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Claim your space!

Inclusion came to a juddering halt at the onset of the Covid pandemic. When it comes to gender equality, at the current rate it would take 145 years to bridge the divide… That’s a long time, isn’t it? So, consider your own position: frankly, the time for griping or playing the waiting game is long over. Now it’s up to you to claim your rightful place!

Is your organization convinced about the benefits of diversity (in theory)… but you’re still hoping for concrete results (in practice and on a day-to-day basis)? Well, you’re not alone! Let’s be honest: corporate inclusion programs are in crisis. The first thing you can do is count on yourself.

Based on

Rising together by Sally Helgesen (Hachette Go, 2023).

1- Claim the space and don’t let go!

Your presence is legitimate: don’t make excuses for being there, and don’t attempt to pass unnoticed. Also, don’t imagine that your efforts will pay off and that one day someone will eventually come looking for you: that just won’t happen! Take the opposite course of action: make yourself visible, and claim the space inside and out.

  • Manage your physical presence.
    Use all available levers to make yourself physically visible. When you’re in a meeting, for instance, pick a seat that is in full view, fan out as much as possible (instead of slouching in your chair) and deploy the so-called “power poses” even before going into the room. Be alert to your non-verbal language, too, and work on your voice.

You should also think about adopting a rapidly identifiable way of dressing – like the outrageous brooches of Madeleine Albright or the scarves favored by Christine Lagarde. In a nutshell: show everyone that you’re there and that you belong!

Pay just as much attention when you’re in a video meeting: turn your camera on, make sure your face is lit properly, raise your hand when you want to speak and use your hands to back up what you’re saying (make sure they’re visible).
Don’t be afraid to overdo things!

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.