Chapter Twenty-TwoBe Fearless on Stage

Ionce observed the president of a remarkable startup grow visibly nervous when a crowd of about two hundred shareholders took their seats for her firm's annual general meeting. As she spoke, she stumbled over her words and apologized. She announced a new contract, and then backtracked and said, “Sorry, I mean a new partnership.” She noted the company had expanded to 2,400 employees…and then corrected herself: “I mean 2,400 employees worldwide.” What might have been a wonderful speech with much good news about her company became an angst-ridden address.

The challenge she faced—stage fright—is a common one and appears to be more frequent in women than in men. The majority of women I work with tell me they ...

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