Viv Groskop is loud – and proud of it.

“My big voice was frowned upon when I was a girl in the 70s,” says Groskop, a British journalist, author and comedian. But times are changing.

Though it’s still uncomfortable these days for women to be called “loud,” she sees a huge shift taking place in what it means for a woman to speak out.

A new generation of women is confidently and full-throatedly redefining the term “loud woman,” she writes in the Guardian.

Groskop quotes Michelle Obama, whose new autobiography Becoming comes out next week: “I admit it: I am louder than the average human being and I have no fear of speaking my mind.”

Michelle Obama is just one of many high-profile women whose speaking style gets scrutinized with insight and humor in Groskop’s new book, How to Own the Room: Women and the Art of Brilliant Speaking. In it she describes Michelle Obama’s stage persona as: “controlled passion, warm authority, approachable charisma.”

Yes, she can be loud, Groskop says, but the volume “is calculated and in tune with the audience.”

Groskop’s book is a celebration of the joy and power of being noisy and female – and a call to action for women to make their voices heard.

Strictly speaking, it’s not a how-to: how to stand, how to breathe, how to use your hands – though there’s a bit of that.

It’s mostly about how to get yourself in the frame of mind and muster the moxie to get out there. She speaks from first-hand knowledge about coping with public speaking anxiety – like what takes place in those heart-thumping moments before you step onto the stage and when you’re actually standing (or quaking) in front of a live audience.

Also what to do “in the moments you’re made, as a woman, to feel small.”

Nowadays, thanks to social media and digital platforms, any woman can speak out and create her own buzz. And she should.

“There has never been a better time to learn how to control the way you present yourself to the world,” Groskop says.”Because there are so many opportunities to show who you are.”

Other women in her public speaking pantheon are Amy Cuddy, Virginia Woolf, Oprah, Joan Rivers, JK Rowling, Ellen DeGeneres, Amal Clooney, Chimamanda Adiche, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde and Gloria Steinem.

Groskop’s first book was a blow-by-blow of her performance of one hundred stand-up comedy gigs in one hundred nights, called I Laughed, I Cried: One Woman, One Hundred Days, the Mother of All Challenges.

As she notes: “… there is a fine line between focused and psychotic, and I think I may have crossed it at several points.”

Viv Groskop – a loud, proud, and funny woman.


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