Why do women feel a slump in their confidence whilst storytelling and what can they do about it?
In 2019, I walked into a boardroom meeting with three men waiting for me to take them through what I had planned to solve their team’s communication challenge.
As soon as I saw the dynamics in the room, I knew that I am going to face some challenges today and that awareness really helped me navigate the meeting.
At one stage, I made a statement – “Knowledge is not understanding.” I saw one of the gentlemen smirked and asked me, “What exactly does that mean?” My response was, “You can claim to have knowledge about childbirth, but as a man, you cannot claim to have an understanding of it.”
My response was accepted, but perhaps not liked. In several such meetings I have realised just being aware that there are indeed workplace biases is a powerful antidote to self-doubt, especially for young women in the workforce. If I was not aware and accepting of the bias, I would have lost my confidence with the smirk.
So the next time you walk into a presentation to an executive board and see fourteen men and two women around the table, realise that a slump in your confidence is to be expected, based on a larger force. Even that recognition can help you move on and not beat yourself up feeling a bit nervous.
It doesn’t mean you need to dwell on the unfairness, and you certainly shouldn’t give up, or complain incessantly, but understanding context and institutional dynamics can help you keep disappointments and challenges in perspective.
Somehow being aware of the challenges that await us gives us the strength to fight them better.
Book Update ( the new publication date )
If you are not new here you would know that my upcoming boom Strategic Storytelling published by The Hachette Book Group is launching in May this year. We are planning a few events leading up to the book launch. Please sign up here if you would like to be the first to know.
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