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Daring Conversations: How to Communicate with Candor, Clarity, Compassion, and Ease

Alexia Vernon

October 10, 2018

"There is no shortage of theories about why there are not more women leading companies, boards, and local, state, and national governments. Explanations range from the persistence of the glass ceiling, inflexible work-life policies, male-dominated networks, and unconscious gender bias. As a result, solutions for correcting the lack of gender parity typically include remedying workplace policies and practices that privilege men and penalize women—or sponsoring women to attend women's leadership conferences, professional development training, and mentorship programs. And while all of these solutions have merit, what remains lacking is a complementary intervention that addresses a behavior most women struggle with—a behavior that leaders irrespective of gender need to possess. For the last decade, I've supported women to step into their moxie—what I define as possessing the mindset and skillset to be able to walk into any room, or onto any stage, and speak up for yourself and the ideas and issues that matter most to you (and to your company). I have led a range of women's leadership development programs—independently and on-site at organizations. And while my work has supported women to develop comfort and competency in a range of areas, including interpersonal communication, public speaking, persuasion, sales, facilitation, and coaching, the top area where I've seen junior women, emerging female leaders, and even senior women struggle has consistently been in navigating difficult conversations."

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