5 Ways to Deal With Mansplaining During a Media Interview

SUMMARY: “Ever been ‘mansplained’ at work, at home or in public? Similar scenarios can arise in media interviews. Here are 5 strategies to deal with mansplaining: 1. Politely acknowledge and continue, 2. Use humor to diffuse, 3. Employ the ‘redirect’ tactic, 4. Employ a pattern interrupt, 5. Educate to set the record straight. Which approach have you tried and what works best for you?”

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5 Ways to Deal with Mansplaining During A Media Interview

One night in Aikido, Japanese martial arts, when I was training, there was a young man, and it was only his second time on the mat. And he started instructing me. I’m a black belt! This is very similar to mansplaining in a media interview or a media appearance. What do you do?

Number 1: Say Thanks and Continue.

The kindest way to respond and a friendly response is just to say, “Thanks, I got this,” and then continue on speaking.

Number 2: Employ Humor When Being Mansplained.

You use humor with a real smile, not a fakerton. Then you deliver your response. Always in each situation, you want to continue talking, as soon as you’ve gotten the control back.

Number 3: Use the Redirect to a Mansplainer.

It’s a fact that 25% of the time women speak in meetings. Which means that men are speaking 75% of the time. I think it’s very similar in media appearances unless a woman is more experienced and knows how to keep control of the floor and her content in like a panel or when you’re just one-on-one. In Aikido, we do something called the “redirect.” That is, if somebody’s punching you in the face or to the gut. We don’t try to block it or stop it. What we do is allow that person and their energy to move in that same direction. As if they’re going to get their way, and then take them slightly off center. So they still think they’re going in the direction that they want. But we’re using their energy to propel them forward. And then we use that energy to take them off balance and to throw them.

So verbally, what that would look like is saying something like, “That’s an interesting point.” Or that’s an interesting issue, or that’s an interesting point of view. And the point I want to make, or the point I want us to focus on, is. So when you’re saying that’s an interesting point, or is your point of view, you’re acknowledging it. You’re moving toward their direction, and then the redirect is where you say. And then the point I want us to focus on is and then you just launched directly into that. That way, you’re not setting up a resistance on their part. And you’re able to smoothly redirect them toward where you want them to go. So you’re taking them off their center, and you’re establishing the center. And pointing the conversation in the direction that you want to go. 

Number 4: Practice the Pattern Interrupt During Mansplaining.

This is your outdoor voice. This is a voice where you might say something a little bit louder. The quickest way to get somebody’s attention is to use their name, “John!” Then you continue on and say what you came to say.

Number 5: Educate.

In a situation in media if there is something that has been mansplained at you that is not correct, you immediately want to correct it. If it’s an opportunity to create and to change a perception that’s really important, you absolutely want to take that opportunity. Your obligation is to your audience. So you want to make sure that you convey exactly what you want to convey to the audience. And there are some times in a media interview where you need to educate and set the record straight.

So those are several ways to handle mansplaining. I’d love to hear how you handled it in a situation with grace, and humor, and effectiveness.

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Hi, I'm Susan

I’m a media coach, martial artist + marketing strategist who helps you communicate your values, mission + message during media interviews to multiply your revenue while building your brand + business. I believe that you don’t need to brag, beg or whore yourself to get the publicity you want. Nor do you need to be an axe murderer, a shamed sports star, or be involved in a sex scandal. There is another way…

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