“Learn to talk sports if you can’t already” is one of four suggestions MIT professor Fiona Murray offers women entrepreneurs seeking venture-capital funding. Writing in the Boston Globe Magazine, she laments that only 7% of venture-capital funding goes to women. The truth is that the process by which venture capitalists evaluate opportunities is social, cultural and highly emotional as well as dispassionate and disciplined. That lets in biases, and that can hurt women, argues Murray, who is the Alvin J. Siteman Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management and associate dean for innovation and co-director of the MIT Innovation Initiative.

Those with the capital need to face and correct their biases, of course, but women can improve their chances in the competition for funding. Learning to “talk sports” is one way. “Talking sports creates a mutual social space and enables the [venture capitalist] to see how you think and form opinions in a different realm,” Murray writes.

Her other suggestions to women entrepreneurs: “Wear a uniform”; “Use a confident voice and assertive language”; and “Network as if it’s your job.” Read her essay here.

Step up and join the conversation at GlassCeiling.com. Share your opinions about Fiona Murray’s suggestions. Must women behave like men to get venture-capital funding? Or is she just saying that women have to play the game to win the game?

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