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Speak Up Sister

Conversations for women who want to speak up: Why we don’t, why we need to, and how we can.

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#34 – Stories with Kim Villalta

This episode is a compelling and relatable interview with Kimberly Villalta, a woman of Christ who found her voice amid some significant personal struggles. Kim talks with us about her growing up, a difficult marriage, finding her voice, and the swinging back and forth that naturally accompanies those who start to speak up regularly.

48mins

21 Oct 2021

Rank #1

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#33 – Talking Comfortably about Religion

There are many challenges in speaking up about our religious beliefs. We love Christ and want to share all the good things about our church membership, but there are times or situations when we hesitate. In this episode, we discuss a couple of small ways we can improve our personal journey in speaking up about Christ.  In this episode, we talk about our judgments about people and their situations, how to focus on where others are at instead of where we think they should be, and the strong and enlightening link between our ability to speak up about Christ and our ability to speak up in general.  Notes: Joseph Smith History Books:  The Power of Everyday Missionaries: The What and How of Sharing the Gospel by Clayton M. Christensen

14 Oct 2021

Rank #2

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#32 – Stories with McArthur Krishna

This is the first of a series we are starting called Speak Up Stories. This series allows us to not only give women a chance to speak up about the experiences that have supported their voices, but also to let their stories inspire the rest of us on our own speak up journeys. Our guest in this episode is McArthur Krishna, an artist and storyteller who has actively amplified women’s voices. She is co-author of the Guides to Heavenly Mother, and Girls Who Choose God and shares with us her passion for engaging with the world through speaking up.

8 Oct 2021

Rank #3

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#31 – Speaking Up in Leadership

One of the common side effects of effective speaking up is a natural tendency toward leadership. Others will look to you, will listen to your ideas, and will open themselves to your influence if your words and personal way of being are empowering to them. Today’s episode centers on the connection between speaking up and natural leadership. Jody and Jamee work to dispel some myths about leadership in the church, discuss leading without adding to our emotional burdens, and look at examples from Christ’s life in empowering others to do what they each need to do in their own lives. Natural leaders create the ​​conditions that allow others to thrive- regardless of their situation or environment. People in positions of power are abundant. True leaders are rare. Scriptures Acts 1:3-8 Books Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You by Frances Frei.

30 Sep 2021

Rank #4

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#30 – No Need to Explain

Women often feel the need to over-explain: we explain where we’re coming from, we explain all the different variables that apply to give context, we explain what we mean in two or three different ways, and even explain to play down our message. And we think this helps. But it often diminishes us and what we are trying to communicate. Over-explaining usually comes from a place of managing difficult feelings, like fear, guilt, or self-doubt. We also use it to cushion something we don’t believe will be received well. But if we want to be heard and taken seriously, over-explaining will not benefit us.  We look at how Jesus Christ handled explaining under difficult circumstances and we also address how this can look for us in real time. In this episode, the best way to speak up is to say nothing when we are tempted to justify, qualify, soften or cajole. Try it out, we think you’ll find it very empowering.  Notes Scriptures John 1:37-39 Matthew 21:14-17

23 Sep 2021

Rank #5

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#29 – When Outnumbered by Men

For women, having a seat at the table does not mean having a voice.  We discuss the BYU Study When Women Don’t Speak.  This study outlines some of the difficulties women face when they are outnumbered by men in a group discussion. Women are seen as less authoritative, are often interrupted, and talked over. As a society we have been “slowly socialized over years to discount” female expertise and perspectives.  Katherine Graham quote (this is 1969): “What got in my way of doing the kind of job I wanted to do was my insecurity. Partly this arose from my particular experience, but to the extent that it stemmed from the narrow way women’s roles were defined, it was a trait shared by most women in my generation. We had been brought up to believe that our roles were to be wives and mothers, educated to think that we were put on earth to make men happy and comfortable and to do the same for our children… Pretty soon this kind of thinking – indeed, this kind of life – took its toll: most of us became somehow inferior. We grew less able to keep up with what was happening in the world. In a group we remained largely silent, unable to participate in conversations and discussions. Unfortunately, this incapacity often produced in women – as it did in me – a diffuse way of talking, an inability to be concise, a tendency to ramble, to start at the end and work backwards, to overexplain, to go on for too long, to apologize.” (Katherine Graham, Personal History, pg. 417)  In answer to these difficulties, women tend to strive for more assertiveness. However, being more assertive isn’t as likely an answer as we might think. When we are assertive, women face the competence likability problem: A woman who is judged to be competent, is also seen as less likable. Women are also much more likely than men to be given negative feedback about their personality or manner. A woman who asserts herself is judged as bossy and aggressive because it goes against our stereotype of what feminine behaviour ought to be.  Additionally, NY Times reports that researchers consistently find that women are interrupted more and that men dominate conversations and decision-making, in corporate offices, town meetings, school boards and the United States Senate, and I would add in church meetings.  What can we do? From a Harvard study, we can prepare to speak informally rather than formally. Have your ideas and concerns clear, and be prepared with questions and insights. In meetings, men come early, hang out, toss ideas around, Women tend to be efficient- in and out- but miss out. Be prepared to speak informally. This can prepare us to be more a part of the decision-making process.  The NY Times suggests that we can use authoritative and precise language. For example, we can stop using the words “just” and “maybe”. (This is the diffuse way of talking referenced by Katherine Graham.) Words like this send a subtle message of subordination, of deference, and are used more by women than by men. We can also stop saying sorry, as there is no need to apologize for taking up space. We can be strategic. Men see women going off on tangents with few facts, and getting lost in the passion and being repetitive, so we can be aware of our communication. We can be confident and passionate, but not too much. Additionally, women can band together- we can take opportunities to highlight the contributions of other women (Ex: “That’s an excellent idea Julie”, or “Patricia said X and I think she’s right…”).  As we do this other women will see it and respond to it.  Things men can do: They can invite more women to the table, and actively pull women into conversation. They can also push for decision making to be unanimous rule, (rather than talk time) which sends the message that every voice matters. When women speak up they affect more important change, more peaceful resolutions, more long-term solutions.  Notes Articles When Women Don’t Speak by Brittany Rogers Helping Women Ensure Their Voices Are Heard by China Collins The Universal Phenomenon of Men Interrupting Women by Susan Chira Women, Find Your Voice by Kathryn Health, Jill Flynn and Mary Davis Holt A Plea to my Sisters by Russell M. Nelson Books Counseling With Our Councils by M. Russell Ballard

22 Jul 2021

Rank #6

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#28 – Process Part 3: Dealing with the Consequences

This episode discusses the consequences of speaking up and the fear of negative consequences we experience that keeps us from taking the steps to speak up.  Fear is the main emotion we experience that keeps us from speaking up when we might need to. We’re afraid of others’ responses, that we might feel embarrassed, and above all that our reactions might negatively affect our close connections with others.  Our fear can be dealt with and our prophet has taught us that through hearing the Savior we can be guided to know what to do in any circumstances. We discuss how we can truly Hear Him and the miracles that can come when we make real attempts to be faithful when fear and doubt descends upon us. It’s the same with interpersonal relationships- we can exercise faith that our speaking up – regardless of how it will be met – will be a blessing to us in the long run.   Some of the typical negative responses to speaking up are being accused of being critical, being labeled as a troublemaker, difficult to work with or angry. We can hold our ground. Julie Gottman said, “When faced with such negativity, you can try saying something like, ‘I’m not trying to criticize you here or put you down. That’s not what I want to do. I really care about you and I really want to be closer to you.’ That will help you give your partner some reassurance and indicate to your partner that you’re not trying to attack or criticize them, and it can help de-escalate the situation.”  Another negative response is when people will deflect, dodge, become defensive, and make excuses, which we can manage by holding our ground. We give some personal examples of situations that didn’t turn out well, as well as some that did, and emphasize that none of them are forever.  Notes Articles Hear Him by Russell M. Nelson How to Fight Smarter: Soften Your Start-Up by Julie Gottman

15 Jul 2021

Rank #7

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#27 – Process Part 2: What to Say and How to Say It

This week we bring you part two of this practical series, What to Say and How to Say It. We only get hung up about what to say and how to say it when we are approaching difficult conversations. This is usually when emotions are high, which can sabotage our efforts.  In this conversation we highlight John Gottman’s research on how to bring things up in a way that protects yourself and others from feeling attacked or defensive. We also cover speaking in your own voice and specific verbiage that can help you to be both clear and kind.  Notes Books Dance of Anger by Harriet Lerner Articles How to Fight Smarter: Soften Your Start-Up by John Gottman

8 Jul 2021

Rank #8

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#26 – Process Part 1: Sorting It Out

Sorting it out personally; this is where speaking up starts. If we want to speak up and have it be effective, we’ve got to get clear in our thoughts and our feelings first. We need to know and understand our concerns, and be ready to own them. There are specific and tangible things we can do to hone in on what exactly we need from ourselves and others, including praying, writing, and asking ourselves good questions.   Notes Articles Embrace the Future With Faith by Russell M. Nelson How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life by Richard G. Scott

1 Jul 2021

Rank #9

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#25 – Owning Our Stuff

Owning our stuff (and by “stuff” we mean, emotions, choices, experiences, etc.) means taking responsibility for our lives, choices, and experiences while resisting the temptation to blame others.  We are responsible for ourselves. We can own every aspect of our life and our choices- even those things that we didn’t cause because we can own our reactions.  Why do we blame others? We often blame others as a defense mechanism or because it is easier. We sometimes use blame as an attack on others.  What are we actually accountable for? We aren’t accountable for everything, but we are accountable for ourselves and we can learn how to differentiate.  How can we own our stuff? We can breathe deeply and monitor our physiological responses. We can reframe our experiences mentally as opportunities to learn. We can apologize. Owning our stuff requires consistent communication, as well as keeping things in perspective. Notes Articles Sisters’ Participation in the Gathering of Israel by President Russell M.Nelson Books Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents (p. 185) by Lindsay C. Gibson Bonds that Make Us Free by Terry Warner Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink Scriptures Mosiah 29

24 Jun 2021

Rank #10