If youâ€™re thinking of getting rid of your gray hair, donâ€™t do it if youâ€™re a man, says the famously gray-headed CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.
â€œIn the TV news business, gray equals gravitas,â€ writes Cooper in a funny column posted to the CNN.com website. â€œIn fact, in just about any line of work being prematurely gray is an advantage. On a guy, gray hair says, “I’m mature, stable. I can be relied on.”
Note the qualification, â€œOn a guy.â€Â Cooper admits that there is a huge double standard here.
â€œWomen don’t get a free pass,â€ Cooper writes, admitting that our sexist society doesnâ€™t favor gray-haired women in the same way it favors men.
At Speechworks, we don’tÂ take a position on whether you should color your hair or not. Plenty of men with gray hair are terrible speakers.Â And plenty of women with gray hair are wonderful speakers.Â
But people do judge us based on superficial things.Â An accounting firm partner told us how they had lost a pitch for a new piece of business. When they asked the decision-maker why they werenâ€™t selected, they were told, â€œYour expert didnâ€™t have enough gray hair.â€
Frankly, hair color is pretty low on the list of priorities for improving your speaking skills.Â We say, â€œBe yourself and do what makes you comfortable.â€
If you really want to improve your skills, focus first on improving your voice energy. Speak with passion.Â Engage your listeners with more intense facial expressions.Â If youâ€™ve do those things, no one will care about your hair.