CMI Women Webinar

07 June 2018

Mark HarrisonThe webinar builds on CMI's recent Broken Windows report results and present practical insights on how men can be part of the solution by supporting their female colleagues and take action on the negative behaviours that lead to gender inequality in the workplace.

Key takeaways from Mark’s presentation

1. Improving gender equality in the workplace is in everyone's interest.
2. Men have a role to play and so we should...
3. 'Man-up' and take our responsibilities seriously

Mark also makes reference to the University of London’s current Leading Women Campaign celebrating the 150th anniversary of women being permitted to sit examinations for the first time. The Leading Women campaign campaign celebrates exceptional women by sharing stories of women leading both, by being the first, and by leading through their inspirational educational and professional achievements.

How was it putting the presentation together?

Much harder work than I had anticipated! The CMI is a very well-thought-of institute with a wide membership – so I had to make a good impression. In addition, I was asked to speak for 40 minutes – which is a long time as colleagues will appreciate. The advice I read about producing a webinar said to expect participants to look at a slide for more than a minute or they would get bored – so that meant finding a significant number of appropriate slides that were, in themselves, interesting. Fortunately, I had some expert assistance from our Comms team in doing that.

How did you feel after you heard that nearly 600 people signed up?

I felt both very encouraged and moderately alarmed. I have spoken to an audience of between 250-300 people before – but this seemed significantly more and not being able to see the participants, strangely, didn’t seem to help. But it was great to think that so many people were interested in how men can contribute to gender equality.

How did you prepare for the webinar?

As with all public speaking, my not-so-secret prep is to practice it over and over until I am very familiar with the material. This allows me to relax a bit when delivering the presentation – and even go off-script a bit as I know the text. But ultimately it’s just about getting deeply bored with the sound of my own voice!

What advice would you give to someone doing something similar for the first time?

The best thing I did was having IT support and the CMI colleague introducing the webinar in the room with me (thanks Valentina!). It was very helpful and reassuring to get the nod telling me that it was going ok. Otherwise, it would have been a more surreal experience than it was. I also got some reassuring feedback in the end that I had done a good job. Finally – it’s unexpectedly very tiring speaking for 40 minutes non-stop. We don’t normally do that on a day-to-day basis. So schedule in a breather afterwards and enjoy it.