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Girl Talk is Affecting Your Professional Success

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Girl talk is not about gossip – it’s about sharing the female experience. It’s through girl talk that women, no matter where they are in life, empower one another, share vulnerabilities, and allow each other to feel safe, seen, and understood in society. And it’s scientifically healthy and healing for women; however, girl talk is also linguistically different from any other type of talk. You see, as women we are taught to talk differently. That difference shows up both personally and professionally.

As linguistic specialist and researcher Deborah Tannen writes in Harvard Business Review, women are socialized to give more turns when we talk. We focus on listening, we lean on asking questions, we tend to balance loving criticism with praise and we regularly exchange compliments, which are all beautiful traits… but we’re also taught to downplay our achievements. We apologize frequently, we make excuses for others’ mistakes to avoid creating disruption, we’re indirect, and instead of minimizing our doubts, we minimize our confidence. This has long term consequences.

The way we talk, interact, and ultimately make people feel day in and day out impacts how others view us. As Dr. Rebecca Weintraub and Steven Lewis share, this becomes your personal brand. No matter where you are in your career or what kind of buy-in you’re trying to create, your personal brand shows up – from the way you write emails to the way you deliver your presentation. Whether you’re leading a team and aiming to rise up in the workplace, or looking to own a stage and spread your message further, that entire reputation relies on the way you speak. After all, people are most likely to reward others who speak the way they do. Understanding the public speaking strategies linked to your goals can change everything. And how we speak doesn’t just affect the person in front of us. It also sends signals within us, signifying how we view ourselves and who we want to be.

And it’s not just the way we talk to others that matters – it’s the way we talk to ourselves. That inner dialogue shapes the story we’ve written about ourselves in our own minds, which informs the limitations we place on our abilities and agency to achieve. One of the biggest ways to determine if we’re talking to ourselves healthily is by asking: Is this how I would speak to my younger self? Is this how I would speak to a little girl in front of me? Is this how I would encourage my daughter to speak in this space or to speak to herself internally?

Working on your public speaking is not about trying to sound like someone else – it’s about refining your own voice and finding comfort in your authenticity so you show up the way you want, whether you’re going into a big meeting or speaking at your daughter’s school fundraiser.

Keep up with us on Instagram and LinkedIn this month to be a part of our Girl Talk campaign, full of psychological secrets and public speaking strategies to help you succeed, no matter the audience. Because the way you talk matters…join the conversation.

Our Spring Women’s Public Speaking Cohort is open for registration! Sign up or book a clarity call with us now to learn more.


Much Love,

Misty Megia
Hi, I'm Misty Megia!

I’m a Creative Director for high-achieving leaders who want to unmute themselves to give presentations that move people profoundly through my Corporate Speaking Program and my Theatre of Public Speaking Program.

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