Monday, November 28, 2011

A great line when you're a woman who's a first

Sometimes the heart of eloquence involves having the right response ready at the right time--especially for those hard-to-answer, almost-trite questions. That happens a lot to women who are "firsts," the first in their field, position, or specialty.

Recently, Christine Lagarde, the first woman to head the International Monetary Fund, was featured in a profile on the CBS News program 60 Minutes. In her in-depth interview with reporter Lara Logan, the inevitable question about being a "first" came up--and Lagarde managed a refreshing and thoughtful response. From the transcript:
Logan: In lots of the things that you've done you've been the first woman. Does it matter to you? Is it important? 
Lagarde: Well, what matters to me is that I'm not the last one.
If you're a first, that's a line well worth borrowing when you need it. It's a "keep your eye one the ball" statement, one that suggests "I'm not as important as the change becoming permanent."

Lagarde was featured in our Famous Speech Friday series with a guest post from speaker coach Marion Chapsal. Watch this outtake video from the interview in which Lagarde talks about women's issues in business, the glass ceiling and helping other women to succeed:

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