Communication consultant Dr. Lois Phillips says that when women speak out for something or someone besides themselves, their mission empowers them to confront their fear and reach beyond their comfort zone to create change. She gives examples of one woman addressing a city council over a pothole problem and another who saw the need for a stop sign. From these initial efforts to change safety issues in their community, both women went on to strong political careers.
While Lois has made her mark in communications as founding director and faculty member of Antioch University, Santa Barbara, and co-author of the book, Women Seen and Heard: Lessons Learned from Successful Speakers, she also serves as a community leader by founding and serving on numerous boards and committees in the Santa Barbara, California area.
From Daughter, Sister and Wife to Successful Entrepreneur
In this interview, Dr. Nancy points out that women need to get better at asking for help and negotiating. Dr. Lois agrees and says that women do a much better job of asking when it is for someone else. Their family roles give them the skills to do so. Since every woman is someone’s daughter and sister, they are brought up to negotiate within the family.
She has encountered women who had wonderful ideas for new businesses, but couldn’t capitalize them well enough. The solution became evident when they realized that if they got the funding, they could not only make the product available, but they could also hire employees, which would improve their lives and the economics of the community. This rationale supports women’s natural traits of caretaking and empowers even shy women to speak out and be heard.
Empowering Trait of Resilience
As a co-author of Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business and Life, Dr. Lois noted how different geographic areas and their economic impacts created many differences, but how similar they are in many ways. The most significant characteristic she thinks women need to develop is resilience to life’s unexpected events. Women need to help each other rebound from forces that destabilize us during life.
In her chapter, “The Power of the Podium: Challenges and Opportunities to Be Seen and Heard,” in Leading Women, Dr. Lois highlights other similarities among women communicators and how to overcome the obstacles to being an agent of change.
Check out Dr. Lois’s blog and more of her insights into gender communication in today’s politically charged world.