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Women discovering their voice through public speaking

To be an effective leader, it pays to be good at public speaking. It can instill confidence and poise as you communicate your message.

But what if you simply want to share your voice and ensure that it gets heard in the workplace? What if you are afraid to do so?

Getting past that fear can be one of life’s most daunting challenges. There’s something about public speaking that makes many people fear for their lives.

To overcome that fear, a new speaking club for women is focused on helping them discover their voice in a supportive, welcoming environment.

The very act of public speaking itself can be empowering, and it’s one of the reasons Meghan Godorov, a career coach and local entrepreneur, is launching The Speaker Sisterhood club for the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Why do people fear public speaking so much?

“You’re vulnerable,” said Godorov, who owns Meghan Godorov Consulting LLC in Orefield. “It’s a place to be very vulnerable. Half of being successful is being visible. It’s so key to your success.

“If you spend the time thinking through what you want to say and how you want to say it … you have more control and authority.”

For working women who do not typically do public speaking on the job, the club is designed to get them more comfortable with speaking up in meetings or in giving presentations.

Godorov said it’s a way for everyone to be effective at public speaking. People who don’t talk a lot can learn how to say what they want with confidence, and extroverts can have more focused speeches and be more conscientious of their audience.

By using public speaking as a tool for self-discovery, women can unlock potential they didn’t know they had and bring those skills to the workplace and professional development.

SPEAKING UP AT WORK

The 10-month program is open to a maximum of 15 women.

“I think this is a great program for women in the region,” said Betsy Storey-Bono, director of business development and marketing at Concannon Miller & Co. of Hanover Township, Northampton County. “It’s not just about public speaking but speaking up in the workforce. I think there’s a special niche for that for women.”

Storey-Bono said she was a mentor to Godorov. The two are members of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Concannon Miller offered free conference room space at its office for the club.

FIRST IN PENNSYLVANIA

Godorov got the idea after hearing Angela Lussier, CEO and founder of Speaker Sisterhood LLC, give a podcast on the program. Working with Lussier, Godorov became a licensee of the program, received training and can start additional clubs.

The Valley is the first in Pennsylvania. Lussier has 18 clubs, including 11 in Massachusetts.

The first club began in 2016, Lussier said.

“We realize this could be a global movement,” she said. “We think this would be useful for women in leadership positions. It gives her the confidence to speak up and negotiate for a raise and ask for a promotion.”

JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

Lussier noted the club also is good for any woman interested in self-discovery and for those unsure of their career paths.

She said each participant is in control of her experience. Fear is a natural part of the journey, and, rather than focusing on it, invite the fear and recognize it as part of the experience, Lussier said.

“It’s all about mindset,” she said. “If you look at it as an adventure, it helps relieve a lot of the pressure.”

It also helps to talk about things you are passionate about so you can translate that enthusiasm to the audience.

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