The playwright, William Shakespeare, once said, “All the World’s a Stage.” That is certainly true for women in business and Entrepreneurs. Every day we are on stage – and that stage can be a meeting, an interaction with a client, phone call, email, or networking event. A stage can also be an introduction, a speech, a blog post, a social media conversation or a radio interview. The point is to realize that all these are stages where we can inspire others to believe in our ideas and in us – or not.
I believe that for women to be seen and heard, we have to learn how to take the stage and choose to do it. The challenge is that if we don’t learn how and don’t make the conscious choice to do it, we may be at risk of going unnoticed, losing credibility, and not coming across as the expert that we know we are.
There was a time in my life, not too long ago when I simply refused to take the stage because of my own fear. My fear of stuttering was so great that I chose to shrink back my beliefs and thoughts for the terror of being humiliated and dread of being unable to clearly and confidently articulate my message. As a result, people didn’t really know me, and their perception of me was very different than who I really was. Being an introvert added another layer of complexity to my life as I would much rather be at home reading than out speaking with people. The real push for me to learn how to take the stage came when I became an Entrepreneur. When working as an employee I could hide and to some degree avoid situations that I feared. Albeit that only got me so far before I kept bumping into myself. (Jon Kabat-Zinn was right when he said, “Wherever you go – there you are!”) As a business owner at the center of my brand, I cannot hide – not unless I want to be out of business! I realized quickly that I am my business, and therefore I am a brand. People will choose to engage with me based on who I am, what I believe, and how I can help them – all of which has to be communicated effectively to the outside world.
My fear is trumped every day because of my courage to show up, my passion for my work and the desire I have to share my message with the world. I continue my journey to stop self-sabotaging my advancement and potential success by the way I present myself, the words and tone of voice I use, my mindset beliefs, my authenticity and the clarity of my message. I’m not perfect, and that’s okay. It’s not about perfection, it’s about continuing to learn, grow and develop.
Put a halt to self-sabotage by learning and choosing to take the stage with these 10 tips to stand out, get noticed, and be heard on any stage:
- Know that every time you open our mouth to speak or put words to paper you are taking the stage.
- If you want to inspire, empower and influence others with your message, think and act like a leader.
- Don’t react to other people’s actions or words by shrinking back and playing small. Stand up for your beliefs.
- Speak with a clear, developed message. Use strong words and remove apologies, emotional drama, and words that weaken your message.
- Be your authentic self. Speak in a way that is real. Your passion for your message will be felt, even if your words are not remembered.
- Turn up your voice volume and articulate your words. Allow your powerful voice to carry your message with conviction.
- Connect to your audience. You are having many one-on-one conversations even if you are in a room speaking to a hundred people.
- Stay connected to your breath and breathe from your belly. Your voice is a like a wind instrument; don’t cut off its power source.
- Stay present and fully embodied. Don’t be a talking head – connect your whole body to your message. Feel your feet firmly planted to the ground and speak from a rooted position.
- Prepare and practice. Don’t let your fear of public speaking trump the importance of getting your message out into the world.
What tips do you have for taking the stage? Please share your comments below.