Women differ from men in a number of ways. One of such ways is the manner each of them makes speeches and conveys information. We will be discussing below, a couple of public speaking tips for women, so that more women can harness and polish their public speaking skills.
Men are more of natural orators and have a higher stage presence, while women more or less play catch up. However, significant shifts have caused more women to enter this male-dominated department, like the rise of more influential and political female figures in the world today.
Public speaking skills are fast becoming a requisite tool for business in the 21st century, regardless of gender. Hence, this piece will be tailored primarily towards women and the challenges they often encounter when trying to make a public presentation.
The Best 15 Public Speaking Tips for Women
1. Realize that You are Amazing and Unique
Out of all the 15 public speaking tips for women in this article, this is the first thing every woman should know about because many feel inadequate even when most often they are the leading experts in the topic.
Speaking in front of others, sharing your ideas, motivating your team, or negotiating a deal can be daunting and extremely stressful, yet it is also a fantastic opportunity for you to share your unique view on a topic.
Are you afraid of speaking in public? Then I’d like to tell you that almost everyone does, so much so that it is considered one of the worst fears out there for both men and women.
If you have overcome stage fright, then you are amazing, but not being afraid is not enough to make a great impact you need to plan and prepare yourself appropriately.
Check out the other 14 tips; they should help you with that.
2. Know Your Stuff
Note that this is by far the important thing to always have in mind before you step on the stage as a woman. Unfortunately, there still ignorant people out there who think less of a woman’s capacity for learning and knowing stuff. Additionally, your audience expects to learn something from you, and they spared their time to listen, so it’s the least you can do.
Take enough time to thoroughly research your topic in order to have a full understanding of its subject matter. When you have a comprehensive grasp on a topic, you become very hands-on in your communication with the audience.
Great insights on a particular subject help you order your points much more appropriately and your delivery becomes by far smoother.
You command authority and earn credibility from your audience when they see that you have a deep understanding of what you are talking about.
It is even said that stage fright is more easily overcome when you know your onion than when you are struggling to assemble your points. Well! That’s your cue. Get all your ducks in a row!
3. Do A Thorough Practice
A great way to prepare for a public speech as a woman is by thorough practice. This can be done behind closed doors like in your bedroom where there will be no distraction.
It would help if you even were fully dressed to look the part to simulate the actual process. Also, try rehearsing before a mirror to watch how well you are coming up. Little melodramas as these are the things that eventually add up come the D-day of the speech.
By then, you have more than rehearsed and refined all rough edges to absolute perfection that the actual presentation becomes a walkover.
Like in the wise words of Abraham Lincoln:
“Give me six hours to cut down a tree, and I will spend four hours of it sharpening the ax.”
You possess such great power as a woman, so don’t hesitate to share your ideas with the world as bold and unapologetic as possible.
4. Learn To Relax
No one is free from being nervous, especially making a public speech for the very first time. However, the distinction that can be made between two individuals is one’s ability to manage that anxiety over the other’s ability not to.
Before you climb on the podium as a lady about to make a public speech, try to take a few deep but calm breaths. Taking in oxygen has been known to ease the nerves and lower anxiety.
Another trick is to smile a bit. Smiling feigns a feeling of confidence and stage control.
Related Articles: 6 Tips to help you become a Confident Speaker.
5. Look For Other Female Role Models That Inspire You.
Its been proven that staring at a portrait of an influential female role model or leader just before making a speech has a superb effect on the public speaking capabilities of women. This is according to a released research finding from the Journal of Social Psychology.
Take, for instance, a group women who looked at a picture of the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama or Prime Minister of England, Theresa May just before making a public speech were seen to perform a lot better.
Which woman of influence has had a profound effect on you? Look for a portrait or public speech outing of hers and watch it. Not long enough, you will find yourself standing at par with your favorite role model.
Beyond all that who knows, you might end up becoming someone else’s role model after the speech. After all, women need more role models.
Related Article: 26 Best Communication Skills for Leaders and Influencers
6. Tell A Great Story
Women can be very great at storytelling, but a formal outing can get the best of even the best of storytellers amongst us.
For that sole reason, have at the back of your mind that being able to tell a compelling and inciting story can be an added plus to your presentation.
Never shy away from or be afraid to drop a great story at a given interjection within your presentation.
Good stories have a way to captivate and keep the audience glued to your address. This emotional connection is the proverbial “icing on the cake!”
Do you know what time in your presentation to showcase your storytelling skills?
This is usually best at the beginning of your presentation. Moreover, make sure the story is relevant or has some connection to the topic of discussion; otherwise, it will be best to do away with it.
Related Article: How to polish your storytelling skills? A few solid tips
7. Exercise Power And Assertiveness
A lot of women refrain from being as assertive as men. They usually engage in small talk, making use of only minimal words which are often a play over on any attempt at a confident and intelligent conversation.
For instance, women will most likely come up with words and phrases like “I just feel, or I just want to say this…”.
Women do this a lot for a host of reasons. For one, they don’t want to appear to sound bossy. There is also the fear of uncertainty that they might not have all the facts. So they hide behind a series of buffered statements to strip out exclusivity.
Unfortunately, habituating the use of the word “just” in a sentence make you sound unsure of yourself. Play around with adjuncts that punctuate certainty and confidence.
There is also another word that women use a lot when making a presentation. That is the word “actually.”
You might hear them say things like “I was actually head of the so and so…or I actually feel this is…I actually was thinking such and such….” Using “actually,” in such context makes it look as if you are looking for validation for your idea or contribution.
8. Be Proud Of Your Accomplishments
In many settings and cultures, women are slow to accepting accolades for accomplishments.
Where a man would not bat an eyelid to take glory and congratulate themselves for their achievements, women on the other hand would prefer instead to share praises and encomiums with a group or teammate than to take the full credit all for themselves, even when the success of a project was solely be likened to them as female head.
If when making a speech, and the need to state who was responsible for the success of a project, never shy away from telling the truth about to whom credit should be attributed to, most notably when you had no team under whose cover you can take guise.
Take full credit where it is due you, and relish in it. You will be doing yourself a great turn when people know you are an achiever in the male-dominated dogma that is the corporate world.
However, if they discover you take shield behind your team, where they feel you are modest, they could also see you as being weak enough to command respect and leadership.
9. Be Clear When Differentiating A Question For A Statement
When making a speech about a topic, you might be divided between making a rhetorical statement than an actual question.
For example, you might feel that you are engaging the audience by asking rhetorical questions like, “What will you say about doubling on salesforce?” Which could, in fact, sound like a rhetoric question in technicality, but not as much in weight.
When you do so, the audience is most likely going to be hearing what sounds like an invalidated opinion rather than a solid factual statement. The thing is people are there to get schooled or informed for the most part, and not being put on the spot, leaving them biased or confused on your position on things.
There could, of course, be times where the use of a rhetorical question can be entirely appropriate. Like when trying to pitch a tricky idea to an otherwise tough crew of people quite attuned to resisting it.
Women have for ages, tended to abuse this skill more often in a bid to avoid conflict. However, that has become outdated in this day and age. In fact, conflict and disagreement have been seen to spark innovation for 21st-century big business.
10. Watch Your Tone And Properly Punctuate Your Sentences
You should make it a duty to make sentences remain sentences. This is a common problem with women because of the nature of their voice tone. They tend to finish off a sentence on a high note, making it seem as though they have just asked a question.
Take a survey on women making speeches or presentation, and you will see how common this is.
Unfortunately, making sentences which appear to come off as questions will ultimately strip off some of its credibility and power. One way to combat this is to control your pitch at the end of each sentence.
Try to bring down the pitch of your voice when you notice high shifts while making your speech. By using this approach, you will be making sure to maintain proper consistency with speech style and the scope of the message you are trying to convey.
Another problem with having a high-pitched voice is that you when you get excited, your voice becomes sharp and raspy. And this can be disturbing for both the audience and the flow of your overall presentation.
11. Avoid Talking Too Fast
Women are generally fast talkers, which is perfectly ok in an informal setting, especially with pals having a lovely time. Making a public speech, on the other hand, is a different ball game entirely.
When you talk very fast when giving a presentation, your audience can get lost or find it hard to keep up the pace.
Sometimes people argue that talking fast in a presentation helps you stay focused and to get everything out of your chest quickly, so you don’t forget certain key points, but doesn’t that sound a bit counter-productive especially when the whole purpose of your message gets lost because no one is following?
You can slow down your pace and still conquer your anxiety when you pause two times as much, in between statements and you will do just fine.
12. Make Use Of Gestures
As a woman, never overlook the power of hand gestures and strong body language when you are making a public presentation.
The moderate use of gestures will not only help drive home your message; they keep you coordinated and also make you appear confident, which ultimately gives a classy look and sets you apart.
You can check out our article on body language and gestures, where we share some tips for those who make presentations and speak in public.
Related Article: How to leverage body language to ace your Presentations?
13. Avoid Being Flirtatious
Talking about body language, being flirtatious is a woman’s most substantial feat. Some might argue for it, while some against it in a corporate environment.
It is hard to know what side to be on when it comes to this. However, for the sake of playing it safe at all times, avoid this feminine trait when making presentations.
Leave out the teasing, flicking of your hair or trying to feign a sexy tone. Some women go as far as referring to a male client by name without adding a title, in a bid to maintain a casual or friendly in a rather formal engagement. This should be completely avoided since you don’t know who you might be offending.
14. Avoid Having Too Much Jewelry On
Where it is quite reasonable for women to want to look beautiful and appear sophisticated when making a presentation, having too much jewelry on can be very distracting to both the lady presenter and the audience.
Imagine a presenter who is continually adjusting and readjusting huge pieces of jewelry dangling clumsily around her neck or wrist, causing distraction, as the audience can’t seem to keep their eyes off those shiny pieces.
The shingling noises that having one too many bracelets can cause in a room can be too reverberating to overlook. So, please be moderate on that.
15. Add A Little Silence To Your Speech
You cannot have a list of public speaking tips for women without talking about both slowing down the speed of the talk, which we mentioned above, and also discussing Pause, the secret sauce of anticipation and engagement in speeches.
You can add some dramatic touch to your presentation by maintaining a moment of brief silence.
This is one trick that most people don’t make adequate use of. Pausing for a small period add a bit of suspense to your presentation and awakens the audience, keeping them glued to your presentation while expecting what could come next.
I attended a TEDs Women event in my city once and being one of the few males attending it was both inspiring and awkward, after all, it felt that the event was made by women and for women, but fortunately that was not the case.
The key things I learned from that event are:
- Women can be amazing and inspiring speakers just like any man out there
- They can be clumsy, and really anxious on stage, even though they are presenting something that they invented and are passionate about
- They can command the stage with a unique power and presence
- The women attending the event got fired up and inspired by listening to these female leaders, entrepreneurs who stood there not only to tell how they achieved success in business but the number of sacrifices that they had to make
- Women are much more apologetic than your average male speaker, and people tend to ‘expect’ that from them
I had to write about that experience and share the tips I wish those speakers and other women out there would know to ensure their speeches have a great impact, that they stand tall in any stage to share their ideas, passions, failures, and successes like any other speaker, male or female.
I hope that the public speaking tips for women shared in this article may help you and many other women out there who have so much to share with the world, but are afraid or not confident enough to do so.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING
Check out the articles below, these are some great resources on public speaking tips for women.
Ethos3. Public Speaking Tips for Women. https://www.ethos3.com/2015/12/public-speaking-tips-for-women/ . Accessed on 07/10/2019.
Leaders in Heels. TOP 10 PROFESSIONAL PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS FOR WOMEN. https://leadersinheels.com/career/public-speaking/top-10-professional-public-speaking-tips-for-women/ . Accessed on 07/10/2019.
Tara Mohr. Public Speaking Tips for Women. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/women-public-speaking_b_1084041 . Accessed on 07/10/2019.
Ethos3. Public Speaking Advice for Women who love presenting. https://www.ethos3.com/2017/08/public-speaking-advice-women-love-presenting/ . Accessed on 07/10/2019.
Janek Tuttar. 7+ Professional Public Speaking Tips For Women. https://speakandconquer.com/public-speaking-tips-for-women/ . Accessed on 07/10/2019.