It’s a known fact that women are outnumbered by men when it comes to the more senior positions in many many companies. It’s an issue being tackled by businesses internally (where I’m working is putting this as a top priority this year). But what isn’t always highlighted is how women are usually underrepresented at conferences, speaking events or even in presentation situations too. Just take a look at any industry conference line-up and I’m sure you’ll see this for yourself.
Kirsty Hulse, previously stand-up comedian, now founder of digital marketing agency Manyminds, hopes to help us ladies face this straight on. And I was lucky enough to go to one of her presentation workshops last week.
Kirsty comes across as one of those hilarious, confident women, who can think on the spot, always has an answer, and genuinely knows her stuff. Insider insight: this is the voice she’s wanted to portray. Kirsty also actually considers herself an introvert which surprised me.
Had to get a quick snap of the view from the conference room at lunchtime – just look at this!
The thing is, we all have a voice.
We just need to decide how we want it to come across. What qualities we want to portray. How we want an audience to feel after listening.
This is one of the numerous lessons I learnt in my session with Kirsty. She gave her insight into acknowledging and managing nerves (they can be helpful!), including power poses (apparently there’s a great TED talk on this by Amy Cuddy) and how to stand. As well as getting us all up doing improv speeches in front of the eight other strangers in the room. It was daunting. I was shaky. The feeling after though of accomplishment is fab. And that’s just to a small group. I was actually really proud of myself.
My friend Abi smashing her improv speech!
Kirsty was amazing.
Like truly. She came outright with the fact at the beginning that she’s not a professional. She doesn’t have any qualifications in coaching for this kind of thing. She’s doing this all from experience. But that’s how people learn right?! And experience and personal learning can be so powerful. So of course this doesn’t matter. I think the fact we all came out motivated, with a new found level of confidence in ourselves that we could do it, wanted to do it, and being in total awe of Kirsty just demonstrates this. She’s got a room of 9 strangers all presenting random stuff together, chatting away, and every one coming away wanting to do more. Now that’s fab!
My work friend Abi and I are hoping to continue the momentum internally. We want to set up presentation sessions where people can practice speaking. It might be random topics, or something more industry related, but just to have fun and give others the confidence we came away with. Maybe I’ll even present at a conference sometime in the near future too!
I’m definitely looking to do more training too, for things like this, and other SEO or digital outreach. To build on my skills, for work and my personal self. Of you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them!