Most conferences these days will have at least 50% women in the audience to hear a keynote speaker. As long as I’ve been a professional speaker I’ve been hearing that we need more women speakers. But the needle has barely budged. Oh yes, people do talk about it in threads and on social media. But to this day the majority of keynote speakers are still men. In the tech field and innovation, it’s even worse. So what are the reasons corporations and associations should hire women innovation speakers?
Reasons to hire women innovation speakers
As a woman inventor and innovation speaker, I’ve been in the trenches and learned the hard way. I started my business with $5.00 and a clay prototype. I invented the wrist water bottle after passing out from dehydration in the heat. Surely such a product existed! I looked everywhere for a water bottle that could be strapped onto the wrist. But I found that such a product didn’t exist. So I decided to invent one myself.
I didn’t have any money or knowledge about manufacturing. I just learned on my own how to manufacture and import products, how to get distributors, create packaging, and then learn how to market and do PR. As women, we are quite used to multitasking. And we’re good at it!
Women solve problems differently
Women bring a unique perspective to your event. They approach a topic with a fresh way of looking at something. I told a story when I was the keynote for the Procter and Gamble International Engineering Summit about getting a moose out of a swimming pool. A moose was trapped in a swimming pool. And the men tie a rope around the moose and try to pull him out. It doesn’t work. They get in the pool and they try to push the moose out. Force him out of the pool. It still doesn’t work. And a woman in the group said that the moose really wanted to get out of the pool but his hooves are slippery. Her suggestion was to put a non-slip rug under his hooves that would solve the problem. She was right. They put the rug under the moose’s hooves and the moose walked right out of the swimming pool.
Men and women solve problems differently. Women quite often solve problems because of an issue they have themselves. It’s good for your audience to hear both sides of an issue.
Studies from NYU, MSU, Notre Dame and Northwestern shows that scientific teams achieve higher performance when men and women work together. Mixed gender teams working on a problem tend to solve it faster. When there was an equal number of men and women on the team they got a higher level of novel and impactful ideas.
Women are great storytellers
The stories men and women innovation speakers tell at your conferences will be different. You need a combination of male and female energy on the stage. Women tend to have better visualization and express their thoughts more candidly. The role of women storytellers throughout history is a natural one. Your audience needs to also hear stories told by women innovation speakers.
Have a speaker women can relate to
The women in your audience need to have someone they can relate to. Always just having a male speaker doesn’t give them a chance to do that. Women have different stories and different experiences. Give your audience a chance to relate to a female speaker.
These are just some of the reasons you should hire women innovation speakers and give your audience a variety of content.