CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – December 10, 2020
In that spirit, here are some tips for female public speakers.
- Find Female Role Models.
Before you take the stage, look at a photo or video of another female speakers who inspire you.
Looking at an image of an inspiring female leader before delivering a speech is proven to improve the speaking abilities of women, according to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. For example, women who viewed an image of Hillary Clinton before they delivered a speech had a more positive perception of their own performance, and also received higher ratings by audience members.
What female speakers inspire you? Find a photo or video of that speaker and have it ready to view before your next presentation.
- Don’t Take Less Than You Deserve.
When reviewing the terms for a public speaking gig, don’t shy away from negotiation. For example, if the first offer for financial compensation is less than you think you deserve, fight for a rate that is appropriate for your expertise and experience. Also check the fine print of the agreement and ensure that all of the other terms are a good fit for what you are bringing to the table. For example, if you think you deserve to have your travel expenses covered, be clear about what you think is fair. You will likely get what you ask for, and if you don’t, consider passing on the opportunity.
Women are typically less likely than men to negotiate terms and compensation. For example, one study revealed that only 7% of women negotiate their first salary, as compared to 57% of men.
Knowing your value is important for public speakers. If you are not getting a fair rate for your time and efforts, stand up for yourself, and don’t back down. In addition, if you’re being overlooked for speaking opportunities, be bold and let people know that you are not a wallflower, but a leader worthy of the spotlight. Public speakers need to be fearless. Start demonstrating your fearlessness by asserting yourself during negotiations.
- Own Your Accomplishments.
Women are less likely than men to take credit for their successes. Men typically don’t hesitate to pat themselves on the back, however women will often share the credit with their team or partners by saying we did this, instead of I did this, even if in reality the success can be directly attributed to the female leader.
When delivering a presentation, be honest about who did what. If you and your team collaborated on a successful project, then say so. However, if you alone paved the path to success, don’t hide behind your team – give yourself credit, and be proud of your accomplishments. If audience members know you deserve the credit, and yet you decide to share the credit with your team, they might think you are generous and humble, however they might also think you lack confidence and leadership skills. Honesty is always the best route.
- Be Proud Of Your Intelligence.
Many women do not speak as confidently as men. Small phrases and words often get in the way of otherwise confident communication. For example, women will often unnecessarily add the word just to their statements: I just think…I am just wondering…I just want to add. The word just is not necessary and it shrinks the power of the statement. Instead, say: I think…I wonder…I will add.
Women often use the word actually in a similar fashion: I actually have a question…Actually, I have an idea…I was actually the leader. When you use the word actually in this manner, it sounds as if you’re surprised you were the leader, or you’re asking permission to contribute an idea.
In addition, watch out for uptalk, a speaking pattern that makes your statements sound like questions. According to a 1995 piece in the Houston Chronicle, uptalk is a remnant of the valley girl manner of speaking. To avoid sounding like a teenager at the mall, end your statements with a period, not a question mark? Be confident in your communication, and watch for subtle shifts in your speaking to ensure your communication style is consistent with the meaning of your message.
Men and women are different in many ways; communication advice needs to be adjusted accordingly. These few tips are just the tip of the iceberg of what I want to share with female speakers. Stay tuned for more tips for women in the public speaking world. As this post was focused primarily on the struggles female speakers might encounter, my next post on this topic will focus more on strengths female speakers can leverage.