Core Skill Series: Leadership, Voice, and Authority for Academics


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  • Speaker: Rena Seltzer, President, Leader Academic Coaching and Training
  • Host Department: Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)
  • Date: 02/07/2014
  • Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Location: Assembly Hall, 4th Floor, Rackham Building

  • Description:

    Although leadership can be conferred through titles and roles, it is incumbent upon leaders to claim their authority. Even without official titles, those who speak and act powerfully can have great influence. Effective patterns of speech and use of voice can be employed to build and maintain a powerful and respected presence in interactions with colleagues, students, and administrators. This interactive workshop will provide participants the opportunity to practice communicating with greater power. Issues of gender and authority will also be addressed.

    Participants will:

    1. Be able to recognize that speech patterns may be effective or ineffective depending on the expectations and patterns of the person with whom one is interacting.
    2. Compare speech patterns that project warmth and those that project authority, and identify techniques to signal both competence and collegiality.
    3. Assess one’s own voice quality, eye contact, posture, and other communication signals, and rehearse changes to increase the power of one’s presentation.
    4. Practice holding one’s ground through an interruption while maintaining professional presence.
    5. Utilize the technique of “stepping to their side” to disarm dissenters in the discussion of controversial topics.

    This session is co-sponsored by Rackham and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). Pre-registration required at

    Rena Seltzer is the president of Leader Academic Coaching and Training and specializes in work with academics and physicians. Her workshops combine well-researched information with fun, interactive activities and practical tools that participants remember and continue to employ long after the workshops are over. Rena is a regular presenter for Yale University’s faculty development program and Women in Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. She has presented to numerous other groups including the Cornell University Women of Color Roundtable, the University of Virginia Professors as Writers Program, University of Wisconsin faculty members, and the Women in Medicine annual conference.


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