The reality is this: we need more women in the boardroom.
According to a 2016 Workplace Gender Equality Study by the Australian government, while women comprise 46.2% of all employees in Australia, they hold only 14.2% of chair positions. It’s predicted that Australia will not hit its target to have 30% women on boards by 2018, meaning we might have to introduce a quota.
The AICD recently wrote to the chairs of 200 ASX companies that have no women or only one woman on their boards to find out why this is. Some responses were that women “talk too much”, “make the board meeting too long”, “aren’t reliable enough” and “we don’t have to [have women]”.
With such negative attitudes circulating and gender diversity lacking in senior management, it can be daunting for women to speak out with confidence and profile themselves. All too often, women feel that they need to create a false exterior or “act like a man” to establish equal footing with men in the boardroom.
Here are my top three tips for business women to leave a lasting impression in the boardroom:
1. Be yourself
Just because you’re in a minority, doesn’t mean you need to “act masculine” in order to establish a strong presence. Be yourself and your passion will shine through, engaging and inspiring other business women and men alike.
Although presenting to a boardroom can be daunting, you need to step up and differentiate yourself and your contributions. Many business women have a tendency to be modest – especially in a room full of men – but to successfully ‘sell’ your ideas and skills, you need to talk confidently about your achievements.
2. Don’t be afraid to speak out and have a voice
Speaking out in the boardroom is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone and wowing the crowd with your knowledge and expertise.
To do this, it’s crucial to articulate your point of view with confidence. However attractive an idea looks on paper, it’s the delivery of your pitch to the board that will truly ‘sell’ your idea. Articulate your ideas clearly, confidently and concisely.
3. Be prepared: know your material
To ensure that you feel confident in your ability to speak up and profile yourself, firstly know your material. Be prepared, understand your audience, and tailor your pitch accordingly.
A deep understanding and clear articulation of your key business outcomes and vision is vital. Tailor your presentation to the requirements and expectations of your audience, and you will ensure that the board understands who you are, what you’re trying to achieve, and how your unique vision can help to solve a problem. In this way, you will drive an emotional connection and deeper engagement with the boardroom.
Read the full article in The Business Woman Media.