In the process of developing Confident Speaking for Women, we interviewed dozens of women in leadership roles to learn how women can become more successful communicators and leaders at work. From that research, three lines of thought emerged, which are at the core of Confident Speaking for Women. We call them the “3 Cs” of powerful communication: Be Clear, Be Confident and Be Courageous. Listen to women executives like Shannon Brayton of LinkedIn and Yvonne Lin Liu of Genentech talk about how important it is to “Be Clear.”
Here are the 3 Cs in brief:
Clean: Don’t use “filler” words; rather, use clear, precise language.
Concise: Get to the point, and know how much detail to use.
Prepared: Make sure your message is backed by data. Use language of certainty.
Strong nonverbals: Adopt a confident stance, make eye contact, and “take up space” through physical presence and movement.
Vocal strength: Speak at a slower pace, don’t use “up-talk” (when your statements sound like questions), and use language of certainty and intention.
Appearance: The visual message matters (be professional!).
Connect: Build your own board of directors and a mentor network.
Stretch: Get out of your comfort zone.
Be flexible: Adjust to your audience and grow from mistakes.
Speaking of women learning from women and the 3 Cs in practice, PowerSpeaking celebrated International Women’s Day last month (March 8) in two ways. First, in our last blog, Women, Make a Powerful Entrance, we asked readers for examples of how they’ve learned to make a strong entrance. Referring to the powerful technique of introducing yourself when you enter a meeting, Carol L. Collins-Carriveau, Pharm.D., MAEd, Sr. Director, Medical Scientists Inflammatory Diseases, Gilead Sciences shared this:
“I learned this technique last year when I attended a Confident Speaking for Women seminar—it really does work. It also helps to instill confidence in yourself. In addition to introducing myself when I enter a meeting, I also have a prepared statement as to what value I bring to my organization. I used it twice this year—once with an executive vice-president and once with our CEO. They were impressed and engaged me in a deeper conversation. I never would have approached our CEO if I did not have confidence in myself and know that I bring value.”
Second, we made a call on LinkedIn for “hero stories.” We asked people to tell us about a woman who was a mentor or an inspiration through her confidence and courage. Here’s one response, from Rachel Ben Hamou, Director of Talent Development at PeopleStorming:
“My confident hero is a friend who dealt with crippling health issues, lost her career in finance because of it and now has thrown herself into advocating for others, participated in research programs with doctors and co-written a book. She reinvented her life with what she was given.”
We were, as we always are, moved by stories of women like these.
As a final note, we’d like to share more inspiration and wisdom with you by way of our free white paper, Circles of Light: Women’s Wisdom, in which the female leaders we interviewed give more rich advice on the 3 Cs, and more. To receive the free paper, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out about our Confident Speaking for Women workshop, click here.