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The Best Convention, Conference & Special Event Speakers

The #1 Tip I Give Women Leaders as a Special Event Speaker at Conventions and Conferences

I recently spoke at a women’s conference as the special event speaker for that convention, delivering a talk called “Release Untapped Potential of Your Underutilized Women Leaders.”

Women often fall into the trap of focusing on giving other people space to speak. They’re often excellent listeners, but their focus on listening often prevents them from being heard.

That’s why the number one tip I give women for developing their leadership skills is to speak up. It’s vital to own your place at the table in meetings, making your presence known.

Here are a few key tips I’ve shared with women at many conferences and conventions as a special event speaker.

  1. Be direct.

    As the saying goes, it’s not just what you say; it’s how you say it. Have conviction in your ideas, and share them in a straightforward way. Remember, you’ve put a lot of work into getting where you are today! You have great ideas based in valuable experience, and being a great leader means learning to share them confidently. Delve right in, letting your ideas shine by being direct.

  2. Stop prefacing your ideas with qualifiers.

    Adding qualifiers like “This is just my perspective” or “You may disagree” presents you as insecure in your ideas, which influences how people see them. Wishy-washy speech doesn’t get anyone excited about a new idea. Great leaders convey enthusiasm for their vision and ideas, and letting that enthusiasm shine will get people energized about yours.

  3. Build supportive relationships with potential allies.

    To make sure your idea doesn’t go unnoticed—and to keep others from intentionally or unintentionally taking credit—build alliances with other women. You can work to voice support for one another’s ideas and emphasize where a great idea came from if others have lost sight of that. As discussion about your friend’s idea continues, namedrop her from time to time—“Amber seems to have put an incredible amount of research into this concept,” or “I look forward to seeing what the design team will do with Amber’s idea,” for instance. She’ll probably return the favor for you before long!

  4. Anticipate important topics and prepare to speak on them.

    Look over the meeting agenda, if you can get it in advance. If you’re planning to share an idea, pinpoint where it might fit in best, so you’ll get the best reception possible. Make a note of other comments you want to add about agenda topics.Consider whether you have any pressing items to contribute to the agenda for next time, too! Taking the lead on a topic you know a lot about will definitely get you noticed. When you habitually lead discussion of an agenda item, people will naturally look to you as a leader—and they’ll be more likely to validate your ideas as a result.

  5. Find the right cadence.

    Practice boldly stating your ideas ahead of time, so you don’t find yourself fumbling for words in the moment. You could practice with your ally or a mentor to get feedback on how you come across. Ask them if you’re sounding confident and capable, or timid and uncertain.

    Are you blurting out your ideas in one breath, rushing by important points? Or are you pausing for long moments as you search for the right words? After getting feedback on how you present your ideas, practice varying your tone, pacing, and word choice to find out which of those factors you can most improve in order to come across the way you want to.

As you practice using all of these techniques, you’ll find yourself getting noticed much more at work—and getting your great ideas heard!

If you’re a boss who’s working to empower and motivate your people to speak up, share these tips with them, and consider the benefits a motivational speech can bring to your workplace or event.

Hire Joel Garfinkle to deliver a powerful motivational speech for your special event, such as a conference or convention?

Copyright © 2020 Joel Garfinkle, All Rights Reserved. Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S., and the author of 7 books, including Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Deloitte, Amazon, Ritz-Carlton, Gap, Cisco, Oracle, and many more. Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter and receive the FREE e-book, "41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!"

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