Business of Men

How to own a meeting when you’re surrounded by men


The business world is a man’s world. We are surrounded by men. 

That’s a fact — and that’s okay. But as women, we need to master ways in which we can be taken seriously when dealing with such men … and not seen as just their support system or ‘another chick/babe/girly’ (insert your own outdated men’s reference point).

A big part of business and building networks is the meeting. This – and how you approach it — can make or break you as a woman when you are having to deal with men.

You need to own a meeting to stake your place in the business negotiation.

For a start, you need to know there are many different types of men you’ll be meeting so each strategy below will need to be based on the type of man you are dealing with.

Before the meeting

Who arranged it? Decide whether you are really needed at an event before accepting to attend. If you need to, show them you value your time and ask for questions on what exactly the meeting is about. Ask for an agenda and list of attendees.


Let the organiser know before the event you only have ‘x’ amount of time. Don’t get sucked into a long-winded meeting that goes nowhere.


Shake hands in a firm manner and make eye contact. Hold the clasp for about two to three seconds, turning your own hand slightly over the top so theirs is underneath as you do it … this is a subtle assertion of power.

Don’t take notes

DO NOT be the person who takes notes. This will give the impression you’re just the help and not a decision maker. If you need to, record the meeting or bring someone with you to take notes – doing the latter always plays well, as it shows you are rising in the hierarchy.

Take up space

When you sit down at a meeting. Spread your stuff out a bit and sit a little out from the table. Take up your space. Sit tall. Don’t be all hunched over and weak looking.

Say the least

Even a fool is thought to be wise when he is silent. You are better to say nothing and be perceived as the smartest person in the room than talk yourself into a hole and lose credibility points.

A good tip is to wait for everyone else to speak and then ask a very powerful question that everyone else has missed.

Answer questions with a question

If the boys in the meeting try to trip you up by asking a question they know you don’t have answer to — then practice answering a question with a question. For example “what did you think of the reports from John” (knowing you didn’t read them nor what is your responsibility to) you can respond “I think that is something I should leave for you to answer, being the leader of the project, don’t you?”

Don’t volunteer

Women feel flattered way to easily and therefore when asked to volunteer or take on extra work they see it as a sign the men believe in their abilities. Yeah they believe in your ability to take it off their to do list whilst they take credit for it.

If you are put on the spot, say you need more information and you will think about it and get back to them (aka … no).


About Amanda Rose

Founder and CEO of The Business Woman Media. Amanda Rose is also the only 'strategic connector', a brand strategist, keynote speaker and host of Amanda Rose TV. Connect with Amanda Rose on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or visit

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