Find Your Voice and Expand Your Influence

If you’ve ever hesitated to share your expertise, struggled with being interrupted, found yourself downplaying your opinions or only seen your ideas get legs when advocated by someone else, you know those challenges can hamper professional advancement. Learning how to find your voice and raise it is a critical success skill for women at all career stages.
You can gain practical insights from expert communicators and learn how to make yourself heard during the 2022 WFF Leadership Development Workshops (LDW) Empowered: Finding Your Voice. The LDWs will be held in five cities around the country this fall, in addition to a live virtual option for women to attend from anywhere. The LDWs are one-day events that bring emerging leaders from across the country and around the world together to learn from experts and connect, network and grow with other women building their careers in the Food Industry. The 2022 Workshop dates are:
Minneapolis                October 13
Atlanta                        October 18
Orange County            October 26
Dallas                          November 2
Live Virtual                  November 2
Orlando                       November 10
As an added bonus, when you attend a Leadership Development Workshop, you also gain access to all of the Leader Exchange sessions on demand. You will receive candid insights from 15 female executives working in the Food Industry on critical topics such as how to develop a growth mindset and the power of gratitude.
What stands in the way
You already know many of the euphemisms like “mansplaining” where men talk down to women and explain the obvious or “hepeat” where a man takes credit for an idea that was ignored when raised by a woman. But these “cute” terms mask real issues. Research shows men interrupt women far more often than they do other men, and women even interrupt one another more than they interrupt men.
From early messages women receive to be “pleasant” or not to say anything if you can’t say something nice, the urge to stifle your own opinions and expertise can weigh heavy. Women can even be penalized for speaking up with their behavior sometimes interpreted as aggressive rather than simply a clear indication of expertise. But not speaking up robs your colleagues and teams of your talent, perspective, expertise and advocacy. It can also slow your career progress.
Master new skills
At WFF’s Leadership Development Workshop, you will learn from communication experts how to best raise your voice and your profile. Persuasive communication expert and best-selling author of Get More Yes, You’re Kind of a Big Deal and Digital Persuasion, Erin King, will bring her high-energy style to each LDW to help you overcome limiting beliefs, elevate your delivery style and optimize your physical and digital body language to “type, text and talk more powerfully.”
Tara Renze will share her empowering message of how to use emotional intelligence to become the best version of yourself and “be who you came to be.” A successful entrepreneur, author, podcaster, wife and mother, Renze also has two decades of successful leadership in corporate America. She helps people unleash the power of their own authenticity, eliminate comparison, lean into fear and create a more fulfilling life.
Speak up and out
Some foundational ideas to ponder as you prepare for participation in an LDW include:
  • Believe in your self-worth. It’s difficult for others to respect you and your ideas if you don’t first respect yourself and believe your ideas have merit.
  • Focus on earning respect at work, not being liked. Although women face some tricky double binds related to competence and likeability, focus first on being respected and increasing your contribution in the workplace.
  • Use more assertive language. State ideas clearly and succinctly and avoid starting sentences with weak phrases such as, “Maybe this could work . . .” or “I just wanted to say,” or “What would you think about . . .”.
  • Amplify other women. Senior women in the Obama administration formalized the technique of amplification to highlight important points made by their female colleagues when they were overlooked by male peers. They repeated ideas shared by other women (giving them credit) to bring attention back to an important contribution that otherwise may have been missed.
  • Speak louder. Sometimes amplifying your voice is literal. Women’s voices tend to be softer than men’s and sometimes you need to speak louder and more clearly.
REGISTER for the Leadership Development Workshop in your city or attend live virtually to learn critical strategies to build mental strength and resilience, and get your ideas heard.

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