There is a particular adorable but very competent person at the University that has long been overlooked for advancement and her opportunity to is coming up this month. I love being in the position to give her the factual ammunition she needs for negotiation, while assuring her of her qualifications.
Now that I am older, I've been encouraging women in lower career positions to assert themselves, mostly using techniques garnered from acting class. (Employment and advancement are still nowhere near perfect between the genders.) For someone who staggered into a career dragging a ball of woolen worsted and a half bottle of Trader Joe's single malt (oh, don't knock it; it's very good), no one could be more surprised than I. Man, it's fun.
So. Here's the jist:
When being bullied by a superior, plant your feet, straighten, make eye contact and speak deliberately. (You don't have to speak loudly in fact it's better if you use a lower, clear register.) If you begin to feel unsure or uneasy, pretend to be a bigger bolder person and assert yourself in that way.
If your communication needs another round of clarification or you feel that your point is not quite getting across, put a hand on your hip, waist or a table and press firmly. Do not use: "uhm", "ya know" or "like". Ever.
If the audience is beginning to throw a tantrum or become unreasonable, switch to Mum-Mode. "Stop yelling/sulking/berating me. When you are ready to discuss this civilly we can resume this conversation." and then walk away.
And if it all goes very wrong: In a barfight, tripping goes nicely to your advantage right off the bat.
Go forth, Darling. Kick some ass.
From the magical Ana box: I am wearing some NARS monoi oil this morning. Serious tropical gardenia action.