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FACT #1:   Women apologize.

FACT #2:   Women ask for permission.

All. The. Time.

Study after study, article after article and book after book have been written on WHY we do that; why we apologize and why we ask for permission. (For those of you who are worried you may have missed some critical info on the subject, I’ve included a list from reliable resources at the bottom of this blog.)

So what’s been sorely neglected?

  1. HOW we can change those behaviors and
  2. What we must do and who we must be if we’re committed to others truly listening to us.

In other words, you can contribute your message till the cows come home, but what good is it if there’s nothing going on at the receiving end?

My research tells me you want to:

  1. Show up powerfully and authentically, and inspire the other people in your life to do the same.
  2. You want to ask a question, make a declaration, or provide information without fear of being ‘too’? (‘Too’ as in too forceful, direct, offensive, bold, brash, loud…..)

SCENARIO: You’re in an important meeting with seven of your colleagues. You’ve prepared for days. You’re ready. You’ve got this. Everyone in the room knows it. All of a sudden you need a bio-break. Bad. You turn to the group and say, “Do you mind if I go to the restroom?” You think you’re being polite. You’re not really asking their permission, but you’re pretending to ask so that everyone supports your interruption.


  1. Dis-empowerment
  2. In-authenticity (everyone knows you’re telling them, not asking them, but that’s not the language you used).

Powerful communication comes from within you: it’s an attitude deep in your heart and mind. Empowering communication empowers you AND your audience. Ditto for dis-empowering communication.

,If your communication isn’t EMPOWERING to everyone in the room (including you),

,then it’s DIS-EMPOWERING. Period.

Here are nine very common communication mistakes that are guaranteed to make your listeners tune out (and not hear you); they diminish your power, make you appear ‘small’ and shrink your ability to have an impact and make a big difference in the world.

DON’T:  I think that this initiative won’t help us reach our goals.

DO: This initiative will not help us reach our goals.

,#, ,1  ,,Own what you know.

DON’T: I’m sorry that you feel that way.

DO: Thanks for telling me you feel that way.

# 2 Apologize ,only, when you’re wrong or you’ve made a mistake.

DON’T: Of course, I’m not an expert on collaborative team building, but maybe we could give it a try.

DO: In the ten years I’ve been developing methods for collaborative team building, I’ve never seen this work effectively.

,# 3, ,Speak from your experience.

DON’T: I’m not sure if this is a good idea, but we can try it.

DO: No, this is not going to work; let’s come up with some other ideas.

# 4  If you’re certain of something, say so!

DON’T: I want to…. UMM…. Can I think about… UMM

DO: I want a moment to think about this.

,# 5, ,Speak mindfully- it signals intelligence and leadership.

DON’T: This may be something we want to look at.

DO: This proposal certainly needs to be considered.

,,# 6, ,Communicate from a position of leadership.

DON’T: Actually, what I was thinking was that we might want to re-interview Candidate B.

DON’T: Candidate B has a much stronger track record, and asked relevant and timely questions. Let’s go with her.

,# 7, ,If you disagree with someone, say so.

DON’T: Excuse me for interrupting but there’s a fire on the second floor.

DO: Get out now. There’s a fire on the second floor.

,# 8, , If it’s urgent or important, speak up!

DON’T: Do you mind if I go to the restroom?

DO: I’ll be right back, I need to take a quick break.

,# 9, ,Don’t ask for permission unless it’s absolutely necessary, which it rarely is.

Want some resources about women, confidence, permission and apologies? Check these out.

What have we left off this list?

What have you noticed about the way you present YOUR ideas? What habits need to be changed for you to communicate more powerfully? Please leave your suggestions and ideas in the comments section below. You’re invited to be powerful!

PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS in the comments below.

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Are you ready to make a change? Are you willing to put aside and work through your obstacles to reach your potential? Then schedule a 15-minute complimentary call with Nancy on our calendar .

Nancy D. Solomon, MA Psych is the CEO and Founder of The Leadership Incubator where she helps leaders identify, address and resolve people problems before they become profit problems so everyone can focus on what they were hired to do– INNOVATE AND DRIVE GROWTH.

Known as The Impact Expert, she is a main stage speaker, expert trainer and veteran coach who helps leaders solve key issues related to leadership development, employee engagement, and advancing women.

Nancy has made a difference for such companies as Microsoft, Target, Acura, Westin, Nordstrom & ADP as well as with many passionate individuals.