Communication skills are prized in business for a reason. However, communicating well is more than just being able to speak in front of a crowd, the C-suite, or a client. Being able to communicate ideas clearly and concisely in a way that your audience will respond to is key. What form that takes or what medium you use—comedic video sketches, poetry without capitalization, or an afternoon talk show—should not matter so long as you are able to achieve your goal, whether that be to touch emotions, spur action, or shift how people think.
Below are 10 great female communicators, representing countries, brands, ideas, and organizations, who have inspired, enlightened, and educated us with their words.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
An award-winning storyteller, author, and speaker, Chimamanda’s TED Talk on the dangers of the single story is one of the top 25 most played. Her poignant 2009 talk still resonates today which is likely why it has garnered over 30 million views. Her book, Americanah, was named one of The New York Times Top Ten Best Books of 2013, and Half of a Yellow Sun was named in the BBC’s list of 100 Novels that Shaped Our World. In 2015, she was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Singer/songwriter Susan uses her music to tell stories of the Inuit of Arctic Canada. Producing records since the 1980s, her songs incorporate English and Inuktitut languages. She is the founder of the Arctic Rose Foundation, Nunavut’s first artist to win a JUNO, and recipient of the 2022 Humanitarian Award presented by Music Canada.
Prime Minister of New Zealand since 2017, Jacinda has led her country through a terrorist attack, a natural disaster, and a pandemic. Known for her empathy as a communicator during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacinda held regular briefings that left her country feeling assured and confident in her leadership. Her Bachelor of Communications Studies has evidently served her well.
Dr. Brené Brown
Brené is a research professor at the University of Houston who has studied courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy for the past two decades. She self-published her first book in 2004. Now, she has six New York Times bestselling books, including Daring Greatly, hosts two podcasts, and her 2010 TED Talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the top five most viewed in the world.
Cathy Park Hong
Another individual who has made TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list (2021), Cathy is an author and poet who addresses anti-Asian sentiment, an issue that gained greater prominence due to the pandemic. She has been interviewed in Vox, The Atlantic, and The New York Times (to name a few). Her book, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Poet, artist, and performer, Rupi Kaur uses her poetry to share her raw, vulnerable truth about trauma, migration, love, and loss. Rupi self-published her first volume of poetry in 2014. Since then, her first two collections of poetry have sold over 10 million copies and are available in 42 languages. In 2021, she executive produced a film for Amazon Prime Video. At the time of this writing, Rupi is currently on her World Tour.
Under the name Superwoman, Lilly’s career started out on YouTube. After she recognized the lack of South Asian representation on the platform, she decided to give her take on the world through the lens of comedic videos. Since then, she has used her multiple platforms, including a late-night talk show, to speak about gender equity, mental health, and many other topics important to her. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and one of Time Magazine’s 30 Most Influential People on the Internet (2016).
Greta Thunberg’s “School Strike for Climate” in 2018 inspired 20,000 children around the world to skip school to protest for climate action. In 2019, she addressed the UN and received Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. You may recall the line from her speech that made Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 summit “really uncomfortable”: “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”
Lizzie is one of a very few people in the world with Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome. After seeing a cruel video in high school called “World’s Ugliest Woman” that featured her, Lizzie decided she wanted to be a motivational speaker—and so she became one. Lizzie shares her story to help others learn how to define themselves in healthy, positive ways. Her TED Talk has tens of millions of views and she’s the author of multiple books.
No list of great female communicators could be complete without Oprah Winfrey. A self-made woman, Oprah is renowned for her interviewing skills and ability to connect with guests. She started as a news anchor in the 1970s and over the decades turned her talk show into a media and publishing empire.
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are many more great female communicators out there with stories to be heard and messages to be shared. Let us know who you would have included on this list by sharing this story on Twitter or LinkedIn along with the name of a female communicator who inspires you. Don’t forget to tag Agility PR Solutions!