Why the Pretty Boys Win – and how to change it

· Blog


Why do we find it so difficult to be in the spotlight?

Recently I did a public speaking course with Slow School, an amazing experience. It’s not just about speaker training, it really is about communicating your purpose. As a natural introvert I struggle with the idea of public speaking, actually I’m mortified of just the idea. On the other hand, I feel very passionate about what I do.

Bucket List

So one of my big Bucket List items is to get over that self imposed limitation. I’ll never be great at doing an improvised speech, but I can surely learn to communicate what I do better!

Moonwalking out of the shot

It turns out, a lot of us feel this way. As a video producer I often encounter the same issues with our clients around being filmed, especially among women. Why is being filmed particularly difficult for them? I’ve had confident, competent people in leadership roles drop out of an interview 5 minutes before, and even if they do go ahead I can see a real internal struggle, even though we make a really big effort to make this easy.

Why the pretty boys win

I think this anxiety is the result of in built bias towards what we perceive as ‘natural leaders’; tall, handsome men. Businessman When we don’t feel we fit this profile, we feel or are made to feel we don’t really deserve the attention. To me this represents a huge missed opportunity for all of us.

We make it too hard

The reality is that it is harder for women to be in the spotlight. Just look at the attitudes female leaders get in the press, and have you ever read Youtube comments about women. It’s pretty feral.

It needs to change

We can’t make good decisions or communicate our purpose if we don’t involve everyone in our story, and more often than not that purpose is communicate by a ‘leadership type’. Watch me get on my soapbox about this at the TED X graduation night: https://vimeo.com/113572839


This course has really made it clear what my purpose is as an introverted, opinionated producer of video: I want to make sure we make it easier for everyone to tell their story. Because if we’re all involved in the conversation, we’ll get better leadership, more connection and ultimately a better, more inclusive workplace.

Tell your story

It’s not easy to step up but you owe it to yourself and those around you to give it a red hot go. I’d love to hear what you bring to the table!  

Written by robert · · Blog
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