Confidence is Key
Early on in my design career I was given the opportunity to speak at a networking event. To me, these ten minutes may as well have been ten hours. Ten minutes, exposed, baring my soul… So, I’m being dramatic but I was nervous. If I remember correctly there were about 30 people in the room, one - maybe two - women. As the event carried on, many people commented on how engaging and exciting my business sounded. Naturally, I was chuffed. Coming to the end of the meeting, one of the male attendees commented on the talk positively but ended it with “and you were nice to look at for ten minutes”. Straight away I was embarrassed, self-conscious and mortified, even. I didn’t know how to respond. I didn’t want to create an awkward situation in a public place that really did have very positive vibes. However, in my mind I had been undermined and disrespected. So what did I do? I thanked him… eeek.
It is one of those moments in life that you look back on and insert every other response you could have given. This man meant no harm, in fact, he honestly thought it was a big compliment. But that's the problem.A few nuggets from my experience
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Make them confidentially and learn from them quickly. They make you wise.
- If you are labelled ‘ditsy’ or ‘bossy’ don’t despair. Don’t be afraid to speak up. These are stereotypes, they’re not you as an individual.
- The biggest part of life is just showing up. If we’re not showing up, standing up and speaking up, how can we expect things to change?
- Use your female point of difference as an advantage. You’re more memorable because of it!