'Just don't ever be afraid to make them uncomfortable because they are never afraid to make you uncomfortable.'
Katie Tucci, a 30-year-old Juris Doctor graduate with a specialization in cryptocurrency regulation and financial technology, recently took to TikTok to share some valuable tips on how women can get men to take them seriously in a professional setting. In a video that's been viewed more than 3.9 million times since being posted late last month, Tucci drew from her own experience over the years to reveal all the things she consciously does to hold her own among her male peers and superiors. "Y’all wouldn’t believe the stories I could tell that has forced me to learn this stuff," she captioned the video.
"For those of you who don't know me, my name is Katie and I just recently received my Juris Doctorate after specializing in cryptocurrency regulation and financial technology. But I'm also a 5'2" femme-presenting blonde. So here's how I make men take me seriously in meetings," Tucci began. "I always start with a firm handshake, not anything cloying, but you actually have to focus on the handshake itself. I always introduce myself with my first and last name and professional context. I try my hardest to structure any assertion in a declarative manner: 'Here, have a seat.' 'These are the documents I need you to bring me.' 'This is my conclusion since the last time we spoke.'"
Tucci went on to explain how she always makes sure to sound confident. "One thing my professors pushed in law school, and I think it's very invaluable, is to stop waffling. 'Well, you know, there's always a chance that this could go wrong. I mean, there's the possibility that...' No, you're being paid for your opinion, your intellect, your research, and what you bring to the table. Sounding unsure about what you're bringing to the table is the first way to undermine yourself," she said.
"I do not smile in meetings. I always make sure that my chair is raised up as high as it can be. So visually, when I'm sitting at a table, I'm about head level and eye level with everyone else, even though I'm naturally pretty short. I'm always the first to leave a meeting or end the meeting. I do not respond when someone acts surprised or impressed with something I say or do," Tucci continued. "Even if it's meant to be a compliment, like, 'Wow, you really seem to know a lot about this.' You give the stare, the nod and you continue saying whatever you were saying before."
She revealed that intentionally adopting casual body language is also key. "I intentionally offer body language that is more casual and naturally masculine, spreading your legs apart, leaning back, throwing your hands behind your head, taking notes on your lap, rather than sitting up straight directly at the table, looking at what you're doing, that sort of relaxed atmosphere actually translates a little bit to arrogance," Tucci explained. "And frankly, I found that it works. I take their card without offering them mine and wait for them to ask for it. I always try to be the one initiating whatever we're doing next, whether it's standing up to move and end the meeting, whether it's shaking hands at the door to say goodbye, whether it's moving someone from one space to another."
"I'm the one who starts doing it to get everyone else to follow me. And if all else fails, and you're still getting called sweetheart and honey, which has happened to me on multiple occasions, there's absolutely nothing wrong with saying: 'You know, I really don't think You're interested in engaging in this meeting with me in good faith, so I'm going to have to continue to use my time elsewhere,'" she continued. "'Oh, sweetheart, I'm not trying to offend you by doing that.' This is the most important part. You cannot let them get away with that. Do not accept an apology. Do not normalize it. Do not nod your head and smile. I know it's incredibly uncomfortable. And it's incredibly terrifying. And honestly, this took me years to feel comfortable doing. You stand your ground. You look them in the eye, and you say 'My name is not sweetheart.'"
"If you're feeling really sassy, you go: 'Darling, my name isn't sweetheart. And you should provide me with contact information to someone who is not you who also works on this case, so I can communicate with them.' And you walk away from that situation. You write down exactly what was said. You send it in an email to someone, you timestamp that," Tucci continued. "Remember exactly what happened because they will come back and say 'You're associate, you're young woman, she's just really sensitive.' Last time I checked, I didn't throw a little temper tantrum when someone said they didn't like me and didn't want to work with me. Don't be disappointed in yourself if you can't do this all immediately, it took me a decade to learn most of the stuff. Just don't ever be afraid to make them uncomfortable because they are never afraid to make you uncomfortable."