Helping journalists, producers and conference planners find the female guests, speakers and expert sources they need.

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So you have reservations about declaring yourself an expert…

I often joke that I became president of MediaWatch (Informed Opinions’ predecessor) by going to the bathroom at the wrong time, and returning to discover I’d been elected president.  The line reliably nets me a laugh and a lot of “been there” nods from audiences of women (because a lot of us have been volunteered […]

How to reduce your dependency on speaking notes

A woman once told me about having attended her thesis supervisor’s presentation at an academic conference. It took him almost 20 minutes to read his research paper aloud. When he looked up at the end, she was the only one remaining.  Everyone else had bailed from sheer boredom — and he hadn’t even noticed. (She […]

4 incentives to liberate you from reading your speaking notes

“I’m trying to sound smart.”  These words broke my heart when I heard them from a workshop participant last week.  The young woman who uttered them is so accomplished that she earned a coveted academic research grant usually awarded to PhD students even though she’d just completed a bachelor’s degree. She also speaks three languages.  […]

4 tips for moving past mere ranting to effective persuasion

Twitter and Facebook have a lot to answer for: rampant misinformation, spiralling conspiracy theories, plummeting productivity. (And that’s just in my family!) But I fear social media echo chambers are also undermining our persuasive capacity. It’s so easy to share the stuff we agree with, and condemn the stuff that’s so obviously WRONG, without going […]

Why is it so crucial that we hear from Indigenous women?

and Amy Ede. In the context of our collaboration to engage and support more Indigenous women in being heard through the media, the two recently sat down (virtually) to discuss related ideas. SHARI: I’m embarrassed to admit that when we started Informed Opinions  in 2010, I seriously under-estimated the obstacles to bridging the gender gap […]

When it is (and isn’t) useful to focus on your feelings

I cry easily, whoop at the end of dance performances and am passionate about my work. My partner would tell you it’s not possible to have a conversation with me that does not involve me sharing my feelings.  And I think the world would be a much better place if we raised men and boys […]

The value of candid criticism from reliable sources

“Find another profession.” That was the blunt assessment of one high school student who sat through a presentation I gave in Saskatoon 15 years ago. The youth-targeted media literacy book that had earned me the speaking invitation, In Your Face – The Culture of Beauty and You, was an award-winning Canadian best-seller. But my ability […]

Four Lessons from the Life and Advocacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

One of the wonderful things about truly inspiring people is that their influence outlasts them. The power of their actions and words can continue to change minds and motivate choices well beyond their time among us. It requires no prescience to predict that this will be true of the just-passed Ruth Bader Ginsberg.  Yes, the […]

Replace negative phrasing with positive imagery for more effective media interviews

Can you spot the strategic communications error in this Calgary park signage? (And do you know why it’s relevant for your next media interview?) I’m not talking about the graffiti’d objection to the ownership of wild bunnies and birds signalled by the possessive “our” — although I agree with the correction.  No, I’m referring to […]

10 Lessons from listening to Chrystia Freeland, a seriously “good talker”

The prospect of being interviewed on live radio or television makes many participants in our workshops nervous. But none of them have had to negotiate the kind of high-wire crossing in real time performed by our newly appointed Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland. And she has, time and again, demonstrated her qualifications as — in radio […]

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