Top Tips for Giving Your First Ever Talk

Aug 9, 2021

Once you’ve secured the job you’ve always wanted with the help of Graduate Coach, how can you ensure that the first business talk or speech you give is a success as a woman in the workplace?

Alongside attending as many talks within your industry as possible, research from Pandora uncovered the most popular power words from iconic speeches given by women in the spotlight for some inspiration…

  • Meghan Markle tops the list as most popular woman, with 1 million searches per month; her most used words include ‘woman of colour’, ‘positivity’ and ‘love’
  • The word ‘women’ is the most used power word across the eight industries studied, including business, politics, sports, and fashion
  • From those most popular in TV, Oprah Winfrey’s power words include ‘women’ and ‘truth’, while Ellen DeGeneres’s include ‘success’ and ‘important’
  • Women in business use the word ‘gratitude’ more than any other industry, while women in politics use the word ‘optimism’ more than any other

The Top 10 Power Words in Business

The thought of talking in front of people for the first time can be nerve wracking but the following women continue to prove it possible and those of you who choose to take on the challenge can reap huge rewards from it. 

The power words used by inspirational women differ by industry but when it comes to the female business moguls of the world, their words are as empowering as the women themselves. Pandora looked at the speeches of business women, both in the UK and further abroad, including Karren Brady, Arianna Huffington, and Deborah Meaden. 

While these women are all powerhouses in their industry, the topics of their speeches differed from a keynote address to entrepreneurs, through to a TED X talk on how to get more sleep. The most common words used within this category were ‘life’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘moments’, indicating a real sense of appreciation and pride from these powerful women.

Perhaps watch some of these powerful women’s speeches online and get to grips with how it is they use the keywords, while it may also be interesting to listen out for them within the speeches of other women in your industry if you get to attend any in person.

Top 10 Power Words used across all industries

The most commonly used power word, and the only word used across all eight industries, is ‘women’. This was used 14 times across the 40 speeches studied, the second most popular word was ‘people’ which featured nine times. While the top ten words include inspiring terms like ‘support’, ‘hope’ and ‘world’, there is also a focus on emotive elements like ‘love’, ‘good’ and ‘best’. 

It’s clear to see that these words are used to incite an emotional response from those listening, another take away for your first talk, albeit dependent on your industry! If your talk is in an extremely corporate environment, you may want to miss the emotive terms and focus more on the inspiring terms, such as ‘support’, ‘hope’ and ‘world’.

Power Words

Top 10 Women across all industries

Pandora analysed Google search data to first find the women that are most popular online. With one million searches per month, it’s Meghan Markle that comes out on top. She receives nearly three times more searches each month than the Queen, and twice as many as the second most popular female, Jennifer Anniston. The top ten are as follows: 

1Meghan Markle1000000
2Jennifer Aniston450000
3Scarlett Johansson368000
3Emma Watson368000
3The Queen368000
4Kim Kardashian301000
4Angelina Jolie301000
4Kate Middleton301000
5Viola Davis201000
5Anne, Princess Royal201000
5Princess Diana201000
6Priyanka Chopra165000
7Cara Delevingne135000
8Alex Morgan110000
9Ellen DeGeneres90500
10Caitlyn Jenner74000

Their most common words

Meghan’s heartfelt speech from a recent tour of Africa pays homage to her heritage and pride in being a woman of colour. Her most used words include ‘positivity’ and ‘love’ alongside the inevitable ‘woman of color’. For the second-most popular woman on the list – Jennifer Aniston’s speech from Variety’s Women of Power luncheon in 2019 focuses on inspiring women with words like ‘best’, ‘voice’ and ‘power’. 

Both Kim Kardashian-West and Kate Middleton have more than 300,000 searches per month, and interestingly both use the word ‘support’ several times in their speeches. Talking at The White House in 2019 on the subject of prison reform, Kim’s most used words also include ‘care’, ‘women’, ‘strong’ and ‘know’, while the address given by The Duchess of Cambridge during a tour of Pakistan in the same year, talked about supporting families with mental health. Her most used words included ‘family’, ‘parenting’ and ‘guidance’, as well as ‘mental health’, of course.

Alex Morgan is the only athlete to make the top ten with 110,000 searches per month.  In her acceptance speech from the 2019 EPSYs the US football star used the word ‘amazing’ the most. This was followed by ‘women’, ‘best’ and ‘thanks’. Within the sporting industry, the most used power word was ‘love’, which was only used by Alex and UK sports presenter Clare Balding. In her 2019 speech on women in sport, Clare’s most used word was ‘kind’, followed by ‘good’ and ‘feel’.

Although she didn’t make it into the top 10 overall, Oprah Winfrey comes in at number five in the Celebrities category with just over 33,000 searches per month. Her iconic speech at the 2018 Golden Globes will be remembered for her impassioned “time’s up” declaration, cementing ‘time’ as one of her power words. This is followed by ‘women’, ‘truth’, ‘men’ and ‘know’. 

Fellow TV host Ellen DeGeneres does make the top ten with more than 90,000 searches per month, however her power words could not be more different. From her motivational speech “Be True to Yourself”, Ellen’s most-used words included ‘success’ and ‘important’.

Many words to add to your bank!

To find out which other powerful women were studied as part of this project, and the full scope of power words uncovered, visit Power Speeches on the PANDORA site now.

Featured photo by George Milton from Pexels

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