It’s already frustrating enough when someone interrupts us at work. But when that person continues to speak over us, and explain what we’re trying to say, it can be downright rude and unproductive. Perhaps one of the worst of these behaviors is mansplaining. Merriam-Webster formally defines mansplaining as “when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he's talking to does.”
Unfortunately, mansplaining doesn’t go away when we put up the virtual walls of Zoom; in fact, virtual presentations can make it easier to unmute, say your piece and truly cause a disruption. Just look at TikTok user Brini, who brilliantly — although, unfortunately, had to — shut down her male coworker while presenting at work.
"Please keep yourself on mute," Brini said while speaking with the man. "I'm actually not done speaking. While I respect your ability to speak on and on, my ears do actually have a limit. I find it extremely disrespectful and degrading that you felt a need to not only interrupt my entire presentation, but also repeat back to me exactly what I had just offered to the table."
While TikTok has unfortunately removed the video from its platform, Brini’s powerful and bold phrasing led to an outpour of support and empathy, much from women who related and wished they could speak the same way.
If you’re unfortunately dealing with male coworkers interrupting you at work, too, here are some tips inspired by Brini to use next time someone rudely unmutes and tries to steal your point.
Excuse me, I’m not finished walking through my idea.
I’d appreciate it if everyone could stay muted while I finish my presentation.
Thank you for listening and your enthusiasm about what I have to say. I’d be happy to listen to your point after I finish mine.
Please hold all questions and comments until the end.
“I’m so glad you agree with what I’ve been talking about.”
“I’m glad to hear we share the same point of view of this.”
“Thank you for reiterating my idea in a new way.”
“Thank you for your enthusiasm about my idea.”
I’ve just spoken about this point. Is there anything I can clarify for you?
Do you have anything new to add about this topic?
Thank you for sharing, but I’m already well versed in this topic.
I appreciate you engaging with me about this, but I’d prefer not to talk about this right now.
I don’t appreciate your condescending tone. Can we please discuss this as colleagues?
I’d love to share the vast expertise I have on this topic.
Mansplaining isn’t just annoying interruptions during Zoom calls; it can also negatively affect how you interact with your colleagues and feel about your performance. These phrases can help shut down mansplainers and redirect authority back toward you — where the authority belongs.
This article reflects the views of the author and not those of Fairygodboss.