Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do you talk yourself out of public speaking--or say yes to opportunity?

So many readers have observed that they see too few women as speakers on conference programs that I've begun asking meeting organizers: Do you have trouble finding women speakers, and why?

The answer that surprised me most when I first heard it from a female meeting manager was "We make a point of identifying women speakers. And when we call them about being speakers, most of the time they refer us to someone else--usually a man." Then I heard it again, and again.

I'm wondering whether some women are talking themselves out of public speaking opportunities--or having trouble saying yes to speaking opportunities. There are plenty of valid reasons to turn down a speaking gig, but if those conditions aren't present, what's behind your decision to pass on an opportunity to speak? What are the reasons you hesitate or refer offers on to others?

Please leave your answers below in the comments. I'd love to hear from those of you who've experienced this as speakers, and as program or conference organizers.

Looking for famous speeches by women? Check out The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Women's Speeches, with a wide variety of women speakers, types of speeches and topics to inspire your next speech. Each one comes with lessons for speakers, plus video or audio and a transcript, where available.