An interview with Marilen Alison Schwald and Stefanie Fehr
Are you aiming to improve your self confidence in every situation? You want your body language, voice, and facial expressions to radiate confidence? If so, you've come to the right place!
A robust presence stands as a pivotal factor for triumph on your professional journey. It not only exudes self-confidence but also captures the attention of those around you. In an exclusive interview, Marilen Alison Schwald and Stefanie Fehr, the driving forces behind womenmatter/s, share valuable guidance and pragmatic strategies on enhancing presenting skills.
How did the idea for womenmatter/s come about?
Stef: The spark ignited during our university days in a diverse setting, where we believed that gender diversity had been largely resolved. However, stepping into the corporate world debunked that notion. Women remained underrepresented in certain sectors, and barriers persisted. This realization prompted us to take action collectively. Our focus was on women progressing towards middle management, an area often lacking diversity initiatives, unlike those catering to women already in C-level positions.
Mary: Networking events revealed intriguing insights, but they lacked a coherent direction. Existing women's networks often seemed outdated and counterproductive, fostering an unproductive divide. We resolved to steer clear of victimhood and instead present practical content grounded on solid theoretical foundations.
Why is strong presence particularly important for women to advance in their careers?
Mary: The business landscape remains shadowed by male stereotypes. Strong presentation skills enable women to defy these stereotypes and showcase their skills confidently. Furthermore, women sometimes exhibit restraint in meetings. A robust presence empowers women to be heard in meetings, discussions, and presentations. This enhanced visibility leads to greater recognition and success. Additionally, consider that male colleagues often dominate onstage presentations. By commanding the stage with your presence, you elevate your perception as a competent professional, fostering career growth and responsibility.
You both have completely different personalities – one introverted, the other extroverted. Do our presentation skills depend on how extroverted we are?
Stef: Not at all! Presence and career success transcend personality labels. Both extroverts and introverts possess unique strengths that can shine in diverse ways. Introverts excel in attentive listening and forging profound connections, while extroverts inspire through their enthusiasm and communication prowess.
Whether introverted like me or extroverted like Mary, authenticity matters. Take time to center yourself for authentic self-presentation.
A strong presence requires self-confidence – what method can we use for positive self-reinforcement?
Mary: Elevate self-confidence through regular positive reinforcement. Firmly believe in your abilities and remind yourself that you deserve to be heard and seen. Personally, I find self-encouragement immensely effective. Phrases like "You've got this, Mary!" hold transformative power. Such practices foster enduring self-confidence and readiness for challenges.
How can clothing contribute to strengthening our presence?
Stef: The key is to feel comfortable and authentic in your attire. Only when you feel confident and comfortable can you exude genuine presence. Mary favors vibrant clothing, while I gravitate towards darker or neutral tones. Additionally, selecting attire suitable for the occasion is paramount. Appropriate clothing signifies professionalism and accentuates your personality, fortifying your message and presence with confidence.
Mary: Accessories play a role too. Opt for those that complement rather than distract from your personality. Remember, less can often be more.
How can we use our body language confidently and professionally?
Stef: Elevating your confident presence is achievable through simple techniques:
- During meetings, place your hands on the table to command space and signal presence.
- Opt for an appropriate sitting posture, avoiding childlike positions.
- In presentations, use upper body gestures to captivate the audience.
- Maintain a firm handshake for confidence and professionalism.
- Make eye contact, avoiding staring, for balanced engagement.
How does communication play a role in our presence?
Mary: Effective communication is pivotal for a confident presence. Key aspects include:
- Speak deliberately and at an appropriate pace.
- Practice before presentations to enhance confidence and eliminate uncertainties.
- Speak audibly and clearly to convey your message effectively.
- Vary your vocal pitch and modulation for dynamism.
- Utilize strategic pauses to allow reflection and better message reception.
Where can women interested in this or other career topics get in touch?
If you also want to connect with other like-minded women, we hope to welcome you soon to the womenmatter/s Circle – an online membership for ambitious career women.
And of course, we'd be delighted to meet you personally at one of our event with ByAdushka.