Amplification is the process of increasing the volume. When something cannot be heard, we plug it into a system that amplifies the sound. We can also amplify the voices of our colleagues.
One of my friends and colleagues Dr. Kerry Mitchell, sent me an article written by Claire Landsbaum about the shine theory – ‘if you don’t shine, I don’t shine.’ It was an article about the female staffers in the Obama administration and what they did to ensure female voices were heard.
Female staffers adopted a meeting strategy they called “amplification”: When a woman made a key point, other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own.
‘We just started doing it and made a purpose of doing it. It was an everyday thing,’ said one former Obama aide who requested anonymity to speak frankly. Obama noticed, she and others said, and began calling more often on women and junior aides.
- Repeat the person’s name! Often ideas are born, discussed, modified, and tweaked until the person who originally had the suggestion is no longer associated with its birth. When a female has a good idea, it is often lost and reclaimed by men at the table. To amplify someone’s voice, be sure to acknowledge that person by name!
- Repeat the idea! When you associate the idea with the person who came up with it and repeat it as a good idea – you amplify that person’s voice!
Who will you amplify in your next meeting?