Reshaping the standard of diversity in the speaking industry is a process. Men often take center stage at major conferences and events. Meanwhile, decision makers in the public speaking arena might not even consider, women of color, especially Black women.

Danielle Tucker, founder of Speaker Website Made Easy, champions the message that Black women professionals are perfectly qualified for public speaking roles just the way they are at this moment.

“There is nothing that makes you less qualified than other women who’ve reached the heights of their speaking careers,” she said.

It’s time for more Black women’s voices to be heard in the public speaking arena. Black women’s voices are needed, necessary, and powerful! Here are barriers that have historically limited Black women from succeeding in this space and how to break through them. 

Lack of Connections

A lack of intentional connections is one of the greatest barriers to Black women succeeding in public speaking. Connections with the right people are critical as they lead to bigger speaking opportunities. 

Change is necessary to diversify public speaking. In recent years, more Black speakers have called out the discrepancies in representation within the industry and this “who-you-know” dynamic.

“In order to reshape the speaking industry, Black women professionals must own their genius and share their expertise,” she said. “It will also require white professionals to commit to actively seek out, recommend, and hire more Black women speakers.”

Misconceptions and Projections 

Historically, Black women have navigated narratives designed to keep them silent, small, and squeezed in a box. To break into the speaking industry, Black women must be bold and own their stories. Tucker explains that unapologetic expression is an extremely powerful tool to better engage with audiences.

“For Black women, speaking publicly and professionally is an act of rebellion in a society that has painted a picture of who we are,” Tucker said. 

Authenticity drives better engagement with audiences. From the way you dress to how you walk when you enter a stage to the stories you share, these are opportunities to showcase your true self. Audiences love hearing from speakers who are not afraid to share their truth. 

“Infusing your truth into your talks really draws people in,” she added.

Limiting Mindsets

Another challenge that limits Black women from public speaking is the belief that they don’t have enough experience to get into certain rooms. In reality, everyone has some level of experience with public speaking. Also, no one becomes a celebrity speaker overnight. 

To drive public speaking success, Tucker encouraged Black women to identifying the skills and experience in their arsenal. Position your expertise as the solution for your audience to achieve their desired result. 

“Commanding your area of expertise, not only builds strong speeches, but also builds your audiences’ trust in you,” she said. “Use your voice because your audience is waiting for you!”