With International Women’s Day just behind us, I couldn’t think of a better time to delve into How to Own the Room by Viv Groskop a British Journalist who explores the power when women find their voice.
Exploring history’s great women speakers, like Oprah, Michelle Obama and J.K. Rowling and the magic they have to make us sit up and listen and how being a great speaker can be achieved by you too.
Let’s be honest, many of us will openly hold our hand up and say they get some element of fear or nerves before public speaking for fear of messing it up. This is completely normal especially when being pushed outside our comfort zone. What these great women teach us is that being perfect isn’t the key to public speaking at all, there is much more to being a great speaker than this.
“Women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
Be more Oprah
Oprah has had many break-out moments throughout her career and is amazing at captivating and engaging the audience she is speaking to. She listens, she engages alongside this manipulates emotions. She’s a courageous speaker and isn’t afraid to discuss emotional, raw topics however at the same time keeping it real.
- Be real, show conviction and don’t be afraid to go over the top and take risks.
- Don’t be afraid to own your idea, almost sell it to the audience as if it’s the greatest idea in the world.
Be more Michelle
Michelle is a great example of the fact that great speakers are not born that way, as there is plenty of evidence she worked hard to build up her confidence. In the early days it was also spoken about that she didn’t enjoy her husband’s high status however she learnt to be happy and confident and over time you can too. There were many early speeches made where stutters and mumbles of words were recorded however it was how she owned it that made things special.
- Perfection is not the aim, we all start somewhere hesitations and stumbles are nothing to be ashamed of.
- Get in your happy high status which is easing the mind and body to look like you really want to be there.
Be more J.K.
You honestly don’t have to be a great speaker to give an amazing speech. All you actually need to do is talk in a way which is not only approachable but also engaging. Many TED talk speakers are writers, scientists or academics and although not perfect in delivery they are emotional, engaging because they keep it real. J.K. Rowling is a great example of this, she rarely speaks in public but when she does it’s impactful and authentic which people love.
- Wherever you can bring your own qualities or personal stories into a speech.
- It is completely fine to always be a ‘good-enough’ speaker’ and still own the room.
- Just be yourself, stop trying to be or sound like someone else.
Be more you
Honestly public speaking is always going to be a little nerve racking. I am sure all of the above women feel nerves and slip up from time to time, however no one sees that because of the qualities they bring and the captivating realness when they speak.
- The nerves are likely never to go completely away.
- Do whatever it takes to make it less intimidating
- The only way to do it is to actually do it
And most importantly find your voice, speak out and just be you.