Have you ever noticed the difference between men and women in a boardroom?
Typically, a man will walk into a boardroom and lay out his things so that he takes up the maximum space he can. His computer, phone, notebook and other stuff are strewn around him to claim a large piece territory.
When a woman walks into the same boardroom, she will typically place her laptop neatly in front of her. Her notebook, pen, phone and other accoutrements are placed very close to the laptop, respectfully ensuring there is plenty of space at the table for other people and their things. She is trying to take up as little space as possible to be respectful.
Do you see the difference in the two approaches? The man claims his territory and superiority by expanding his presence, while the woman (in trying to be courteous) minimizes her occupation of space.
In doing this, the woman subconsciously is exhibiting her core belief that she does not fit in and doesn’t deserve to be there. Without knowing it, she is showing others that her presence is “less than” compared to her male colleagues, even though this is not at all her intention.
The lesson here is: take up space. Put your things all around you. Lean back. Make yourself look as comfortable as possible in the space you are taking up. Believe in yourself. You have as much right to be in the room as much as anyone.