Competitive Intelligence

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Women in CI

A global forum for women in CI to discuss particular issues they face in providing insights to intelligence users.

Members: 68
Latest Activity: Jan 28, 2013

Discussion Forum

Women Edge - Extraction of Information

Started by Vivek Raghuvanshi May 22, 2009. 0 Replies

Women's Leadership Books

Started by Melanie Wing. Last reply by Heather Disher Apr 1, 2009. 5 Replies

Technology help

Started by Babette Bensoussan. Last reply by Ellen Naylor Feb 25, 2009. 3 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by Ellen Naylor on March 2, 2009 at 8:41pm
Speaking of Body language, I am reading What every BODY is saying by Joe Nararro. It's just great, and gets me thinking about other people's body language as well as how I come across. I have found that I read other people just fine, but I forget that they're reading me too, and I don't pay enough attention to how I look and how my body is talking.

Another observation as a consultant: I think the guys are most apt to get CI process work and we ladies more commonly get the research since there is bias in favor of the guys and their intelligence in "process." While many of them are talented that way, they are no more talented than us ladies, and often aren't as good as listening and being sensitive to what will work in a company's culture versus being a brilliant idea that won't work in a company's culture. Have other women had this experience?

I plan to incorporate Joe Narraro's ideas into my talk on training sales to be better at CI at SCIP 09. Joe is ex-agency and is very talented, even for the agency, at reading the subleties of body language.

Heather, I tend to dress conservatively too, but I don't change my style to mimick the guys. It's probably a successful way to be, but I just can't it. I figure if they hire me, they're hiring a woman and I want to be who I am. You're definitely giving me some ideas to try out.


Comment by Heather Disher on March 2, 2009 at 4:49pm
Morning ladies, what a fantastic forum for us to share ideas. This is such a fascinating topic and one that I think will be talked about even when we are gone but here's what I found works for me. Don't wear bright colors when presenting to these types of men for the first time, keep your attire basic (yes I know its dull but dress a little like them - the next time you can 'color up') if you feel you need to impress do so with words - tell them why you are the best and why they need to listen to you do this at the start of your presentation were possible try not to use your hands too much when talking - apparently it reminds men of their mothers. If I'm presenting standing up and someone asks a question I move toward them (I learnt this in the UK it's a leader/pack thing) if they ask the wrong person a question I let them finish the ask and answer then I move to the person that answered; if possible I stand behind him with my hands on the back of his chair (defiantly reminds them who's should be answering) and respond to his answer while adding more, then I ask if anyone else has questions on that topic - Control the room wherever possible. Conducting the meeting sitting is a little more difficult there are a number of different ways to manage the table such as leaning back not in but I think the best way is to do whatever you need to to make sure they get the right information.
Comment by Suki Fuller on March 2, 2009 at 4:28pm
Babette - mirror imaging always works well when presenting to a client - just remember to rub out & ignore the negative signals.

I don't usually defer to the males present. In fact I usually have a habit of deferring to the person that I deem the most knowledgeable in the room (of course, I am not always correct).
Comment by Babette Bensoussan on March 2, 2009 at 4:02pm
Melanie that is a really interesting issue about body language. I must keep that in mind when I am next in a meeting and imitate the body language of the males present. I will definitely give that a go and let you know how it works here.

Do you think this would also work just as well when presenting to a client as a consultant?...especially when one of the members of the consulting team present is male? This is where I often find my problem.
Comment by Seena Sharp on March 2, 2009 at 1:47pm

Since you are the most senior person in the room, what if you (occasionally) stand up and casually walk around the room while making your point? Of course, you do this in the most innocuous manner ;)
Comment by Melanie Wing on March 2, 2009 at 11:44am
You are right, I find that the male in the room, seems to be automatically assumed to be the expert (particularly regarding technical or manufacturing issues) and then I get frustrated with myself, because I find that when others derfer to "him" (whomever he may be) I begin to defer to "him." I am unconsiously adding to the problem.

I have begun something new to help me overcome this. I am very carefully watching my body language in comparison to the men in the room. If I find myself slouching, I sit up, If I find myself leaning in when others are relaxed, I lean back. Its a fine line between looking too laid back and being too eager. But, I have noticed when I do this, that I have more confidence and I seem to be regarded as more of a peer. I have found also that, I often forget that I am the most senior person in the room and that others need to work to impress me or supply me with the information I need. Its a new attitude to take on and a change that seems hard to make.

Anyone have any other suggestions?
Comment by Milena Motta on March 2, 2009 at 10:04am
Hi Ladies, glad to join this group of "old" friends and hope to make new ones. Thank you Babette for inviting me.
Comment by Ellen Naylor on February 27, 2009 at 10:08am
I have noticed this bias also especially when there is analysis involved. I have to trip over myself with "proof." However, if it's finding competitor data or opportunity analysis to get into a new marketplace, I find that clients are receptive to my findings, even if they don't like the outcome. For example, I might tell them that a market they want to get into isn't lucrative, and why. They're OK with that.

One idea is to have the male person there if you're a team and you do the presenting. Or have the guy mention it was your analysis that lead to these conclusions, and let you do the presenting. I think a lot of this is that we need to accept this is how it is, since we can't change people, but to continue to communicate findings professionally and be persistent, and eventually it will swing our way as women.
Comment by Babette Bensoussan on February 26, 2009 at 11:55pm
I do have a suggestion for discussion. Do you believe that CI reports delivered by women have the same credibility as those delivered by males?

The reason I ask this is that a past work colleague reminded me over lunch earlier this week, how when we presented a CI report together to the client, the client kept asking him questions when I was in fact the more experienced practitioner. Have any of you experienced this? If so, what suggestions do you have for changing this situation?
Comment by Ellen Naylor on February 26, 2009 at 11:09pm
Well now what shall we discuss? This is a great idea, Babette! That's for taking the initiative!

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