The power disparity between male and female members of society is now universally recognized. Even the most traditional groups don’t deny the figures surrounding gender equality, though they may disagree on methods for change. However, it’s commonly assumed that these challenges are less significant for women entrepreneurs due to their business acumen. Even outside the conventional job market, the reality is that multiple hurdles sit between a woman’s message and her intended outcomes.
Rather than succumbing to social censorship, advocates and experts argue that methods exist for female entrepreneurs to overcome adversity. That’s where communication steps in. The speaker and coach, Dr. Denise Hill, who founded The Communicator Incubator, has weighed in on the topic. While she doesn’t deny the unfairness of women having to go to extra lengths to ensure they are heard, she believes the answer can be found in a straightforward self-development process. Here are the three critical stages for women to stamp their authority on the world around them:
To succeed in an aspect of business, entrepreneurs are invariably knowledgeable in their fields. Female business people are no exception, yet their gender and marginalized communication methods can often make it come across that way. The first step to fixing the perception is to give women’s expertise the recognition it deserves.
“Often, women are not told they are experts until they reach a certain academic or professional level,” Hill said. “But, in reality, we have a tonne of wisdom and expertise that makes us capable of being thought leaders. Women must understand that their life experiences make them experts and justify having a voice in their field.”
The phenomenon is often termed ‘imposter syndrome,’ where individuals feel like they do not belong with a particular class of people despite having the necessary skills or knowledge. Women must win that inward battle before tackling their environment.
Communication is frequently mischaracterized as a solely extroverted ability. But, for experts, it begins with the messages people send to themselves. Changing that dialogue in light of a renewed self-appreciation could be pivotal to revolutionizing outcomes in business and life.
“Start with the communication in your head and what you are telling yourself about yourself,” Hill outlined. “You have to audit your self-talk to make sure you are continually repeating messages that affirm your value and abilities and remind you of your successes in the past and potential to be successful again.”
The language women use in their self-communication has significant power over their emotions and, therefore, their actions. For example, turning ‘I can’t’ into ‘I’ll do my best’ can transform the results they see due to the knock-on impact on their mindset.
Finding a voice
While internal factors are hugely influential in whether a female entrepreneur can communicate effectively, there ultimately comes the point where they must give their message to the wider world. An environment, as referenced, that is not without its discrepancies. For experts, the answer is in applying personal confidence to professional situations.
“If you are conditioned to be introverted, as many women are, how do you operate in the professional space?” Hill said. “It’s about showing up as your best self, beginning with self-talk and ending with your presentation. Female entrepreneurs specifically must communicate in a way that will have others buy into their ideas.”
The internal to external transition is increasingly recognized as fundamental to effective communication across the board. It’s not a simple dynamic either, as inner tendencies can cause negative non-verbal expressions even where spoken words are positive. For women, conquering their sense of self-worth could be the beginning of a communication revolution that ends with equal appreciation for female voices.