If there’s one person who knows a thing or two when it comes to being a woman in a man’s world, it’s Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
During a meeting with Humans of New York photographer Brandon Stanton, Clinton talked about the constant pressure women face to come across as “warm and open, while also projecting that they are emotionally strong.”
“…. Most of your role models are going to be men. And what works for them won’t work for you. Women are seen through a different lens. It’s not bad. It’s just a fact,” Clinton said.
It’s a tricky balance – while you do want to show passion, you don’t want to show too much emotion. Too much emotion comes across as frazzled, panicked, unprofessional. Just enough passion adds more flavor to your message.
Here’s how to strike the right balance between the two, according to the experts at Fast Company:
- Content > Feeling
Speaking with passion means you’re breathing life into your message. You’re completely submerged in what you’re talking about – your feelings are clear as day. But being too passionate will cloud the content. You don’t want your audience to lose focus and have to search for your message.
So while your emotions should add vibrant color to your subject, the content comes takes priority. Make sure you’re getting the facts across first, then show your passion (like drawing emphasis on a certain word or retelling a personal-experience story).
- Match your movements
Body language is one of the best ways to really hammer your point home. Whether it’s a certain hand gesture or simply walking around, being aware of your movements will keep your audience’s attention. It’ll even add a little oomph to your message.
But when emotions take over, your movements are disconnected from your message. Your behavior will appear jerky and repetitive, and appear frazzled and winded. Always remember to stay focused, not frazzled. Take a few deep breaths and focus on speaking slowly and clearly.
- Power doesn’t equal loudness
“I’ll go to these events and there will be men speaking before me, and they’ll be pounding the message and screaming … And people will love it. And I want to do the same thing. But I’ve learned I can’t be quite so passionate in my presentation. I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little too scary to people. And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill,’” says Clinton.
You don’t need to be loud in order to be heard. Rather, you want your voice to have a quiet intensity. When you need to emphasize a point, change your tone for a few words, then switch back to a relaxed or normal tone.
Peaks and valleys transform the way your voice sounds. A common mistake people make it is speaking at the same high-pitched and excited level, never once changing the tone or pace. You’ll lose your audience quickly if you stay at the same level – even if it’s an enthusiastic one.
While passion is going to ignite your words, too much of it is going to impact your message. But finding the line between passion and emotion means you can find your balance and stick with it.
Clinton is regularly a target when it comes to how much emotion and passionate women should show. After all, Republican National Committee chair Reince Preibus said Clinton appears “angry + defensive … no smile and uncomfortable.”
Clinton’s professional yet passionate response:
“Actually, that’s just what taking the office of President seriously looks like.”