Monday, May 29, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, May 26, 2017

7 famous poetic speeches by women

Spoken-word poetry is a challenging format for the public speaker. But when used well, poetry in your speech--whether the entire speech is a poem, or you recite just a few lines--adds color and connection to your public speaking.

These seven poetic speeches cover a range of topics and feelings, rhythms and rhymes; many of them use body language as another tool to convey the passion and poetry. They're all included in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, and at the links, you'll find text, audio, or video (where available), along with lessons you can use in your own public speaking:
  1. Tackle football player and poet Holly K. Peterson inspired her "fellow" female athletes with this spoken-word poem and its vivid imagery at a football summit.
  2. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner delivered her poem at the United Nations Climate Summit. From the Marshall Islands--a place in the path of climate-related sea rise--her poem was both a promise to her daughter and a warning to world leaders.
  3. Dominique Christina tackled menstruation in "The Period Poem," breaking a taboo and connecting with her audience all at the same time.
  4. Lily Myers's "Shrinking Women" shared a personal and uncomfortable observation that embodies the very choices that eloquent women face whenever they decide to speak up.
  5. Ashley Judd performed "Nasty Woman," a poem by Nina Davenport, in front of close to 1 million people at the Women's March on Washington earlier this year. The post includes both Judd's recitation, and that of the author.
  6. Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman," the most famous of this group, is a sassy, confident, loving ode to womanhood, and often used in public speaking competitions since its publication. You'll feel better just reciting this one out loud.
  7. Sarah Kay's "Tshotsholoza" creates a story from a picture, and puts you right in the middle of the action, in the great way that talented storytellers do. A mesmerizing spoken-word poem.
Join me in Edinburgh, Scotland, on October 20 for a new workshop, Add Meaning with Metaphor: Improve your Speeches with the Most Powerful Figure of Speech. It's a pre-conference workshop at the Edinburgh Speechwriters and Business Communicators Conference, designed to help both speakers and speechwriters use this powerful tool. You can register here for just the workshop, the conference, or both, and you'll get the best discount if you sign up by August 1.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Why did you say yes to this speaking gig? Why the coach needs to know

I had just one hour by phone to coach this speaker, an academic professor, for a five-minute pitch to be delivered in a public competition for extra grant funding. We could have started anywhere: With my notes on her slides, questions about delivery and timing, the actual content.

Instead, she spent 15 minutes telling me why the coaching and this speaking task were far, far beneath her. Her department chair had ridiculed the competition and forbidden its name to be spoken or written in emails. Her colleagues pitied her. She had no idea who the audience was, nor why they would care. She herself didn't see why she was wasting her time on it. After 15 minutes of that, I wondered that for myself. So I asked what I always ask:

"Why'd you say yes?"

I've used that question over and over with speakers, backstage at TEDMED, on the phone for coaching calls, in person when we're alone for a training session. It's a question I use most often for the speaker who objects to being the speaker. And I don't accept pat answers like, "Well, it's an honor to be asked" or "My boss told me I had to." I really want to get at the speaker's own motivation for having taken on this apparently abhorrent-to-them task. After all, public speaking is a choice you make, even in work situations where you are required to speak. You chose the job that came with public speaking tasks. More often, though, this comes up with speakers for whom the talk actually is optional.

With a nice, nervous speaker, the answer becomes a helpful prompt to bring them back to the reason they are going through with it: To get investors, build a reputation, share a story, finally have the chance to get on stage. But with a speaker who's a bad cocktail of nerves and narcissism, I sometimes don't get a chance to get that question in. The worst example was a top executive who used 2 hours and 45 minutes of our 3-hour half-day session to explain to me why he did not now need, had never needed, and would never need speaker coaching. Sometimes, like the professor, it's 15 minutes out of an hour. And, while I hate to point this out, I get paid either way. Your choice to spend that money in complaint is your choice.

With the professor, at the 15-minute mark, I asked my motivation question, which silenced her--she didn't have a ready answer. So I jumped in and pointed out that she'd just spent one-quarter of our time telling me that she didn't want to do this, and did she want to spend any of the remaining time finding out what she could do to make the presentation a winning one? To her credit, she stopped whining and got focused, but who knows how much further we might have gone in the wasted 15 minutes?

These examples are why I spend considerable time vetting clients in advance of signing a contract to coach them for speaking. If the client is hiring me to coach others, I urge them to screen participants so that the group is willing to be coached, rather than showing up for reasons that have nothing to do with wanting to be there. That makes all the difference in the world to the success of a coaching project in public speaking.

You may not be hiring a coach anytime soon, but you can borrow my question and ask it of yourself in those moments when you doubt your ability to get up and speak, or your practice is going badly, or you're just not sure whether this is worth the trouble. Ask yourself why you said yes to this, and be honest. Sometimes, the answer will be, "You don't have to like it, you just have to do it." But other times, you'll find a deeper motivation that's meaningful to you. Often, keeping that motivation in mind will carry you through even the most difficult of speaking tasks. And next time, say yes with that firmly in mind.

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Famous Speech Friday: Patty Duke's 1970 Emmy Awards Acceptance Speech

When Patty Duke won an Oscar in 1962 for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, the 16-year old gave one of the shortest acceptance speeches ever: "Thank you." Seven years later, she won an Emmy for her work in the television movie My Sweet Charlie. Her acceptance speech for that award was also memorable--for all the wrong reasons. 

Watch the video--only a few minutes long--and you'll see why the audience and presenters were taken aback. The speech is really just one long pause, punctuated by some spacey half-sentences, as she surveys the theater with wary eyes as if she is afraid of someone pulling her offstage. It's uncomfortable and embarrassing to watch. News stories speculated that she was drunk or on drugs when she took the stage that night.

"The truth of the matter is that my condition had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol," Duke said in an interview 20 years later. "I was having a serious emotional breakdown. Unlike most people in trouble who fall apart in the privacy of their bedrooms, I fell apart on network television."

Duke had been ill for years at that point, but her disease went unnamed. She recalled weeks where she couldn't stop crying and never left her bed, followed by weeks where she went on outrageous spending sprees and acted like "queen of the world." She had not slept for three weeks before the Emmy broadcast. Finally, in 1982 she saw a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with bipolar disorder (then called manic depression) and began the lithium treatments that probably saved her life.

The 1970 Emmy speech was a disaster, so why feature it here? There's not much in the speech itself for a speaker to learn from or emulate, that's for sure. But it does remind us of a few things:
  • A famous speech isn't always a good speech. We've featured speeches in this space that aren't well-written or delivered, or positively received. But like those speeches, Duke's few words certainly meet our standards for a speech that garnered a wide audience and made a strong public impact.
  • A bad speech isn't the end of the world. Duke said that the 1970 Emmys were the first time that the public might have noticed "a chink in the armor," and she was frightened that she would lose work as a result of the bizarre performance. But she continued to act, receiving two more Emmy awards and two Golden Globe awards later in her career. After she was finally treated for her disease, she went on to become a vocal advocate for mental health and was even elected president of the Screen Actors Guild.
  • Some speeches serve as the opening salvo of a longer conversation. I think it's possible to view Duke's halting, stumbling, painful words at the Emmys as the first lines of a much longer speech she gave for the rest of her life, after her diagnosis. She was one of the first celebrities to go public with her own struggles with mental illness. She was candid in discussing how the disease made her behave, how she attempted to cope with it, and what the fallout had been for her personal and professional life. In the second half of her career, she spoke out often about efforts to diagnose mental illness and to remove the stigma from mental illness so that people would seek treatment. She spoke on behalf of the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, discussed bipolar disorder in countless interviews and even testified before Congress on the topic. Her Emmy acceptance might have been a disastrous start, but it led to a lifetime of speaking that has made a difference in the lives of many.
Duke died in 2016 at age 69. Watch the short video of this famous speech here or below:

Patty Duke Wins Oustanding Single Performance Emmy for MY SWEET CHARLIE | Emmys Archive (1970)

(Freelance writer Becky Ham contributed this Famous Speech Friday.)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Instead of shutting down controversial women speakers

In doing research for this blog, I've been reading Deborah Kops's fine book, Alice Paul and the Fight for Women's Rights: From the Vote to the Equal Rights Amendment. The book relates that, around 1908, Paul went to Birmingham, England, to study. She decided to see suffragist Christabel Pankhurst give a speech at the university. Here's how Kops describes the scene:
...as soon as Christabel Pankhurst began her speech that day, unsympathetic students shouted, blew horns, sang, and generally made so much noise that no one could hear a word she was saying....When the head of the university learned, to his horror, what had happened, he invited Pankhurst back and made sure the audience stayed in line.
That had a real impact on Paul, who went on to help American women win the vote. And so many decades later, it impressed me with the thought, "What if that had been done for Ann Coulter at Berkeley?", thinking of the recent silencing of the conservative speaker, who withdrew from speaking at the University of California at Berkeley under threat of violent protests. I also thought of U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who recently gave the commencement speech at a historically black university, facing a crowd of students, many of whom jeered or turned their backs to her. And of Linda Sarsour, the Women's March co-founder, who faces a campaign from the conservative right that's trying to unseat her as the City College of New York commencement speaker before she ever takes the stage.

You don't have to agree with these women or their views to understand that these are ways of silencing women speakers. And silencing women speakers seems to be a theme of 2017, whether it's shutting Senator Elizabeth Warren down on the floor of the Senate or Michael Moore chewing up women speakers' time at the Women's March on Washington. It's nothing new, but it's a persistent tactic.

A couple of readers demanded tips for what to do when facing down an angry crowd. But I don't think this calls for tips, nor for things women speakers must fix about themselves. This is a problem of our society. You certainly may not agree with what I have to say, but you also are free to ignore it, as opposed to trying to change me, or the writing, or my ability to publish. Public speaking, too, is a series of choices. The speaker chooses what she wants to say, and you choose whether to listen. But that doesn't mean you also must silence her, and it doesn't mean she needs to fix anything about herself or her speech. Let's let her speak. Speakers aren't forcing their views upon you, just airing them. You can choose whether to listen or leave.

Today, most of us look back at Pankhurst and Paul and think of their speeches as heroic efforts to gain equality for women. That equality surely demands that we give women of many viewpoints their platforms and let them have their say. I am sure that those who fought for suffrage--a movement that felt that a vote is part of your voice--did not fight for it only on behalf of women with whom they agreed.

I find instructive the early 20th century solution that Alice Paul saw in action. Motivated to hear Pankhurst, she went to both speeches: The one she could not hear, and the one she could. When we silence speakers, we're also silencing the audience members who want to hear them. As for Pankhurst, so important was it to get her message out, she gave the same speech twice. She knew to expect resistance, and spoke, anyway.

You need not agree, and your results may vary. But if we want women speakers--including ourselves--to have platforms, consistently and with equality, we need to let them speak.

For more on the current struggle to let controversial speakers speak, read my post on the Moderating Panels blog, When the moderator meets the mob: @AKStanger speaks out. It's by a woman moderator who attempted to help a conservative male speaker continue his presentation on a campus, and got herself injured in the process. Despite that, she writes movingly of the need to avoid silencing the speakers we don't agree with.

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, May 12, 2017

15 famous commencement speeches by women speakers

(Editor's note: It's commencement time again, so we've updated this 2013 post since it first appeared with new additions to The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women. If you're a woman commencement speaker, or the speechwriter for one, here's your inspiration.)

Cue the Pomp and Circumstance, it's that time of year again. Commencement is the start of something new, yes, but we're often stuck listening to the same old tired speeches in celebration. Can you remember your commencement speakers, or any memorable speakers at the graduations you've attended?

Admittedly, the commencement speech is a tough gig. Speakers want to be inspiring, and to avoid  cliches. They want to be broadly appealing to a diverse-age audience, but not so broadly appealing that every line they deliver has lost its bite. And they want to be memorable, but they're speaking at an event that rarely changes from year to year.

With all that in mind, we've compiled a list of commencement speakers from The Eloquent Woman Index who managed to meet these challenges, in ways that pleased the people who heard them live and that echoed long after the graduates shuffled off the stage.

1. Carol Bartz's 2012 commencement speech at the University of Wisconsin, Madison was full of plain speaking from the ex-CEO of Yahoo!, including jokes to bridge the gap between parents and students. She also decided to talk about the importance of failure--an unusual and memorable topic at an event held to celebrate success.

2. Viola Davis' 2012 speech at Providence College was full of the deep emotion and dramatic flair that you might expect from the Tony Award-winning actress. But a speech that included a scene from The Exorcist as a way to encourage graduates to find their authentic selves? Maybe not so expected.

3. Also in 2012, teacher and author Margaret Edson spoke beautifully at Smith College. Her speech, along with several other commencement speeches in the Index, used gentle humor to take the pomp out of the day's events. She also spoke without notes, allowing her to look out at her audience and establish a strong and instant rapport with them.

4. Nora Ephron's 1996 commencement address at Wellesley College is a terrific example of how humor and deft language can give new life to a standard speech. The journalist and screenwriter spoke directly about the year's top stories, from O.J. Simpson to Hillary Clinton. That's somewhat daring in a commencement speech, to be so topical when the occasion itself is so timeless. But I bet the graduates appreciated hearing where they fit into a moment in time.

5. and 6. Ursula K. Le Guin's commencement speeches at Mills College in 1983 and at Bryn Mawr in 1986 are some of the most poetic calls to action for women that you'll ever hear. The Bryn Mawr speech, in particular, has been considered among the 10 most memorable commencement speeches.

7. Before "lean in" became a buzzword and a best-selling book, Sheryl Sandberg was exploring the idea in a 2011 commencement speech at Barnard CollegeThe Facebook COO was especially good at reaching out to today's mixed audience of graduates, speaking not just to the obstacles facing women in their 20s, but also those facing women earning their mid-life degrees.

8. When Maria Shriver spoke at the 2012 University of California Annenberg School graduation, she urged students to consider "the power of the pause." Like Carol Bartz, she chose a topic that was memorable because it strayed away from the usual gung-ho, march-to-the-future rhetoric that graduates are accustomed to hearing.

9. Public speaking, including an earlier commencement speech, created lots of trouble for Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who shared her experiences at Harvard's commencement. She stirred all that trouble into inspiring lines like, "If you dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough."

10. Also from Liberia, Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee told Barnard graduates in 2013 that, before they could lean in, they needed to "step out of the shadows" instead of following the self-effacing, supporting role so many women adopt.

11. Arianna Huffington's "Thrive" speech, given in 2013 at Smith College, shared the story of how sleep deprivation caused her to have a serious accident. It's a moment that has shaped her latest business venture.

12. Former New York Times editor Jill Abramson's "to anyone who's been dumped" commencement speech in 2014 drew on her experience--right before the speech--of getting fired from a high-profile post.

13. IBM chair, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty's 2015 Northwestern University commencement speech was what every commencement speaker should aim for: structured, relevant, and able to move calmly past a verbal flub.

14. First Lady Michelle Obama's 2016 commencement address at Tuskegee University looked at racism in history and today, from a personal perspective--and was slammed by accusations of "reverse racism."

15. Hillary Clinton's 1969 commencement speech was delivered as a rare student speaker. She used the opportunity to criticize the distinguished guest speaker, and then to rally her fellow graduates in a speech that made national waves, even then.

(Freelance writer Becky Ham contributed this post.)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Should women speakers include--or avoid--topics about women?

The radio producer had found this blog and wanted to use it as a muse for a program on women and public speaking. Great news! Could I suggest some famous speeches by women to feature on the program? Why, I have nearly 250 of them in The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women. All good, right?

There was just one hitch: Could I please avoid suggesting speeches by women that dealt with women's issues, because, well, that's so tiresome. Overdone. Not "real issues."

So, um, what?

I was truly blindsided by the request, but probably should not have been surprised. After all, I've heard this from clients, as I reported in How are you referred to in speeches--your own, and those of others? and Do all your references to women in speeches refer to us as mothers, wives, and daughters? I hope it's clear that I believe in a woman's right to choose how she is described, particularly in her own speeches, and that gratuitous references to womanhood, just because the speaker is a woman, should be avoided.

But that's a far cry from eliminating all reference to women's issues in speeches made by women. In the weeks leading up to and following the Women's March on Washington this year, I heard many people--men and women--say, "but what is the march for?" or "about?" Senator Kamala Harris, speaking at the march, addressed that head-on:
We know that it is right in this nation to prioritize women’s issues. Now, here’s what I’m talking about in terms of women’s issues. 
So, when I was first elected District Attorney in San Francisco or Attorney General of California or  United States Senator from the state of California, in each of those positions, I was elected as the first woman or the first woman of color. And folks would come up to me and they’d say, "Kamala talk to us about women’s issues," and I’d look at them and I’d say, I’m so glad you want to talk about the economy. I’d say great. Let’s talk about the economy, because that’s a woman’s issue.  I’d say you wanna talk about women’s issues, let’s talk about national security. You want to talk about women’s issues? That’s fantastic. Let’s talk about healthcare. Let’s talk about education. Let’s talk about criminal justice reform. Let’s talk about climate change, ‘cause we all know the truth.

If you are a woman, trying to raise a family, you know that a good paying job is a woman’s issue. If you’re a woman who is an immigrant, who does not want her family torn apart, you know that immigration reform is a woman’s issue. If you are a woman working off student loans, you know the crushing burden of student debt is a woman’s issue. If you are a black mother trying to raise a son, you know Black Lives Matter is a woman’s issue. And if you are a woman, period, you know we deserve a country with equal pay and access to healthcare including a safe and legal abortion protected as a fundamental and constitutional right. 
So all of this to say, my sisters and brothers, that we are tired as women of being relegated to simply being thought of as a particular constituency or demographic. We together are powerful and we are a force that cannot be dismissed or written off onto the sidelines. 
And that means that asking anyone to avoid women's issues means women's speeches would be relegated to, well, zero content, wouldn't it?

Later on, I came across Sallie Krawchek's article, It's 2017. Why are we still telling women to act like men at work? In it, she says:  "I’ve worked at companies at which I felt like I couldn’t be myself, and I’ve worked at ones at which I could; and boy what a difference it made." I realized that one way to look at the idea that women's speeches shouldn't talk about women's issues is this: It's just another patriarchal way of silencing women. Yes, women can have absorbed such patriarchal ideas and pass them on to other women as received wisdom, as this woman producer did with me. We tell most speakers to be authentic and speak from personal experience, at least in part; that their individual perspective is what "makes the talk." But if women can't talk about a women's issue, what then? The request in effect robs them of the chance to be what we consider today to be a good speaker.

I come down on the side of giving women the option, for sure. Women speakers have so often been silenced in our world history that they deserve the right of self-determination for the topics of their speeches. And more than that, there is every reason for women to speak about women's issues. Women's issues are so often passed over that they, like the women speakers themselves, deserve a hearing...if that's what the woman speaker in question wishes to do. In any case, I will continue to highlight women's speeches about women's issues right here on the blog. Take a look at Senator Kamala Harris's talk in the video below:

Kamala Harris

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Quinn Dombrowski)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Famous Speech Friday: Hawaii Rep. Fukumoto at the Women's March

We've seen some prominent silencing of women speakers lately, and women legislators in particular. But here's a recent example of one state legislator who took a silencing move--her removal as minority leader in the Hawaii house of representatives--and turned it into a speech that let her have the last word.

That's what happened to Hawaii State Rep. Beth Fukumoto Chang, a Republican who first expressed her disagreement with the policies of Donald Trump at her state's Republican party convention, getting boos and catcalls in that forum. Republicans, who hold just a handful of seats in the Hawaii legislature, soon voted her out of her role as their minority leader. She had been the youngest person to serve in that role in the state and the United States as a whole. Fukumoto Chang, 33 years old, had been celebrated at one time as the face of the "new right:" female, Asian-American, and young. But now, she was persona non grata for speaking her mind.

As Daily Kos reported, it was actually a case of Fukumoto Chang being asked to stay silent about her views. Here's her reaction in the House: "They told me they would keep me in this position if I would commit to not disagreeing with our president for the remainder of his term. Mr. Speaker, I'm being removed because I refused to make that commitment, because I believe it's our job as Americans and as leaders in this body to criticize power when power is wrong."

And she didn't stop speaking out. On January 21, during Hawaii's Women's March, she gave this short but powerful speech:
Today I'd like to talk to you about my niece. She's eight years old, and she's campaigned with me since she was two. She's come with me to all sorts of events. And, last summer when I stood up at my party's convention she watched as a ballroom full of a men and women tossed insults and booed me because instead of pledging to support my party's nominee I said I thought his remarks were racist and sexist and that they had no place in the Republican Party. 
Now, to that room full of people, I was a traitor, or a fake, or one of the many derogatory words I was called on social media afterward. To my niece, I had told the truth. Because little kids know right and wrong. 
We teach them that they're supposed to be nice and kind to everyone even when they're different. So, she didn't understand why people would be so mean to her aunt who stood on stage and said Donald Trump shouldn't say the things he says. 
We had to explain to her later, that sometimes people are angry and they don't know how to express it so they treat other people badly. We explained that sometimes people are bullies, but that you should insist that they treat people with respect. We told her that you always stand up to bullies no matter who they are. 
Then she watched a bully win the presidency of the United States. 
It doesn't matter to me who you voted for. People cast their votes for a lot of different reasons. But, no matter who your choice was, the fact remains the same. A man won the White House with anger and hate, and our kids watched it happen. Now, it's our jobs to make sure they watch us fight back. 
So what I'm going to ask you to do today is get involved. Testify at the Legislature, run for office, help on a campaign, but do it with kindness. Show our kids that everyone's voice matters, even when they believe the opposite thing you do. Teach them that everyone deserves respect. In the end, LOVE will always win!
In addition to being removed from her leadership post in the Republican party, she formally left the party after surveying her constituents. She has received enormous positive reaction to her speech from around the United States. What can you learn from this famous speech?
  • Don't give up your right to speak your mind: Free speech is guaranteed to all U.S. citizens, but in many jobs, you're asked not to speak out about certain issues. You've got to decide for yourself when that becomes too much of a burden to bear, of course. But be wary of offers like this one: "You can keep the leadership slot if you don't disagree publicly." Don't let yourself be silenced in advance.
  • Do take your views public: The state's women's march was the perfect forum for Fukumoto Chang, who also announced she wanted to hear from her constituents about her thoughts on leaving the party, since they'd elected her as a Republican. A public forum made her views clear to a wider audience, and established a record of her own making. There's great agency in taking the microphone to speak. No wonder they wanted to silence her.
  • Make it about something bigger than yourself: It's not just that she disagreed with the candidate, and then President. That's why her speech signaled what any citizen could do in the call to action, which included this ringing sentence, "Show our kids that everyone's voice matters, even when they believe the opposite thing you do." That line makes her just one example of a larger, more pervasive problem--and made it understandable and real to a wider audience.
Watch this short and principled speech in the video below:


Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Samantha Bee on presenting in a comfortable outfit

If you've ever found yourself on stage for a speaking gig, teetering in your uncomfortable high heels and an outfit you wouldn't normally wear, you'll find refreshing the advice of America's female late-night comedy host Samantha Bee.

In this interview on NPR's Fresh Air with Samantha Bee and her show runner, Jo Miller, host Terry Gross asked her about her signature look for her show outfits:
GROSS: The men on the late night shows wear suits so, you know, the suits might vary, but, you know, in some ways, a suit is a suit, whereas you've developed like a look that you have on the show. How did you develop that look? 
BEE: Well, it's very similar to - it's actually a funny story. It's very similar to the uniform that I wear in daily life. I wear blazers in my life. I have - I just - I love them. I feel very protected in a blazer (laughter). It's like it's my uniform. And when we were in the early days of doing test shows, I had it in my head that I had to wear a dress and high heels. I really did. I thought, OK, when you're a woman, and you're on television, you have to wear a dress, and you have to wear high heels. 
And then we did another test show, and I was wearing high heels. And the heels were so (laughter) - they were such stilettos that the heels were poking through the (laughter) - they were poking through the floor of the set, and it was terrible. 
And we were like, what is she going to do about the high heels? Can you wear a block heel? And I was like, no. They have to be stilettos. 
And then (laughter) - and, actually, a couple of executives from TBS were there. And they pulled me aside after, and they were like, you were so comfortable - seemed to be having so much fun in rehearsal when you were wearing sneakers and a blazer, and then you put on your outfit for the show, and you seem like you're having a terrible time. And they were right. I was having a terrible time because I was so physically uncomfortable. And they were like, why don't you just do the show in the clothes that you want to wear? And I was like, you can do that? I think I will. Thank you. So it was actually a really great - it was a really excellent network... 
MILLER: That was a good network note. 
BEE: Yeah, it really was.
So how about it women speakers? Can you do your next speech in the clothes you want to wear?

(Full Frontal with Samantha Bee photo)

Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Eloquent Woman's weekly speaker toolkit

Savvy speakers keep up with my wide-ranging reading list on women and public speaking by following The Eloquent Woman on Facebook, where these links and articles appear first. I always collect them here for you on Mondays as well. It's a great way to expand your public speaking knowledge:
Get involved in more conversations on public speaking with The Eloquent Woman. Follow our Facebook page, read great quotes from eloquent woman on Pinterest, follow me as @dontgetcaught on Twitter or track when others tweet about the lack of women speakers on programs via @NoWomenSpeakers. Learn how to be a better panel moderator with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels.