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Members find their voice at NEW Leadership Academy

Friday, May 2, 2014  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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More than 600 Network of Executive members learned to communicate confidently and effectively at the NEW Leadership Academy webinar "Finding Your Voice,” May 2, 2014.

Featured guests M. Christine Smith, Deloitte’s managing director, west region and managing principal of Deloitte University Leadership Center for Inclusion, and Daniel Eckert, senior vice president, Walmart Services at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., offered practical advice for making a positive impression at work. The one-hour interactive learning session was facilitated by career coach Jo Miller, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching.

Eckert, a former U.S. Marine, said self-expression is learned through experience. "Finding your voice and doing it in an appropriate way — so that you fit in before you stand out — is a critical skill set that is not taught in school.”

After being thrust into a military leadership role at 22, Eckert became a great listener, a key skill that shaped his communication style. "Seek understanding first through the power of asking questions,” he said.

Speak up fearlessly

Smith found her voice when she was asked to take on a leadership role for a major account, she said. "Do your homework and focus deeply so that you can show up authentically with a service-oriented voice,” she advised.

"Be fearless,” she added. "Keep your eye on realizing your own potential — everyone benefits from that.”

There are many reasons people do not speak up at work, Miller noted, from not wanting to appear too aggressive to believing that speaking up is a risky career move. The cost of staying mum, however, are lost professional and personal opportunities.

Women who own their power and voice deliver the most effective messages, the panelists agreed.

"Have a real understanding of who you are,” Smith said. "You can’t do it without being vulnerable and sharing yourself and your story.”

Knowing the lay of the land is essential, Eckert said. "Understand the culture and build relationships before making changes.”

To work effectively in a hyper-competitive workplace, "know what you’re talking about,” Smith advised. "Know both sides of an argument.”

When speaking up during a meeting, be aware of the meeting’s dynamic before it starts. "Understand the ‘meeting before the meeting,’” Eckert said.

Members may register free for the one-hour NEW Leadership Academy webinar, "Negotiating Your Role," June 6 at 1 p.m. ET. 

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