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EP51 Why It’s Selfish to Stay Silent

Eleanor Beaton
Eleanor Beaton
EP51 Why It’s Selfish to Stay Silent

Have you ever found yourself going into a meeting with the intention to stay quiet and observe what others are doing, listening to what your colleagues and peers are saying, instead of speaking up and asserting your own opinion? This is common with many women in business.

“Women are often less likely to speak up, to step into their power, because they feel their perceived competence and compensation may take a hit.” – Eleanor Beaton

Madeleine Albright, in 1993, was heading to her first Security Council meeting as the new U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. with the intention of staying quiet throughout the meeting to observe her male counterparts. To figure out “who was who” and identify who she could consider as an ally. She quickly discovered, however, that by not asserting her opinion, by merely observing others during this meeting, she was positioning herself – and the United States – to not have a voice in the important topics being discussed. She realized that she represented the voice of the United States.

“When it comes to influencing power, voice matters.” – Eleanor Beaton

If you have experienced this desire to be a spectator at a meeting, to remain quiet instead of stepping into your power at the boardroom table or meeting with clients – know that you are not alone. But, remember, without speaking up, your views, your opinions, your amazing ideas cannot be heard or discovered!

So, how do you find and assert your voice?


Here’s a Breakdown of Today’s Show:

  • Sometimes our voices are silenced by ourselves.
  • Women are often less likely to speak up, believing that our perceived competence and compensation can take a hit.
  • Interesting statistic: of the top-ranked podcasts on Stitcher, 71% of podcasts are hosted by men while only 11% are hosted by women. This is despite the fact that over half of all listeners are women.


How to Master the Art of the Set-Up:

  • Be bold. Be assertive. Be professional – “I’m going to be very blunt, and it may be difficult to hear, but it is critical that I offer some specific feedback.”
  • Choose to link your directness to your underlying values – “Honesty and integrity are important to me, so it is vital that I express my opinion directly.”


My Challenge to You:

  • Lean into your power.
  • Speak up, even when it may be difficult for others to hear.


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This episode was inspired by my article published in the Atlantic Business Magazine.