If we want more fantastic women speakers, we need to create this culture of very strong, passionate and engaging women speakers who are willing to take center stage and be visible. Are we ready? Are you ready? The only thing stopping you is YOU!
From my own personal experience, I find that conference organizers are looking for highly engaging, stimulating and passionate speakers who are resident experts in their topics. They are also smart enough to know that more women speakers and keynotes will drive more female registration. We are all on the same team. So, what is stopping us all to make this happen?!
My goal soon is to see the speaker roster be split equally between women and men. Difficult: yes. Impossible: No. I want to know what you think.
Let’s rock and roll friends!
Dear fellow readers and bloggers, what an insane year 2011 has been. Ever year has highs and lows and highlights. But this year has been a bit different. In a course of a year, countries have ousted monarchs and leaders and social transparency is growing by leaps and bounds.
But 2011 has also been a year of great duress in Europe. The prospects of countries such as Greece collapsing has forced the EU to make very difficult decisions which will prove challenging for the EU in the years to come. UK’s decision to not play with the EU will have some potentially difficult consequences for the UK. Too new to tell but clearly there will be rifts between the EU nations and the UK. Potentially nothing new given that the UK was the only country to hold on to it’s currency. I have always found this very odd, so the recent veto last week was not too surprising.
Asia is growing leaps and bounds and it has been an utter joy seeing how far things can go in 12 months. Entrepreneurship and innovation growing to such great extent that unless you are in these countries to see it, you just won’t believe it! Thank you friends in Asia for your hospitality!
South America is refreshing in showing how countries can define their role in the global economy. Great progress.
All in all, 2011 has been a year of not spending corporate funds as nervousness trumped innovation risk. I feel for the many highly talented people looking for employment in 2011 and not succeeding. Not because of any fault of your own but frankly, corporations are not hiring period. And people who are obsolete and ineffective are not leaving. A total stalemate in 2011. 2012 will be different as transparency and democratization will re-define corporate plans.
In the US on the other hand, I have been dismayed as to how much of our focus has been on IPO’s! We have been pouring tons of money in the social media bubble (social media, gaming, social interaction…), and then celebrating our success or avoiding our failure in the process. We need to focus more of our attention on innovation and revitalizing our large corporations to become more innovative than we do hyping how companies with few hundred million in revenue are suddenly worth tens of billions of dollars! Didn’t we learn from the internet bubble?!
ProVoke is allowing us to open up the conversation of the necessity of disruption to innovate, the ecosystem of disruption and the ensuing democratization of what I call ‘everything’… Democratization of IT, Democratization of leadership and the fantastic Global Democratization of Innovation!
I thank the many of you who received ProVoke with open arms and those of you who are becoming more open to the concept of ‘Democratization’ as a whole. 2012 is going to be the year to peel away the layers and make the democratization revolution become more real and more impactful! I can not wait for us to rock and roll in 2012! Would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think?