A couple of weeks ago, I spoke for 90 women at Southern California Edison about being “Pitch Perfect.” I know entrepreneurs come with business confidence already installed in their systems. But to speak in front of a group? Not so much. My mission in life is to help women find their voice and claim their value through their words, so this was great!
The first part of my speech was explaining how to convert your nervousness into positive energy. Then I went through the 7 Steps of a logical presentation, to follow your listeners’ train of thought, so they will be nodding and smiling throughout.
At the end of my presentation, I looked out into the audience and realized they needed something else: a ground of being from which to use these techniques. So I told them about the confidence gap between us and men. We don’t trust ourselves as much as men trust themselves in risky situations. We need to learn to stop turning down opportunities because we think we don’t know enough. Men don’t hesitate.
Example: if a job requires five competencies, and a woman has only four of them in her experience, she will NOT interview for that job. If a man has done only ONE or TWO of these, he will go for the interview. He says, “I got this!”
This confidence gap stems from the so-called impostor syndrome: that phenomenon of self-doubt. Two American female psychologists gave it this name in 1978. They described it as a “feeling of phoniness in people who believe they are not intelligent, capable, or creative, despite evidence of high achievement.” I call it a sense of humility on steroids: women thinking they have to be perfect. We think we have to dot every “i” and cross every “t,” and while that’s not a bad thing, it can keep us from the leap into the risk that brings us the reward.
So, ladies, prepare to risk. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have a shorter memory, so you can shake off the bad plays or missteps. And affirm, “My power to accomplish is unlimited.” And, “I’m on the path to everything I want.” Those are a couple of my favorites.
I ended the speech with, “Men just GO to the interview, even if they have only one or two of the five required skills. You know why? They say, ‘I got this!’” I realize now, that next time I speak to a group of women, I will say: “All together now, ladies! On the count of three – 1 – 2 – 3 – I GOT THIS!”