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Ladies at Lecterns

May 3, 2016


Recently five of Australia's most popular and most booked male speakers announced they would boycott all male panels on the conference circuit. Thanks boys - @drjasonfox, @fromdarrenhill, @mattchurch, @drAdamFraser and @DanGregoryTII. PS..all these guys ROCK the stage.


After the delicious gaffe Paypal made announcing they were hosting an all male panel on diversity and the UN group UN Global Compact boycotted all male conference panels, awareness of the lack of oestrogen on the stage is rising.


White, all-male panels have long been the norm, rather than the exception at conferences, and whilst this may be due to a variety of reasons, women could also be sabotaging themselves with an I’m not good enough attitude.


I’ve seen this first hand where senior women, confident and competent, knock back invites to speak or take part in keynotes, delegating to someone else, because they just need one more degree, or to read one book, to be worthy.


Widely quoted is the Hewlett Packard internal report (see Harvard Business Review) that suggests men will apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the criteria while women wait until its 100%.


Why is this? It’s a big topic with many contributing factors ranging from biology to upbringing. And I believe that the problems start early. From a young age we are fighting the peer pressure of I’m not pretty enough, I’m not thin enough. We’ve learned that good girls are rewarded living neatly and quietly. The weight of this carries into other areas of our lives, holding us back and sabotaging our own careers.


There are proactive measures we can, and must take in order to be part of the conversation:


  • Shift your internal dialogue. Get rid of the self-talk that says I’m not good enough and plays on a loop over and over. This needs to be a conscious decision and takes some practice. I’m not good enough shifts to I am the most knowledgeable person in the room on this subject. I’m not ready shifts to I am up for any challenge.

  • Evaluate your inner circle - hang out with positive people who boost your confidence.

  • Be wary of women’s groups that talk and talk and talk about their issues without focus on driving change.

  • Be prepared. Read, listen and learn. Constantly expand your knowledge on your given area of expertise so when you’re asked to speak, you can deliver a confident YES!

Thanks to the Most Booked Male Speakers on the conference circuit, awareness of lack of diversity is rising and we should see a rush of invites to senior women.


Your responsibility is to be ready.



Lynne Schinella is running an Executive Women’s Speaker Retreat At Spicers Hidden Vale in the Lockyer Valley, QLD 23 - 26 July 2017.

See www.execspeakercoaching.com for details.

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