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.
I loved this post. It is so important to take the stage and speak up! I realized that just this week. I attended an annual general meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the Community we just moved to. At one point I felt compelled to make some unrehearsed comments about my observations of some of the small businesses in town, (without naming names) where I thought some attention to “image” concerns could make a real difference in being this community an attraction rather than a distractor. I was amazed by the positive response and timeliness of my comments. At the end of the meeting the mayor himself came up to me and said, “Our town needs to hear you. Would you be willing to speak at a breakfast meeting?” Then the President of the Chamber of Commerce asked me to speak at a future event? We never know how our willingness to take the stage and speak up will impact others, and be a positive marketing tool for increasing our visibility.
Thank you Annette. Such a wonderful example of how leaning into your vulnerability to speak up resulted in so many fantastic and unexpected opportunities for you! You are an inspiration!
Great message Michela! So many of us are afraid to stand out…but it’s time we own it, take the stage and be proud of who we are in business and in life! We all have something to contribute. P.s! I can’t wait to see you on the stage in Parksville!
Thanks Megan. Yes, indeed “it’s time we own it!” – well said!