You’ve got a voice - so why not use it
More women need to speak out, reports Cara Jenkin
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.’’