With International Women’s Day this week, I have been reflecting on the importance of women’s voices in business, politics, the media and the community in general. In my role as a speaker, coach and trainer I come across a lot of women who lack the confidence to deliver a presentation, to talk about their business at networking events or even to voice their thoughts in a meeting.
But it’s time more women took the time to develop the confidence and skills to speak in public, and here’s why:
1. To ensure women’s voices are heard
Women are often under-represented in decision making roles so the more women that can clearly, credibly and convincingly present their ideas to an audience the more likely we will achieve gender balance in public debate and discussion.
2. To inspire other women
Girls and young women need good role models to encourage and motivate them to achieve their personal and wider ambitions; confident public speakers have the ability to inspire people into action.
3. To attract opportunities
We need more women in senior positions and people who are able to present confidently are in a better position to attract opportunities for career advancement. Female entrepreneurs can grow their business and establish themselves as an expert through speaking at events to promote their company or by delivering a confident pitch for sales, funding or investment.
4. To influence others
If you want to make a difference in the world, or even in your immediate circle, you need to be able to influence people; you can achieve far more with others than by going it alone. Being able to clearly, credibly and confidently speak in public will gain you the support of people who want to help you achieve your vision.
5. To share your message
Your ideas matter and the world needs to hear them. Speaking in public helps you to share your message with a wider audience, whether that is live in person or on camera and distributed through a variety of digital platforms.
6. To develop your confidence
You might be extremely competent, but competence combined with confidence will get you much further in life. Developing your public speaking skills helps to strengthen your confidence and build your self-esteem. The more you put yourself out there and practice hearing your own voice speaking about the things that matter to you the more you will improve. And when you’re confident in your ability to speak clearly, calmly and professionally you will start to believe in yourself and your message even more, therefore you are likely to share it more widely. And as we established earlier, your voice and your ideas need to be heard.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Press For Progress, maybe it should be Present For Progress. What do you think?
Mel Sherwood is a pitch and presentation specialist who prepares ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals to take centre stage, embrace the spotlight and present with more confidence, credibility and conviction.
Mel's book 'The Authority Guide to Pitching Your Business - how to make an impact and be remembered... in under a minute!' is available on Amazon. To find out more go to www.melsherwood.com or follow Mel on Twitter @MelSherwood_