Have you been to a Human Resources conference, lately?
Chances are you’ve heard from business leaders and executives who want to help you to overcome adversity, reach for your dreams, or follow your passion. These speakers offer amazing advice, share anecdotes from the workplace, and leave you feeling renewed & refreshed after a healthy dose of common sense advice.
Unfortunately, most of the keynoters are men. And this is our fault, ladies. As event planners across the country will tell you, there are never enough women to keynote a Human Resources conference — or any conference.
Listen, I know that speaking at a conference is complicated.
- Exhaustion is the status quo. Although you have something interesting to say, you are too exhausted after working a 9-5 job to come home and create a PowerPoint presentation full of new & clever ideas about Human Resources.
- It’s tough to ‘practice’ speaking. Improving your skills means volunteering to speak for free at local HR events, chamber of commerce meetings, and religious organization in order to improve your content, your message, and your delivery. Free doesn’t pay the bills.
- It’s all about who you know. Like anything in life, you need to network the heck out of your universe to speak at HR events. It feels unrealistic to visit conferences as a paid attendee, make connections with event planners, and volunteer to lead concurrent sessions (for free) in order to secure a more lucrative and visible speaking slot in the future.
Who has time for that kind of nonsense?
Well, plenty of men do it. Constantly. They take a day off work and leave their families behind. They travel to places like St. Cloud or Cuyahoga Falls and they rock a concurrent session on ’emerging trends in FMLA compliance’. They make mistakes. They learn from their flubs. And then they get on a plane and come home.
These men understand that the more they speak, the better they get. They have personal development plans. Speaking is an investment in the future. And while they travel quite a bit, it is no big deal. Their wives, partners, and children understand the sacrifice.
So the next time you hear a speaker at a conference and think that you could do a better job, go for it. Get on the conference’s website and find the event planner’s name. Meet her. (It’s most likely a woman who is dying for female speakers, by the way.) Then get to work on creating your slide deck, asking your colleagues for advice, and practicing your presentation to the local Rotary Club so you can solicit feedback on your delivery.
If you don’t submit a proposal, some other dude will.
It’s time for a change.