Lina’s Authentic Voice training has helped my team of account reps discover that, first, it’s not about speaking TO people, it’s about speaking WITH them. Whether they're speaking with three people or three hundred, their mission is to be understood and to listen and learn, not just react. It’s made a remarkable difference in their effectiveness, not to mention their job satisfaction.
Exec Vice President
Rodgers Townsend DDB Advertising
St. Louis, Mo.
I am happy to wholeheartedly endorse Lina Koutrakos and Authentic Voice as a supportive, encouraging and strategic communications consultant. She understands how to build upon a client’s strengths and to use those strengths to address inherent weaknesses, all the while being both positive and intuitive. In working with Lina I have improved in my ability to communicate enormously in a professional capacity for both sales and marketing presentations.
Vice President, Fragrance Sales
Lina Koutrakos has had a profound impact on my work. As a professional speechwriter, I work with some of the nation's influential executives and leaders. My perspective on effective communication has been greatly informed by years of training with Lina, and I could not be more grateful for her exceptional coaching and brilliant insight.
We were not sure what to expect with "Authentic Voice" and scheduled only half of our staff to work with Lina. Those that did not attend the workshops quickly recognized what they missed by listening to their colleagues comments and new found clarity. We have already booked "Authentic Voice" for the whole staff next spring.
Patricia Salinski, CPM
Water Tower Place Residences
article from Think Small.com May, 2016
MAY 25, 2016
How One Passion-preneur is Using Her Voice for More than Singing
The recent Braun Research/Bank of America Report on Small Business indicated that 15% of all new business startup owners are career changers, simply defined as people who want to do something different. A subset of this group are “passion-preneurs”, a word coined in the mid-1970s to describe the small business owners who pursue a commercial endeavor for the love of it. Usually the term applies to someone who strikes out on one’s own, leaving behind them a passionless job. “They’re increasingly turning their backs on the corporate grind to launch businesses that made their hearts sing”, according to the Daily Telegraph.
In a way, passion-preneur Lina Koutrakos, founder of Authentic Voice, took the opposite path. She started with her heart, singing as a teenager in the ’70s, then she expanded her focus to the corporate world in 2013, sharing what she learned as a singer and director to help people in the business world be better communicators. “I work with advertising agencies, legal firms, hospitality brands, pharmaceutical companies, all kinds of industries. What they have in common is the need for their people to be expressive and effective interpreters of the information they share” with clients, guests, sales prospects and fellow employees, facing large and small audiences.
Koutrakos is renowned as a performer and performance director, winning dozens of “best of” awards in the entertainment business in her hometown of New York and throughout the U.S. How did she make the leap from the stage to the boardroom? “I wanted to expand my client base beyond the solo singers I directed, but the overall pool of performers with the means to engage a director like me is small, even here in New York. One day a light bulb went off in my head: EVERYONE who communicates professionally could use help translating their own authentic voice to others. I would use my experience in singing and directing to help them find the honesty and personal power inside them to be more effective. I tried the idea out with a small group of marketing professionals. They were excited about the changes they saw in themselves and each other, and I knew I was on to something.”
Corporate employees aren’t as different a species from singers, as you might imagine. But one big difference Koutrakos observed is that they’re not accustomed to baring their souls in the workplace like artists are.
“The premise—and Authentic Voice’s bottom line—is humanity, which we all have, so once we dig we find the same blueprint for communicating the passion they feel about their subject, and the confidence they have about sharing it with everybody involved, thinking about their audience one person at a time. My workshops are small groups, giving each participant a chance to get to the rock bottom of it all so we can build from there, an individual, authentic place. The result is a more likable, engaging and memorable speaker. Watching the spike in impact from the suggestions and fixes from my end, sometimes just tiny tweaks, is thrilling. They feel so much better so quickly, and I get to watch it happen.”
There’s no secret formula or hard, fast rules to follow. “For decades I’ve repeated something I learned when I started out performing: you must be yourself, on purpose. The same thing applies in the business world. Being cool, buttoned up and having a firm handshake is a fine place to start. But nothing reaches as deeply as speaking from the heart about something you’re committed to. And if you can’t say that about your work, maybe YOU’RE in the wrong business.”