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Stress Management & Woman’s Conferences
Why Every Women’s Conference Needs a Stress Management Talk
Stress management is an important topic for a women’s leadership conference, as women face particular challenges in their careers. Half of all women say their stress has increased over the past five years, according to the American Psychological Association. This stress manifests in physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, the APA’s study shows. While speaking on stress management at a women’s conference, I presented viable solutions that women in any field can use to overcome hurdles they face in the workplace. Here are the three key points I discussed in my talk.
1. Finding Work/Life Balance
Finding work/life balance is a key issue for women in the workplace. Having children while pursuing a rewarding career remains a challenge for women, as often they must shoulder much of the responsibility for raising children, especially at the beginning. Finding time to unwind or even get enough sleep can be incredibly difficult. Securing maternity leave can pose a challenge, and facing discrimination for being pregnant or taking time away from work still affects many women in the workplace. I spoke about how working women can use time management strategies and work with their partner to create more egalitarian ways of sharing household and child-raising responsibilities. Additionally, I shared tips on how women can approach their boss to discuss family-friendly opportunities like flextime or telecommuting if need be.
2. Getting Noticed
Women are less likely than men to get credit for their own ideas, and feel valued in the workplace, as I discussed in my talk at the conference. Women’s management of stress hinges on being proactive about getting noticed, not just reactively dealing with stressors. Not having their ideas heard in meetings—or hearing men take the credit—is a perpetual source of stress for many women. In my talk, I shared tips on how women can stand out through strong self-branding. Self-promotion is a big one: Women often feel self-conscious about sharing their achievements, but if they don’t, others won’t notice. Women need to know their own strengths, inside and out, and then use them strategically—for example, by finishing that tough project that no one knew how to approach. Taking on highly visible projects—and making sure everyone knows they’re doing it—is a great way to stand out in the workplace. Likewise, women need to stop saying “yes” to every request, weighing whether an opportunity will truly benefit them before accepting it. In doing so, they’ll be preparing to leverage their job as a springboard to a better one.
Women still struggle to earn pay and advancement opportunities equal to men’s. Negotiating is an important skill women must develop to get ahead. Women should practice asking for more than they think they’ll get, and learn to advocate fiercely for themselves, using assertive language. They should prepare by making a list of all of their accomplishments and strengths, like completing that challenging project that no one else would touch. Role-playing a scenario with a trusted mentor will help build their confidence. They should also enlist the support of advocates and mentors whenever they plan to make a career move.
Dealing with Harassment
On top of those challenges, women are much more likely than men to face harassment or bullying in the workplace. Women in these situations might fear that filing a complaint could jeopardize their job, particularly if it’s against someone above them in the hierarchy. In my talk, I shared strategies for dealing with inappropriate behavior, like documenting it thoroughly, making a note of witnesses, and discussing the course of action with a trusted advocate.
This talk was a popular event at the conference—stress management for women is a hot topic because it’s extremely relevant. Women left with strategies for not only coping with stress, but thriving in their organization and getting the advancement opportunities they want. A talk like this benefits the whole workplace by boosting productivity, reducing tension, and helping star employees to shine brighter.
Copyright © 2012 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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