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Hear and Now

How Women Get Heard More at Work and Why It Matters

 

By Chris Davidson

© C S Davidson 2015

Published by Active Presence Limited

 

 

 

Why this book and why now 

 

“It’s time to cheer on the girls and women who want to sit at the table.” 

– Sheryl Sandberg 

 

Nearly three quarters of American women – and over a half of British women – believe that at work, their voices aren’t treated as seriously as a man’s. This sad state of affairs was the impetus for this book and the title, “Hear and Now”. Clearly a problem of such magnitude needs solving urgently. It’s damaging to those involved and damaging to the greater economy. There isn’t much that’s positive about this, other than the comfort of knowing you’re not alone! 

Unfortunately, there are (still) too few companies with too few women in senior executive positions (board level or just under). Within the past decade workplace communication, particularly between managers and employees, has become more domineering and much less collaborative than it used to be. It’s almost as if it’s had a huge – and unnecessary – injection of testosterone. 

There are too few female role models for modern businesswomen to follow. This book will help you become one by giving you an experience that’s inspiring, useful and unique – a combination of style, substance and structure you won’t find anywhere else. 

In her book “Lean In”, Sheryl Sandberg calls for women in all occupations to “lean in” to their careers. She wants women to “…sit at the table…” and encourages her readers to recognise what’s holding them back. 

Demonstrating exceptional communication skills is critical for those who want to “sit at the table” – and that’s precisely why this book zeros in on communication as a vehicle for progressing the career path for women in the corporate marketplace. 

In this book you will learn how to tackle the dictatorial and overbearing communication style that’s become the corporate norm. You’ll be able to create a happier and more productive working environment, based on greater collaboration, arising from better relationships and a greater level of trust. As with all life skills, some people are blessed by nature more than others, and the same is true for everyone’s inherent communication skills. However, whatever your starting point, everyone can improve. Let me give you an example. 

Sasha was a young woman who came to see me in my studio many years ago. Her ambition was to be a teacher overseas. Unfortunately it was unlikely to be realised as Sasha was painfully shy when it came to speaking in front of groups – a fundamental life-skill for a teacher. The stage in my studio measures 15ft x 5ft (approximately 4.5m x 1.5m). For Sasha, even standing on that stage with no one else in the room but the pair of us was a major trial. The idea of speaking from the stage was as far away as flying to the moon. It was a challenging session for both of us. Sasha so desperately wanted to succeed and I was rapidly using up every tool in my toolbox. We weren’t making much progress. For some unknown reason, I asked Sasha whether she liked music. 

“Oh yes”, came the reply. “I play the flute.” 

It was as if the clouds parted and the sun shone through, warming the stage and giving us renewed energy. 

“Wonderful” I said. “I’m a singer – let’s do some duetting. You just start humming anything you like – I’ll throw in some harmonies and we’ll see what happens.” 

The mood of despair lifted, soon to be replaced by smiles, joy – and most importantly – sound. Sasha was standing on a stage, making sound. The humming became singing, the singing became speaking, the speaking was honed into a skill. Here’s the email I got from Sasha later that year. 

Dear Chris, 

I just want to say, if it wasn’t for the help you gave me over the summer and the confidence you inspired I would not have been able to teach, let alone present at an academic conference. 

Thank you. 

Sasha – Teacher (Canada) 

Sometimes, wonderful things happen. There needs to be a will and a way. 

If you have the will, this book will give you the way.