Do you struggle to make your voice heard at work? Stylist contributor Katharine Busby rounds up five brilliant videos from inspiring women to help you stand up, believe in yourself and be heard:
Being the main focus in a room, working a crowd, getting the attention you require in order to achieve your goals – these things come naturally to some people. They waltz into work, are effortlessly relaxed, and don’t worry about what others think of them. Nor do they appear to worry about other people’s lives; they’re not rude or uninterested but they don’t let others’ successes affect their own.
Is that you? No? Ah-ha.
Being quieter, more introverted and less assertive can mean you fear being overlooked in the workplace or other situations. A number of factors can affect your confidence to speak up - your gender, your perception of your own abilities, your perception of other people’s lives and positions, or your life situation (such as being the only single person in your team or coming back after maternity leave). Perhaps, while you’re keen to make a difference and progress in your chosen field, you don’t want to be a ‘loudmouth’ or a ‘crowd-pleaser’.
So how can you make being you work for you? These five online videos each lend a different helping hand. Some are funny, others more serious but they will all inspire and help you find your voice, even if it isn’t the LOUDEST in the room.
Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
The message: EVERYONE feels a little bit like you do.
Amy Cuddy, an American social psychologist, is an impressive speaker. The minute her 2012 Ted Talk begins you feel at ease and like she knows exactly what she’s doing – could this be down to the non-verbal behaviour she talks extensively about during her presentation? You see, Cuddy’s expertise lies in the language of the human body.
If you’re thinking, ‘Oh, but I get nervous enough in interviews/ presentations without having to also be concentrating on how I’m moving my arms!’ this talk is for you.
Cuddy’s body-language suggestions – which have a strong scientific basis and are particularly relevant to women - are as much about preparation as they are about in-the-moment actions.
I won’t give anything away, but make sure you watch to the end – Cuddy’s final anecdote is a cracker.
Marie Forleo - Jealous Of People Who ‘have it all’? This May Help
The message: Social media lives are not real lives.
If you can get past the somewhat cheesy opening titles, Marie Forleo has advice that’s given in a friendly, here-we-all-are-in-my-living-room style but that still holds valid points.
At just six minutes, it’s short and sweet but the life coach, motivational speaker and author, while not having the formal platform of the Ted talkers, covers a point that holds back many people – their perception of others.
When you’re feeling jealous of what you believe to be other people’s lives, your confidence in your own is always limited. Forleo addresses this problem and gives simple and direct suggestions for moving on and moving up.
Sheryl Sandberg – Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
The message: Never underestimate your own abilities.
Lean In has become a cultural phenomenon and Sandberg, the chief operating officer at Facebook, is the force behind it.
Watching this Ted Talk, filmed three years before the publication of her bestselling book, it’s easy to understand why Sandberg’s ideas have been embraced by women - and men - the world over.
Charismatic and clever, she discusses the complications and difficulties women face trying to be all things to all people, and the added troubles associated with attempting to strike a balance. Sandberg’s own life may seem worlds apart from your own (I can barely call myself chief operating officer of my own laptop), but her everyday hardships are actually very familiar.
This is the video for you if you feel like not being able to give any one thing your all is stopping you from giving anything much at all; Sandberg is guaranteed to inspire.
Vanessa Kisuule - Take Up Space
The Message: Be the brightest shade of you.
Finding the Americans a little too self-help-y? Despite being massively successful and inspiring, sometimes Ted talkers can feel just a few too many steps removed from life here in Blighty.
Step forward, Vanessa Kisuule, performance poet and Bristol University student. Kisuule has performed at a number of festivals and won numerous poetry slams, and this video will have you believing you can do absolutely anything (because, heck, you can). Just the beat of the music will make you feel less like being the second thought in the room.
The main messages – liberate yourself, don’t be afraid – are ones you may have heard before, but performed on the streets of London and delivered in Kisuule’s unique and impressive kick-ass style, they will resonate in a host of new ways.
Dammit, why shouldn’t you take up space?
Susan Cain - The Power Of Introverts
The Message: We can’t all be like Apprentice candidates (thank God).
Just because you’re not the loudest, boldest person in the room, doesn’t mean you can’t succeed, lead or achieve your goals. That’s the message from Susan Cain, a Harvard law graduate, writer and lecturer.
Cain’s funny and brilliant Ted Talk covers her own experience of being an introvert (not shy) and moves on to how modern society treats introverts today. As Cain explains, there is a lot of pressure on 2015’s introverts to be, well, extroverts. But being one or the other isn’t necessarily a choice and what Cain is interested in exploring is how to continue being the former while keeping up with those perceived to be the latter. After all, the world would be a pretty tedious place if ALL creatives and leaders were extroverts.
Punchy and poignant, this video is one to keep coming back to.