Tuesday, September 8, 2009

are you your own glass ceiling?

Confidence--or the lack thereof--is a major barrier for many would-be women speakers, and even if you've taken the time to learn good speaking skills and have the opportunity to speak, lack of confidence can undermine your efforts from within. Germaine Palangdao posted this Newsweek column by Jessica Bennett on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook. Bennett describes going through a media-training session with male and female colleagues in which she and the other women thought they'd sounded confident in their mock interviews:
But when we watched ourselves on the big screen, our apprehension became embarrassingly clear—especially in comparison to our male counterparts. The trainer described me as "sing-songy," my voice inflecting up, time and again, turning my statements into questions. We used self-defeating words like "sort of," and started our sentences with "I'm not sure, but"—doubting our opinions before we even expressed them. The irony, of course, is that we're accomplished journalists; we knew these topics well. So why did we sound so unsure of ourselves?
Bennett interviews Rachel Simmons, author of The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence, who notes that it's not a matter of under-achievement: "Girls collect achievements by the handful, but often don't have the confidence to own them." Has this contributed to your public speaking fears or performance?

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