I recently attended an investment conference for women advisors. This is such a rarity in such a male-dominated field. We had only one male speaker, and the difference in behavioral styles was really astonishing in the role reversal.
The conference had a keynote speaker, expert speakers, moderators of panels and panel experts talking money. Everyone knew and understood their role – except for the guy. Was it deliberate or was he just being himself?He was assigned the role of moderator – and his job was to ask great questions to bring out the expertise of the panel. Picture 4 comfortable chairs on a stage. Thus far, every moderator sat at one end, turned in facing the panelists, and encouraged great dialog from experts who have demonstrated competence in their particular careers.
Enter the male moderator. The female panelists are seated on stage. He begins talking to the audience while standing with his back to the panelists, and they have to look up to him. He talks about his career, female psychology of money, and his book. After 5 minutes, the crowd started whispering or looking at their email. After 10 minutes, a voice from the audience asked him if we could please hear from the panelists. When this man sat down he had them introduce themselves and asked one question. Was this guy clued out, or was he just on the wrong planet?
Women tend to be collaborative, more respectful of their role in a team, and willing to help others shine. They don’t necessarily flaunt their expertise – they just get stuff done. If this speaker were a male advisor working with female clients, how should he behave differently?
1. He Took Command of the Stage.
This is a natural power or territorial behavior for men. To the women in the audience – it was so uncool for the role he was given.
Male Advisor: You are the money expert. But your female client takes center stage and they get to speak in the language of their choice, not industry jargon. Talk money with them at a round table for collaboration vs. behind an authoritative desk.
2. He Redefined His Job.
It is not unusual for an ambitious guy to act without permission and apologize later. He took the role of an expert speaker instead of a moderator. The paying audience lost learning time from the experts. And he probably damaged his brand.
Male Advisor: You job is moderator. Start by asking your female client questions about their values, purpose for money, and life- long dreams. Orchestrate their financial world with them to deliver and talk in terms of their dreams for the future, not Return on Investment or whether the Dow is up. If the Dow is down for 3 days, how does it affect my child’s college fund?
3. He Misread his Audience.
He assumed his stories and knowledge were of value, when the audience wanted to learn something else and had different expectations from the topic.
Male Advisor: Although women often may not dominate the conversation or give direction, they are listening and often want to learn. They need to know that no question is ever considered “dumb”. They may go away, research quietly, and come back again with even more questions. Women like to think things through, make solid decisions outside of ego, and get it right. Then they need to understand real life impact, not stats that change every day and in the end, are most often irrelevant.
Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Behavioral Cents, LLC and any third parties listed, linked to or otherwise appearing in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.
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