How to #GirlBoss in a Meeting

Yes. To #GirlBoss is now a verb. And I’m really into it.

We’ve all been there. No matter the circumstance, intimidating situations are not fun. Being a young woman working at DFSCC, I have had my fair share of experiences where I am by far the youngest member of a round-table meeting. While my age might not make me feel worthy of “a seat at the table,” I know I am. Otherwise I wouldn’t be there.

Too often, young women in the working world feel hindered by two things they cannot escape: their age and their gender. There’s no resume builder that can cover those up, yet they dictate how we feel about ourselves in professionally intimidating situations. I’m grateful to have been exposed to this feeling multiple times, as I now have tips on how to overcome it:

1. Watch what you wear.
People who don’t know you personally are going to base their judgment of you based on what they see externally. Wear something that is age appropriate yet respectable. Invest in a great pair of professional shoes and a “work” bag. Maybe even a watch. You would never believe how many complements I have gotten from c-level executives on my #GirlBoss watch.

2. In the same light, watch the logos.
My mother brought this up to me once, and I thought it was genius. Keep bag, clothing, and jewelry logos to a minimum. Nothing says “I got this for graduation from my parents” more than a bag with a huge logo splattered all over it. I am a proponent of quality items, but keep your cool and trust that well-informed fashionistas will know and appreciate your new Tory Burch boots without you having to prove their authenticity.

3. Show no signs of college life.
You were in a sorority. You were in your school’s student activities club. You played club soccer. Love it. But the guy you’re working with probably won’t. Nothing sells you short more than holding on to the collegiate glory days with club laptop stickers and key fobs.

4. Shoulders back, chin up.
Studies show that how you choose to carry yourself is a reflection of how you feel about yourself. If you know you are equipped to be in that meeting, show it. And if you don’t feel that way, fake it.

5. Clean up the Instagram feed.
I didn’t believe that professionals I interacted with would actually find me online, but they have and still do. More often than not, I leave a meeting and two hours later see that the people in the same meeting have looked at my LinkedIn or sent me a friend request on Facebook. If you want to be taken seriously, treat your social media that way. In particular, watch the Instagram bios. For whatever reason, those are where people loose credibility by sharing too much or selling themselves short. Best route: don’t put anything at all. If you can’t say anything professional or neutral about yourself in your bio, just don’t. Just because you can say anything doesn’t mean you should.

I was talking about this topic with Dorothy, and she brought up a scene from her favorite Netflix show, The Crown. She described a scene to me in which one of the main characters, Queen Elizabeth, stated to an advisory board of men at least twice her age that she was to be treated based on her title and her rank as opposed to her age and gender. What a #GirlBoss move. #YGG

It’s unfortunate that #GirlBosses have to specify this, but it’s our reality.

I hope these tips help you #GirlBoss well and #GirlBoss often.