How to Become Relevant in a “Man’s World”

How to Become Relevant in a “Man’s World”

Have you ever been in meeting/gathering dominated by male folks and by the time it is over, you ask yourself ” why was I here in the first place”?For some reason, you just feel absolutely irrelevant.With an imprisoned voice.Well, I have been there and I must tell you it is not pretty.

Naturally men are built to lead, thus imagine a room filled with strong “alphas”, How do you want to be relevant in that setting? How do you want your “soft” voice to be heard over all the roars?

Since I have been there, I will outline what has worked for me and hopefully it will help YOU in your own “jungle”.


1) Drop your pretty face and use your brain: Yes, that may sound harsh, but that’s the reality. For how long do you want to use “what you’ve got to get up that ladder”?.
Remember the “beautiful ones” are not yet born, so there is a very high chance that one pretty Belle will come and over throw your pretty face one day.So instead, use what is uniquely yours; your  brain, no one can steal your knowledge, especially if you know how to use it effectively.Read, research and constantly practice ways to hone your skills.When that pretty Belle comes, you will have something to teach her instead of fighting for more time on the “throne”.

The upside of this is that the Men in your Team will see you as more than an object with “pretty boobs and backside” and instead see you as someone they can relate to on an intellectual level.

2) Define your skill(s): You know that saying about ” Jack of all trades, Master of none”? Well, it is very true. You can be talented in various area but most times they all have to be categorized under one group; for example, you can be good at drafting Minutes, logistics and organizing Meetings and Workshops, all these can fall under Administrative duties.

Once you have defined your “category” (your strengths and what you can do effortlessly), then the main “work” begins.

It is not enough to be talented, you have to know how to harness these skills.

Go for Seminars, read good books, get a Mentor, etc.

Just look for a way to take a step forward toward harnessing your skills.

3) Don’t back out: I know how it feels to be the “under dog”; I am the only female in my Team and to make it worse, I was the youngest for a long time, so all I used to hear was “Semira, draft this letter”, “Semira, make a photocopy of this document” etc and I used to hate it very very much.

Until I decided to make lemonades out of the “lemons”, I had to make my brain see my “errand girl” routine as another way of learning on the job, especially since that was my first job after NYSC.

So when I am asked to type a letter, I don’t say,” Sir, am tired or I don’t know how to do it”.

I simply say; “Yes Sir” and get it done.

If I get lost, I simply go to google (trust me, you can get a lot of ideas surfing the internet), type in a topic related to what I have been asked to draft and use it as a guideline.

I may not come out with the best work but at least I made an effort and after all the corrections are made, I learn another method of drafting a specific kind of letter.

Remember; “No Knowledge is Lost”, so never ever say “I can’t”. Just do it!!!

If you get stuck, go to your Colleagues that are more experienced or even your Supervisor and ask for help, it won’t kill you :).

4) Make yourself relevant: This is the most important part and I must differentiate “kissing ass” from “being relevant” here.

Kissing ass is trying to be seen even when you don’t have anything to offer and most times has selfish motives; doing  something because your sole aim is to gain from it and not because you want to give back.


Being relevant is selfless; you want to give something back to your Team and that is simply because YOU know you have something to give back.

“You can’t give what you don’t have yeah”?.

So after you have put your brain into gear, defined your skills and harnessed them, then it is time to give back.

How you may ask?


Study and take note of what is lacking in your Team; something you know you can do efficiently or even if it is already present, look for ways to make it better.

Then put yourself out there.

For me, I knew writing, drafting and editing documents were easy tasks for me, so I got a Minutes Template from my team member and started making it a point of duty to take Minutes at all our Meetings (in-house and with Clients).

At first, it was like I was wasting my time, because when I am done and I send out the Minutes, no one really acknowledges it expect for one or two of my team members who were more like friends than colleagues.

That wasn’t encouraging, but it didn’t stop me.

I kept keepin on.

I kept taking notes, drafting my Minutes and sending them out.

Then one day….

After several unacknowledged Minute of Meetings, our Project Officer needed to refer to a topic that was discussed at a previous meeting and of course no one had taken a concise note except the “ignored self made Secretary”.

So he quickly asked; “Semira, did you take down notes during so and so Meeting and I smiled (my day of glory had come at last…hehehehehe) and I said, “Yes Sir, I fowarded it to your email”.

Since then I have moved on from not just taking notes at my Team Meetings (which has suddenly become relevant) to doing it from time to time for the Organisation as a whole in addition to carrying out my basic PR duties.

The upside of it is that am now “relevant” in my Team dynamic and no longer that Lady who graces Meetings for no particular reason and stares blankly, alternatively chatting on bbm when my Boss is not looking.

I am now an active part of the Team and that has helped in harnessing my writing skills and exposing me to other things I can do in my Organisation as a whole.

So the next time you are asked to do something “mundane”, don’t say NO, use it as a stepping stone instead, embrace that job that is beneath you and bring it up to your standard.

That beats being inactive and unheard, trust me.

For now these are the major tips I can think of that will make you a part of that “pack of wolves”.

When you are done, you will get the respect you deserve despite your soft and gentle feminine nature.

The most important thing is to know your “salt” and use it in seasoning your Team dynamic.

Watchwords: Persistence, Resilience, Hunger for knowledge and most importantly pray for God’s guidance and grace.

Keep Keepin On Ladies.





38 thoughts on “How to Become Relevant in a “Man’s World”” by Tosyn (@Tosyn)

  1. I really enjoyed this piece, it was beautifully written and relevant

    1. @Topazo, thank you and I am really glad you enjoyed the article

  2. Good points. It’s something guys should read as well.

    1. @Jaywriter, thank you and I agree with you, the article transcends female folks since it deals with productivity in the work place. Focused on “ladies” cuz I wrote it as a motivational piece for women who get lost admist the masculine “roar”

  3. I think keeping the pretty face will do just fine. Beauty is always relevant.
    Women with brains are too much trouble.

    1. Hmmm…my first imprerssion when i read your comment was; seriously????. I honestly think that is a demaning comment'”Women with brains are too much trouble”.

      But we are all free to have our Individual opinion, so thank you for sharing yours :)

      1. @kaycee. Seriously?! Are you feeling threatened by women with brains?

        1. @febidel, very silly question.

          1. @kaycee. No offense intended. I am very female, and your comment was not complimentary. I have nothing against beauty – I am very beautiful. But how does my beauty help to make the world a better place? It is with my brains that I can contribute and add value to my environment. Beauty is only skin deep, and it fades with time. On the other hand, my brain value appreciates with time. Did I add that I have brains? Well, I do, and I am not trouble.

            1. @febidel. You are beautiful?? Now we are talking! I dont think, i would be needing your brains, you see, i have mine. But in the val spirit…

              where can i find your forms, i want to ….apply

            2. @febidel. You are beautiful?? Now we are talking! I dont think, i would be needing your brains, you see, i have mine. But in the val spirit…

              where can i find your forms, i want to ….apply

              1. Lol, @kaycee, you no go kill person.

                1. @kaycee, I don’t think you’ll be getting my beauty either. You see, I’m not an item on sale.

                  1. @febidel , FULL STOP. Don’t mind Kaycee, I think he is just itching for trouble

                    1. @Tosyn, I’ve put a FULL FINAL STOP. lol. Thank you.

  4. @Tosyn. Thank you for the well-articulated truth. We can sit at the table with men.

    1. *demeaning

      @Efadel, yes we sure can :). Thank you for your feedback

  5. The advice is irrelevant. There is no competition. Is it a man’s world because men have all the brains? Women belittle themselves when they keep ascribing superior status to men. Having a high cerebral ability does not always confer relevance on anyone.
    Women are very relevant. But if you all keep thinking you have to do something exceptional or extraordinary to be equal with men then its a matter of inferiority complex,

    I have always thought women to be equals with the male folks. Or aren’t they? People should stop looking for problems where there are none.

    1. @Kaycee, do you know what makes the World beautiful and interesting? Diversity!!!!. That is something you should really think about; if we all have the same point of view, the World will just be a boring blur instead of intriguing. So next time, please kindly express YOUR views without trashing other people’s opinions.

      My motto is : “Different Strokes for Different Folks”; so I won’t even begin the feminist argument with you. You are totally free to make those “assumptions” but remember it is only the person wearing the shoe that knows where it hurts.

      Once again, thank you for sharing your opinion.

      1. What is the joy in expressing my opinion when i cant trash yours?

        Two things make the world beautiful:
        Trashing other people’s opinions
        and Beautiful women.

        I do hope you are angry, it is fun.

        1. lmao…you are simply incorrigible.

          That’s all i can say.

          And no, I am not angry…try again next time.

          1. You killed the fun. You were supposed to get angry and call me names and argue…

            I will try again next time.

            1. If that is fun, then i am glad i “killed” it.

              lol….no next time with one sided opinions please :)

  6. Lovely piece indeed. @Tosyn those were true points you made, and for both gender too. I wouldn’t blame a woman who feels inadequate in the midst of men, because men have their ways, just like the women, and if you fail to study, understand and adapt to the other party, you might be left out from either party.

    1. Well said @excellency.

      Thank you, I am glad you got the message behind the article.

  7. I’m having a good laugh at the comments. Kaycee is right though. Women with brains are trouble. Big trouble! They’re irritatingly obstinate a lot of times, which is why I like your piece. It doesn’t have to take a fight for the women to show the men they have something upstairs. And please use the beauty face. It’s necessary almost all the time…

    1. @francis, the truth is with or without brains every human is “blessed” with individual flaws and i am glad you can see a bit of my point here; a woman blessed with beauty and brains sees no sense in fighting to be heard. When you work diligently, your work, not YOU speaks.

      I think there is a clean line between a secure beautiful woman with brains and an insecure beautiful woman with brains.

      And I agree beauty is relevant but brains sustains what you get with it.

  8. Lool. Its been a while we laughed here on NS
    All these newbies are too serious. @febidel
    @francis, dont mind women. They keep struggling to prove a point. The women with brains want to have beauty, the ones with beauty dont know what to do with it. Them are always confused.

    Men dont see brains, they see beauty.
    If you have just brains, lets be distant friends.
    If you have just beauty, stay close, you will be good for my ego
    If you have both beauty and brains, you are probably my cousin or sibling.
    If you have neither…

    But on a serious note, everyone needs to make the best of what they have, beauty, brains- none should be truncated for the other.

  9. @kaycee, oldbie, I had plans to give you the fight you’re spoiling for, but on a second thought, I changed my mind. Fight with your fellow oldbies on naijastories. Go prove your mettle by getting @ least an ANA award; you’ve been with naijastories for donkey years now, so that should be a small feat.

    1. @febidel, i won an ANA award in 2002. I have since won some other awards. But awards do not always confer excellence. Your last comment sounded a bit immature. We will speak no more.

  10. @kaycee, no be lie oh! The newbies especially the females aren’t smiling at all. You seem scarce this year sef. Did you have a new year resolution?

    By the way I read your last piece on Ynaija. If I hadn’t put on my rational glasses I wouldn’t have seen through it. You sure know how to raise a dust!

    @tosyn, thwale!

    1. Thank you @ablyguy

  11. I wrote that article without an intent of fostering conflict.I had an opinion to share and that was exactly what I did and I won’t apologise for that. But we all really do need to learn how to accomodate diverse opinions instead of being bigots especially @Kaycee. It is a free World, so say your mind as long as you don’t say things to demean other people. @fediel, I think we have said enough and its time to simply ignore some things.

    Generally, if you don’t have anything to say relating to the artcle (good or bad) then please don’t say anything here.

    Thank you.

  12. Personally, I think that the fact that women try so hard to be freaking ‘relevant’ tells me a whole lot. It tells me women (and I’m being intentionally general; bear with me) themselves have serious self-esteem issues.

    I don’t think a woman needs to scream and shout ‘I’m a woman’ to get attention. If women feel under-appreciated and over-sexualized and whatever else issues they have today, I think it’s because they tell, show and remind the men that these things bother them. And men, ever the bullies – just use those same weapons women hand them against said women.

    Feminism bores me. I wrote a couple of pieces addressing those issues in my book. You can download here:

    My point is – I feel women don’t need to prove anything to anybody. We can’t do what you do…I’m talking stuff like carrying a baby and related stuff. You can’t do what we do…I’m talking impregnating a woman and related stuff. I love career women – and that’s for entirely selfish and deeply psychological reasons.

    Men and women are equal. They just are NOT the same. Everyone should just play their positions…whatever they choose it to be. That’s the true test of whoever you say you are.

    My 50kobo.

  13. @Seun-Odukoya,

    Firstly, thank you for your feedback and opinion.

    Secondly, this article never hammered on “proving a point to anybody” or even encouraging women to become men. All it does is (which you would have seen if you were not clouded with the “sexist” thought) encourage people to strive harder in their chosen careers irrespective of their age, colour or sex. Simple!!!!.

    I used women because that is a general stereotype people are aware of, I could have as well written on “How to be relevant among older Colleagues”, would that have been better?. To me that won’t change a thing because at the end of the day, all I was thinking of while writing this piece was how to encourage people with timid voices, stand up and make use of their God-given talents without necessarily joining the roar.

    1. I think you take comments on your pieces a bit too personal, @Tosyn. I was not responding to your article in particular. I was talking about women and the way they respond to this issue.

      If you’re not prepared to be objective, shut down your comments. But don’t subtly insult people ‘just because’ they do not agree with you.


      1. @Seun-Odukoya,

        I am a woman and thus, you were also referring to me. I simply clarified that my aim of writing this article was not to join in the “who runs the World” drama but to inspire someone out there to try harder. I originally wrote it for my blog which focuses on self awareness and development.

        I also did not insult you, I simply told you how I saw your analysis of the whole feminist issue. Like you I am free to have my own opinion which you must not agree with but I never meant to insult you. If you felt slighted, then I apologise.

        I may not agree with your opinions (which I clearly stated in other comments you have posted) but that won’t stop me from acknowledging your feedback and then sharing “my own 50kobo” on what you said.

        If anyone is taking this personal, I would say it is you :).

        As always thank you for your feedback Mr. Seun and by the way, I have read your book long before you suggested it and I like it.

        Do have a great day.

  14. @Tosyn
    Thank you for this invaluable piece. I hope more of our female folk will read this and imbibe the timeless truth in it. Beauty without brains makes you a bimbo. Reminds me of an incident in my undergrads, there was this pathetic lecturer that wanted to intimidate me because he thought he has the God given right to sleep with every beautiful girl in his class. He gave me a C in his course whereas I scored an A in the other seven courses I wrote in that semester. It was just too obvious that something was wrong. I was asked to protest that score but I decided against it. I wanted him to try it again but he never did that again. When you develop yourself, you command respect you don’t need to join issues with people. Some people have serious complex issues I have seen them even in my office, just ignore them.

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