Many women speakers feel invisible because they feel like they are not heard. It’s time to put a stop to that and let your voices and messages come through to anyone who can hear. Elizabeth Bachman dedicates this solo episode to helping women not get ignored and seen and heard. She shares some presentation skills and tips that will get you the recognition you deserve and show up as a thought leader in your industry. Join Elizabeth in this discussion to not only improve your visibility but also inspire more women to speak up and share their ideas.
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Do You Feel Invisible?
Presentation Skills To Help Women Be Heard
This is the show where we interview experts from around the world on how to use presentation skills to move your readers to take action. Before we begin, I want to invite you to take our free assessment. It only takes four minutes. That’s where you can see where you are strong with your presentation skills and where you might need a little bit of extra support. In this episode, I’m talking about, do you feel invisible? How to use presentation skills to help women to be heard? I work with people from men and women in many ways and diverse. If you’re having trouble being heard because of ethnic issues, you’re a minority, or there is an unconscious bias that’s in the way, contact me. We can talk about this.
I am talking about the gender-based problems where women aren’t heard by men or by other women. This is a presentation that I have done for many groups around the country. I’m hoping that you are going to enjoy it. The title of this show is, Do You Feel Invisible? Presentation Skills to Help Women Be Heard. The reason I know about this is because I have been working my way up through a male-dominated business when I was one of the early female opera directors in America. I ran an opera program for fifteen years. I spent eight years training business presenters. I am now the host of this show and I run the visible and valued mastermind. To tell you the truth, I’m only here because I’ve made all of the mistakes.
I’m going to be sharing things that have saved me thousands of dollars when I followed these tips. Frankly, it cost me thousands of dollars when I forgot them. The first thing is, why did you tune in now? What is it about this title, Do You Feel Invisible, that spoke to you? The reason I want you to write it down is because this is going to help you as you move forward to define what the problem is.
My intention is to talk to you about how to get the recognition you deserve, how to show up as a thought leader in your industry, as well as within your company, and a little bit about how to get it done. First of all, I highly recommend that you take the quiz at SpeakForResultsQuiz.com so you could find out where you’re strong, where your presentation skills are serving you, and where you might need a little bit of support. I find many people as they’ve taken this quiz have discovered that they’re not valued for what they bring. They understand that this will help their career and their team might value what they’re doing, but they’re not being listened to. Maybe, you’re good at your job that you’re taken for granted. You then see the promotions going to flashy for younger people who are showing up more.
You might find that, although you understand that presentation skills are great for you, you don’t know where to go, how to find the right places to speak, or you might find out that you’re not being heard. Have you ever sat in a meeting and suggested something, then five minutes later, somebody else says, “I have this great idea?” and they say the same thing you just said? That happens a lot, even after all the progress that’s been made over the last years. I’m appalled at how often this still happens. You might find that you’re being listened to, but your recommendations are ignored. Maybe you’re one of those people who says, “I can see that there’s a problem coming up,” but nobody wants to hear it. The reason I care about this is it’s all happened to me. I’ve had to pivot and then pivot again. I started out as an actor. I then became a stage director for opera and ran an opera company. Now, I am a presentation skills trainer where I am leveraging all the skills that I learned in years of running a company, training, opera singers, to help people get the results that they need.
The next thing I want you to write down or even say it out loud is what do you want when you present your ideas? Are you presenting for sales? Are you presenting to get allies? Maybe you’re presenting to investors who might help you or presenting yourself to a mentor within your company. Are you presenting to get recognition to raise your visibility? Write this down and then go back and read because you’ll get a lot of benefit out of it. The reason why it matters to have more women out there speaking is because the statistics show that companies with diverse leadership have much better profits. This is all about getting you into leadership. The best way is to have a variety of opinions, speaking styles, learning styles, and backgrounds so that you can truly get the ideas that you want. Being stuck in a rut is what kills a company.
Remember the old saying, “A rut is a coffin with the ends kicked out.” It also matters to get women out there speaking because there are still more men out there speaking on stages than women unless you’re in a women’s group, then it’s mostly women. This is a show where most of my audience is women so most of my speakers are women. In the general world, especially the world of business, there are still 90% men and we take it for granted. We’re used to it. The more you are out there speaking, showing up as a thought leader, not only are you helping your career, your visibility, and spreading your ideas or important information, but you’re also inspiring the younger ones who haven’t quite gotten up the nerve to go out there and speak, or the ones who have good ideas, but they’re a little afraid.
As a speaker, saying, “I’ll be the speaker. Please, I would like to be the speaker,” will help you show up and inspire other people. To get the results, it breaks down into strategy, script and style. The strategy means knowing who you want to talk to and where to find them. The script is important because once you know who you want to speak to and who do you want to have listened to you, you have to be sure that you are phrasing what you want to say in a way that they can get it. You have to choose a topic that will have them pay attention and understand what’s in it for them. Style, that’s you. The most important part of speaking is you. You are the heart of it. Your confidence and charisma, all of this is what helps you show up. Anytime you’re trying to sell an idea and move people to take action, that’s an enrollment conversation kind of sales. Buying decisions are emotional. We know that from sales. If you’re trying to get them to buy into your idea, you, being there is what’s going to make the difference.Statistics show that companies with diverse leadership have much better profits. Click To Tweet
Let’s talk about strategy, who needs to hear you and what do you want them to do? If you’re going to move them to take action, what action do you want them to take? Write this down, who are you speaking to, who’s not listening to you, and what do you want them to do? More importantly, what do they need to believe about you in order to do what you want? They need to believe that you are strong, trustworthy, easy to work with and you know what you’re doing. They need to believe that it matters. The solution is to match your message to the room. As I often say to any kind of presentation, rule number one is to make it about them. What is it that they need to believe? Who are the right people? Who are you speaking to?
My client, Janet was frustrated because she was excellent at solving problems. She had made it to Senior Director, but couldn’t get to be Vice President or even to C-level. She was being taken for granted. She was good at solving problems so the company kept giving her more problems to solve and other projects to do without the recognition, the promotion, and the raise that should have gone with the extra work. We worked out a strategy and a script for her when she was going to take on the next project. It was a project that was going to encompass the whole company. She went to every person in the C-level and laid out her strategy instead of fixing it. She was going to be able to fix it. That wasn’t an issue.
She went to them and she said, “I would like to show you my strategy for bringing about the change that we’re looking for.” She laid out the strategy and we found something for each member of the C-level that was part of that C-level person’s expertise. There was something she could ask them about, either, “You know these people better than I do. I would like your advice.” She enrolled them in the solution. She managed to get every single person of every single one of the C-level directors, enrolled in the project, and understanding the strategy. They created a new position for her. She got the promotion, the title, the raise, and the recognition.
I mentioned briefly about the script. You also have to say it in a way that they can listen. Some of this is about if you are a multi-focused person and you can keep lots of ideas in your head, but the people who are listening are single-focused people. Often women are more multi-focused and men are single-focused, but not always. You find it in both situations and both genders. If you’re a multi-focus person, you can’t throw a lot of ideas at a single focus person. You have to give them one at a time in a sequential way because that’s the way they need to hear it. Frankly, I believe that we all have multi-focused moments and single-focused moments. It’s situational.
There are certainly plenty of times where I’m single-focused and I am going to get this project done. If you approach me with many different possibilities, I can’t handle it. I would say, “Tell me one thing,” and vice versa. If you are a single-focused person and you’re working with a multi-focused person, you need to be aware that they understand the connections. We have other episodes about gender communication and miscommunication and how to help men and women understand each other. Phrase it in a way that they can listen and don’t forget to include the benefit. What is it that they are going to care about? For instance, if you’re doing a speech to the finance committee, you want to make sure that you include the statistics because that’s what they’re going to care about. On the other hand, if you’re giving a speech to a women’s social network that does charitable work, you want to talk more about the mission and the heart-centered basis of what you do.
If you’re going to include the statistics, include them, but the focus should be about the heart-based. Make it about them and how they are going to be able and willing to listen. Style is how you show up. Are you friendly? Do you have nerves? One of the ways I like to think about battling nerves is if you’ve got stage fright. Most of the time, because of the things that your inner voices are saying, that inner critic. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have one voice in my head. I have a whole choir. If they’re all yelling at me, it’s hard to hear. It’s hard to make it about them. If you think about your listeners as guests at your party, you are inviting them into something that you’ve prepared your presentation, and you’re offering them a gift.
You’re not asking them to give up something by doing what you want them to do. You’re asking them to benefit and invest in themselves and the company by taking this action that will benefit everybody. You are the gift. There’s a great deal about this also in other parts of the show. Here’s the other piece. Once you can use these techniques to be listened to in your company, don’t go to sleep. Don’t forget that you also need to leverage your visibility outside the company. One of the reasons is you get them to listen to you once, but if they’ve taken you for granted, they might take you for granted again. It might happen after a while that they’re not listening, or people will change. There are different people who need to listen.
You need to think of this as a two-prong thing and show up as a thought leader. Thought leadership is back to being the strategy. You need to show that you are a strategic thinker, a thought leader in Janet’s case. One of the best ways to do that is to speak outside the company. If you’re not speaking outside the company, the higher you rise, the more you’re going to be asked to speak. Make sure that you have ideas that will establish you as a thought leader. My client is a chief technical officer. She’s known for her technical skills. What we’ve been doing with her is establishing her as a thought leader and a strategic thinker. Sometimes, she was saying, “I know you invited me here because I’ve got the technical information. To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of strategies involved in this. As a strategic thinker, I’m going to tell you the why behind what we’re doing instead of just the what.” That has made a huge difference in her career. She is known as a thought leader in her technical area. It is a strategy and script.
A lot of people come to me and they say, “I want to set myself up as a thought leader. I want to show up, but what could I say? How do I do it?” If you’re not sure what your special sauce could be or special speech be, think about the ideas. What is it that bothers you in your industry? Do you have any pet peeves? I am giving you permission to complain briefly, but one of the great ways to do this is to meet with your friends and open a bottle of wine. Sit around and talk about things that bug you and then what should be done instead. That can often be the start of a great speech of, “Here’s what we don’t want. What do we want instead? How can we do this?”Remember, anytime you're trying to sell an idea, move people, take action. Click To Tweet
It’s all about short-term and long-term plans. The strategy is to have you be heard using the many tools of presentation skills. If you have not yet taken the quiz, I invite you to go to SpeakForResultsQuiz.com and take four minutes to enjoy, to look at this, and try it out and see where you are in terms of speaking. If you’re interested in using these tools to be heard, then you can reach out to me. Thank you for coming to the show. I’ll see you on the next one.