Women are generally afraid to speak their minds and I constantly wonder if it’s because that’s how we’re wired or is it a confidence issue?
After moderating a panel at the Speak Up Women’s Conference last month at the United Nations, I realized it could be a little of both.
The founder, Jennifer Wilkov, served time in prison (Riker’s Island, no less – one of the most violent prisons in the country!) for a white collar crime she did not commit. Talk about inspiring! This woman has now made it a mission to empower women with the tools to “speak up.”
My panel was on “How to Speak Up and What’s Holding You Back” and after listening to the panelists talk about their perspective on these two topics, the underlying thread was that BEFORE you go to speak up about anything, you need to have a good hold on your sense of self.
There was such a diverse panel of women who seemed to come from every angle about how to speak up and what’s holding you back – there was even a younger woman in the audience who started crying because she felt like she was so lost and she thought we all had it so “together.” Really?! Because half the time I feel just the opposite – and told her so. We all feel lost and confused at times and this all circles back around to knowing yourself and what you have to offer. Only then can you “speak up” confidently and after that, be heard!
One of my panelists, Karen Taylor Bass, said that you have to listen to yourself, get quiet and confirm what it is you have to say. You can do this by journaling or meditating a little every day, it will surprise you what comes out of such a simple task! And another panelist, Tai Beauchamp, said that one of the keys to speaking up is listening to the right people first. If you take the time to listen, then you have more knowledge and perspective to say what you think in the best way possible.
The other two panelists, Laura Day and Michelle Tillis Lederman were fascinating as well. Laura is famously known as “The Psychic of Wall Street” and wrote a book called “The Practical Intuition” and Michelle is a nationally renowned relationship/networking expert, author of several bestselling books including “Nail the Interview, Land the Job.” She captivated the audience with her tips for body language when presenting in the boardroom. Preparing yourself to speak up has to do with more than just your mind!
Would you like to hear more about speaking up? Listen to our show featuring Jennifer Wilkov, founder of Speak Up Women and let us know what you think: