"Women speak better" but they won't

‘Women speak better!

I haven’t heard this statement from just one, but two expert speakers. The first was from JT Foxx a global brand who has attained the highest paid platform speaker in the World title; the other expert is Niels Brabandt one of the most successful global keynote speakers, who has recently completed an in-depth study into speakers including female speakers and why they don’t get paid (anywhere near as much as men).

So if women are better speakers why aren’t we:

a) speaking more;

b) being paid more?

I’ll come back to this, but a slight tangent - I am truly done with the finger waggers of this World. If the same amount of energy was put into moving forward and creating solutions to the challenges that cause gender inequality as it is to finger wagging our industries would be in a better place.

It is time to stop pointing at the causes of the gender pay gap (in my opinion mostly male-dominated cultures which have existed for generations, never been questioned before and are now having the shock of their lives) and consider that the slow growth in women developing into paid speakers/CEO’s/directors is in part down to… women. Specifically women and their own mindset and beliefs.

You know what’s coming… yes, I am speaking from experience and around 30 years of research.

I am guilty of being caught up in finger wagging and not being proactive enough to challenge the unnatural norms of inequality; I have spoken to hundreds of women who have admitted to being fearful of standing out, speaking up and using their voice; I have interviewed tens of women who have held themselves back from promotion, professional speaking and many other upgrades in their professional lives for fear of simply getting in wrong.

We need to forget our fear of blending in; develop our positive mindset muscle; turn up the volume on our intuitive internal voice and say, “I CAN TRY”.

Two simple solutions for all organisations to focus a little of their finger-wagging time on:

a - celebritise (it is now!) their female role models. The women that have achieved should be the real celebrities of TV, social media, our workplaces

b - build stronger female internal networks - women need a tribe, basic stuff, and supportive female networks work, providing a constant source of encouragement, insight and inspiration.

Many of the women who were fearful of getting it wrong, failing, not being good enough have had children. They have taken up the most precious and powerful role on the planet of being a parent, and have overcome the fear of getting it wrong. Isn’t it time we applied this to our careers?

My feature image is of the amazing ‘Speak up like a DIVA’ inspirational speaker and coach Shola Kaye. She has been in that place of being told to not speak, that she was no good at speaking and this was the reason for her being fired. She has now brought herself to a place of authority, confidence and created a successful career in professional speaking. (Go to www.sholakaye.net to find out more and order her book).

In the words of an amazing, inspiring speaker the late (and tragically taken too soon) Joy Marsden,

“Don’t let not knowing, stop you from starting”.


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