Athena In Action February 18, 2017

Having Your Voice at the Table

By Nancy Sheppard Chief Journey Advisor

In making my decision to join the Leadership Team of The Athena Alliance, I looked at various parts of the program that distinguish it from other board preparation programs. The voice coach is one benefit that jumped out at me.

Voice is one of the most powerful ways by which we convey intent, emphasis, and lasting impression. Yet, very few of us understand how to use the power of voice effectively. Worse, most of us are unconscious of current speaking habits that undermine our authority, negatively impact the way we are perceived and ultimately keep us from having the impact and success we want in the world.

As your journey towards the boardroom progresses, you will be evaluated on what you say and how you say it. Are you conveying your intent, conveying both strength around your conviction and confidence, while at the same time communicating the warmth and openness you want to express to invite discussion and collaboration? If you aren’t perceived as someone the board wants to spend time with for the next 6-10 years, your chances of being selected drop significantly, no matter what your skills.

Voice expert and Athena coach, Hillary Wicht, plays a key role in your membership journey. Through 1:1 coaching with Hillary, you’ll be able to: uncover unconHillary Wichtscious habits that are undermining your authority; learn tools you can begin implementing immediately to create the impact you want to have; understand the psychology behind what it means to earn trust and confidence with your communication.

And, having your seat at the table is not the same as having your voice at the table. If you cannot command a space with your voice, you will not be able to fully leverage your knowledge and authority. If you cannot get a word in—if you make a suggestion that seems to go unnoticed, then your colleague three chairs down makes the same suggestion and suddenly the room is buzzing with praise—you are not owning and extending the power of your voice.

This benefit of membership is one of many elements in Athena’s white-glove approach to presenting you as the best choice for a board position and in assisting you in showing up as a great board member once at the table.