Lilly Walters, Speakers Bureau Owner: Excerpt from Wake 'Em Up Business Presentations
I am a female who speaks and owns a speakers bureau. As much as I dislike the reality of it, audiences still tend to prefer men. For a woman to be a hit on the platform she needs to be much better than a man. I know, I know, thousands of feminists are ready to shoot me. But the reality is, when my buyers make their final decisions, more times than not they are still hiring men. They may ask for a woman when they call in, but they often end up hiring a man.
Academic researchers have found that women actually lose immediacy points for joke telling. Students tend to be more strongly influenced by the amount and type of humor used by male lecturers than by female. The researchers also note that female students are influenced less by jokes and wisecracks than are male students, and more by the use of stories and anecdotes. The lesson to be learned seems to be that female presenters should incorporate humor through the use of stories and anecdotes, especially for predominantly female audiences. For predominantly male audiences, the judicious use of jokes which are relevant to the audience or subject matter should be added.
My personal reflection on this research is that we as women are still not as secure up there as men. It is not the learners and their styles at fault, it is us. Some of us have tapes running in our minds that say "demure" and "feminine," which is fine, if you can add passion. Passion is what sells concepts to your audience. Look at Mother Theresa, plenty of passion, but she uses it with strength. The result is very womanly presenters that captivate the audience. For you technical types that say, "What is demure and feminine?", a little passion is advantageous for you too. It is one of our unique strengths as women, so capitalize on it.
Lilly Walters is a best-selling author, a business executive, and a professional speaker. She is the Executive Director of Walters International Speakers Bureau. Together, Lilly and Dottie, Lilly's world famous speaking mother, publish "Sharing Ideas," the largest news magazine in the world for professional speakers.