Female Empowerment through Public Speaking
“practice makes perfect whether that is in the shower, in front of the mirror or in front of friends - definitely practice as much as you can!”
Last Wednesday, WIL hosted the first public speaking workshop to give WIL members the opportunity to learn more about how to feel comfortable and confident giving a public speech as well as how to properly prepare a speech for an online and offline audience. Hosts of the workshop were Abi, our chairwoman, and Alice- both inspiring women who have several years of public speaking experiences. At the end of the workshop WIL had the opportunity to conduct a short interview, talking about what it implies for women to have public speaking skills and how female empowerment organizations (such as WIL) can contribute to the public speaking skills of women. Eventually, they gave insightful tips on how you can improve your own public speaking skills.
Read the interview here:
WIL: Do you think it is particularly important for women to have public speaking skills and why?
Abi: Yes, I love seeing the reaction of men when I am in a room with them doing a head speech for example, but I think that is also a problem in a sense that men are so surprised sometimes that a woman can get up and give a speech and convey herself. For me a lot of the stuff I do and try to help empower women is about helping them to have those skills to be able to stand up in those rooms. Because I have seen countless times going into these situations where it is a male dominated room and women don’t feel comfortable to speak up. And I think that, nowadays women really need to have those skills so that we keep kind of changing that balance. And that it is not such a surprise when women are also able to convey themselves and are able to have these leadership positions. I think public speaking is important for their future career and if more women get involved and get the opportunity that comes with it then I really hope we will see more women in leadership positions in the future. It is going to take a while but public speaking can contribute to that!
Alice: I definitely agree with Abi. I think we are in a world where often these professional and business-like scenarios are quite male dominated. So, I definitely agree that sharing these skills with women is crucial. I think that as a woman the ability to feel confident in a room of people, that you are often told that they are better and smarter than you, is really crucial. And I think that goes back to something that public speaking teaches really well, which is being confident within yourself and what you can say, plus the ability to not question what you can bring to the table. I think it is so easy nowadays for women to be put down or left out of crucial decision-making because they are seen as less valuable. That is so wrong! I think women have so much to offer. I definitely think public speaking as a woman can be more challenging especially when you are talking about international politics and very prominent areas that are often male dominated. But I believe places like WIL are great platforms for sharing these abilities with other women.
WIL: How can female empowerment organizations such as WIL contribute to the public speaking skills of women?
Alice: I think WIL is an incredible platform to have a public workshop with predominantly female participants. To see that is so inspiring! I think WIL has created this amazing platform where women feel comfortable with one another and it is a really supportive environment to help them build their skills in a place where they feel valid and secure. Tonight was an amazing experience for me to see so strong and independent women really out there to present themselves. I know that sounds corny and cheesy but I thought it was great.
Abi: When I first became a member of WIL, the reasons why I did it was that I felt like the network opportunity that WIL provided was extremely important. WIL is a professional network and I have met so many amazing women through it. I think that continuing that journey with them and providing the opportunity to have these workshops which are also given predominantly by women who are accomplished in various sectors is extremely motivational. One of the entire reasons why I pursued the chair position was because I really wanted to increase that network and continue building upon the work of the previous two boards and really connecting women.
WIL: Do you think anyone can learn public speaking? What would your tips be for more introverted people?
Abi: I think 100 percent that public speaking is for everyone. I used to hate it and now here I am teaching people public speaking. My main tip is just starting small. Don’t push yourself into a position where you are really going to hate it. I think so many people have presentations at universities and it is very evident nowadays that most people don’t have basic public speaking skills. Try to find some way to practice and I think the biggest tip I can give is try to engage with the content that you have and engage with the audience that you have. For me, marking my speech was the easiest way that I could remember
everything about public speaking tips. As cheesy as it sounds, practice is the biggest tip that I can probably give.
Alice: I definitely agree with Abi. I think public speaking can definitely be for everyone. For the people that are quite introverted my recommendation would be: try to give speeches on the subjects that you are passionate about because I have experienced that people who are passionate in a subject are more willing and more open to speak about it. My tip for introverts out there would be find a topic you are really passionate about and put yourself in a situation where you can openly talk about it. But other than that, what Abi has said: practice makes perfect whether that is in the shower, in front of the mirror or in front of friends - definitely practice as much as you can!