You’ve got a voice - so why not use it

More women need to speak out, re­ports Cara Jenkin

The Advertiser - Careers - - Front Page -

WOMEN need to step up to the podium and speak in pub­lic to help their own ca­reers and ad­dress gen­der in­equal­ity in the work­force.

Re­search shows women make bet­ter lead­ers than men yet only 8 per cent of ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment po­si­tions in Aus­tralia’s top 200 com­pa­nies are held by women.

Fifty-four per cent of com­pa­nies have an all-male board.

Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view re­search con­ducted over 30 years finds women are rated bet­ter lead­ers by peers and man­agers at ev­ery lead­er­ship level, rat­ing higher than men in 12 of the 16 com­pe­ten­cies as­sessed, such as tak­ing ini­tia­tive and driv­ing for re­sults.

Inkling Coach­ing direc­tor and ca­reer coach Gemma Munro says that de­spite this, women are far less vis­i­ble as lead­ers in terms of vol­un­teer­ing to do pub­lic speak­ing in the work­place and as in­dus­try ex­perts.

‘‘ Why are we not hear­ing more from them? Where are all the women speak­ers?’’ Munro asks.

She be­lieves too few women are putting their hands up to speak be­cause of a lack of

EN­COUR­AG­ING: Ca­reer coach Gemma Munro. con­fi­dence. And women are not be­ing sought af­ter to speak about their ex­pert views.

‘‘ Women do ex­pe­ri­ence more pub­lic speak­ing nerves than men when given the op­por­tu­nity,’’ she says.

‘‘ They think ‘ I am not qual­i­fied or don’t have the ex­per­tise re­quired’.

‘‘ Women need to say ‘ yes’ and have the con­fi­dence to go for it. Just sit­ting be­hind your desk and do­ing great work isn’t enough.’’

She says pub­lic speak­ing is not only the big-podium op­por­tu­nity.

Speak­ing up in team meet­ings, rais­ing an idea with the boss, pitch­ing to clients or speak­ing to a group of peers also count.

Women also should re­mem­ber they are known for hav­ing bet­ter rap­port with au­di­ences com­pared with men, while men are bet­ter at pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion clearly.

‘‘ Men find it hard to pick up skills for rap­port talk but the best speak­ers are very good at bring­ing in that rap­port,’’ Munro says.

‘‘ It may be eas­ier to find a man (speaker) but we need to look a lit­tle harder; need to make the ef­fort to find a woman.

‘‘ But they’ve also got to get out there and be seen.’’

Pic­ture: Si­mon Cross

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