Enhancing Female Leadership with Media Training
Updated: Sep 17
Leadership is an invaluable trait for executives in any industry. In the corporate world, having the ability to lead others is a desired asset, requiring confidence and effective communications in equal measure. Anyone can claim to be a leader, but it takes strategy and skill to do it effectively.
Individuals in leadership roles must inspire confidence within their teams. Leaders must also make sure the team has confidence in their leadership capabilities. Much can be achieved in this regard with strong, clear communications. It’s a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page and inspires productivity.
INEQUALITIES IN LEADERSHIP
When it comes to leadership roles in Canada, men continue to occupy the majority of these positions. Despite women’s professional performance excellence, they continue to hold just 35.3 percent of management positions, according to a 2019 Statistics Canada report on labour force characteristics.
Furthermore, the number of women in senior management declines towards the top of the corporate ladder. Mckinsey’s Women in the Workplace 2020 report, indicates that only 28 percent of women are in senior vice-president positions and just 21 percent of women are in the C-Suite. The findings also noted that for every 100 men promoted to a manager, only 85 women were promoted.
As Business Insider reports, gender bias negatively impacts leadership opportunities for women. Catalyst.org says women have only incrementally increased in management positions over the past few years.
The solution requires systemic change, but strong, strategic communications skills demonstrate leadership by rallying the support of the team and promoting the leader's vision. It helps individuals fill their leadership roles fully and to be perceived as effective leaders.
HOW MEDIA TRAINING CAN HELP FEMALE LEADERS
Gender bias, or sometimes referred to as gender stereotyping, is the tendency of individuals to create preconceived misconceptions about a person’s capabilities solely based on their gender. Effective communications can counter or eliminate misperceptions.
Media training for strong communications can be a very powerful tool, available to anyone who wants to demonstrate their leadership capabilities and advance them. Women are exceptional problem solvers, multitaskers, and communicators which creates an advantage in the business world. An excellent way to exploit that advantage is with strategic communications that demonstrate leadership capabilities and professional expertise.
Media training teaches a myriad of skills from how to make communications more strategic and effective to how to control conversations and ensure your remarks are achieving your objectives.
Amplify Your Voice
Women are more likely to not be heard in the workplace. This challenge has amplified in the pandemic with virtual meetings becoming the new norm. As reported by The New York Times and CNBC, 45 percent of female business leaders reported persistent interruptions and cross-talk when they had the floor in online meetings.
Although an individual’s communication skills can not repair the dynamics of a workplace where women are sometimes prevented from effective participation in meetings, media training can help develop powerful & concise points that can be conveyed quickly, reducing the need for floor time. In turn, improving the ability for women to command the room.
Make Yourself Heard
You are well within your power to make yourself heard, even if someone doesn’t want you to be. Compared to male leaders, female leaders are often subject to irrelevant questions that may try to undermine their capabilities when in positions of power. BBC notes that even prominent female leaders in politics continue to face unnecessary hurdles compared to their male counterparts. Beyond that, women in the entertainment industry are also exposed to this very obvious gender bias.
Media training can help female leaders cut through the noise by shutting down irrelevant questions and redirecting the discussion back to the matter at hand. Conversations are easily derailed and it’s easier to get things back on track when you use techniques taught in media training.
Top Three Tips for Leading the Conversation:
Go in with a Strategy
Prepare for important interactions by asking yourself: what are you trying to accomplish? Who is in the room? What do they care about? How can you communicate your concepts in a way that will be best received? What are the pitfalls you’ll be asked about? Get your answers ready and make sure to always bring them back to the key points.
Keep It Simple
A big part of getting your points across is to make them as simple as possible. Your audience wants headlines - not the fine print. Make them as interesting as possible and have a couple of proof points to validate them. When you’re fighting for time on the floor, strong and succinct points resonate more in the little time you have. Repeat them throughout the meeting to reinforce your concepts and make them memorable.
Bridge, Block, and Deflect
Keep the conversation strategic by not letting it go off your topic. Don’t be distracted by questions intended to discredit your approach. Keep the narrative on track by answering key messages. A good answer is one that achieves your communications objective. You don’t actually have to answer a question, you can pivot to talk about your key points instead.
Make it Relatable
No one cares about statistics. They are much more influenced by human stories. If you have stats and information, rather than presenting straight numbers - bring those to life with a story about what those numbers represent. Charisma goes a long way in the battle to the top!
Bulletproof is a communications agency that provides media training services and effective communications strategies to help individuals and organizations achieve their objectives. The team consists of strategists, trainers, and journalists who understand the media, and the importance of public relations and communications to achieve desired goals.
Bulletproof media training is led by Tara McCarthy who has over 20 years of experience in building reputations. Tara is an expert in strategic communications, public relations, as well as media training. The Bulletproof team of veteran strategists and trainers can teach you or your corporate team effective communication strategies to strengthen your leadership skills.
Bulletproof is an agency specializing in media training in English and French. Free consultations are available by filling out the contact form at www.bebulletproof.co.