Make Your Audience Fall in Love With You

You step up and turn to face your audience. You feel a lump in your throat. You’re about to speak your first words. What if they don’t like you?  You silently pray, "Show me the love." Fear of rejection is one of the reasons people avoid public speaking.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make yourself attractive to the audience without being a seasoned pro. Here are a few simple tips to make your audience fall in love with you.

Don't Dictate, Facilitate - Questioning Techniques

While traditionally, speaking has been more or less a monologue, delivering a seminar requires a different set of skills. One of those skills is facilitation. The public speaker needs to engage and elicit information from the audience and help them make connections to their work environments through discussion.

Presenting Yourself for the Job Interview

A job interview can be an adventure. You have the opportunity to learn about new companies, new positions, and network with new people. The first step is to equalize the power. And that involves an attitude adjustment. The power should be 50-50. The interviewer is sizing you up AND you’re sizing up the company. Don’t give all the power to the interviewer. You decide if the company meets your criteria. Once you’ve balanced the power, here are some tips for presenting a positive image:

Present to prosper: Success requires a powerful first impression

Jim (not his real name) was a small business coach. He was a member of a networking group, but he wasn’t getting any business.

He knew he was good, but nobody was asking for his card. Meeting after meeting, he would tell the group all he had to offer—business planning, marketing, systems, etc. Jim noticed their eyes glaze over as he recited a litany of all the ways he could help small business owners. He became so discouraged that he told his wife one evening that maybe he’d have to give up on his business.

Say What? Is a Hearing Loss in Your Future?

One in 10 Americans has a hearing loss. It can begin as early as age 20. Hearing declines significantly after age 40.

The baseline or threshold for normal hearing is 0 decibels. A decibel (dB) is a measure of sound pressure level. The higher the decibel, the louder the noise. The pain threshold is 130 decibels. A subway is recorded at 95-100 dB. If you live in a noisy city or work around loud machinery your hearing may be at risk.

Empowerment Comes From Learning Listening Techniques

If you want to be more productive and increase sales, try listening. It’s a fact that people just don’t listen well. In this culture we have a saying. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Think about a typical business meeting. Step into any meeting and you will see members vying for air time. Most onlookers would assign power to the speaker and identify the listener as passive. Nothing could be further from the truth. Listening is power. Listening empowers people to take responsibility, to be more productive, to influence their environment, and to increase the bottom line.

No Sweat! Get Control of Public Speaking Nerves

Three people called me this week because their public speaking fear is holding them back. It's affecting their brand, their reputation, and their career advancement. It's causing them to remain quiet in meetings and to decline speaking opportunities. It’s time to knock out the fear of public speaking! Public speaking is no different from any other fear and you can kick the habit long before you kick the bucket.

Press Release: Best Selling Business Author Diane DiResta Featured in 1,600 Offices Across the United States by Captivate Video Network

C-Suite Network, announced today that their over the top television (OTT) business channel, C-Suite TV, will begin a new strategic partnership with Captivate, the leading location-based digital video network. Captivate will air highlights from Best Seller TV, a television show featuring business authors and content from their top-selling business books.
Diane DiResta was the first expert to be featured to kick off the partnership.

Press Release: Speaking Expert Diane DiResta Interviewed on Everyday MBA Podcast

Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, discussed techniques for public speaking with Kevin Crane, host of the Everyday MBA podcast.

In Episode 82, DiResta discussed her book Knockout Presentations and techniques to turn public speaking into a strength, overcome anxiety, and design a presentation for maximum impact. 

Make Your Training Fun and Memorable: Techniques to Accelerate Learning

Are you still stuck in lecture mode? Don’t get me wrong. We all have to convey information. But after seven minutes or so, the brain starts to drift. Lecturing, along with reading, are the most passive and least effective forms of learning. Make learning active! By involving your audience and getting them moving they will understand and retain the information better and longer.

What Donald, Hillary, and Bernie Taught Us About Presentations

donald-hillary-bernie This U.S. presidential election was like no other. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump went head-to-head in a heated debate with more twists and turns than a roller coaster ride. The ongoing soap opera kept people riveted to their screens -- sometimes inspired and other times disgusted. Regardless of the outcome, there were lessons learned about public speaking.

Here some presidential guidelines to deliver winning presentations:

Deliver a  Message that Resonates -- To be effective in any presentation, a public speaker must have a message that resonates with the audience. While sizzle is important, if the message doesn’t speak directly to the self interests of the audience, it won’t be remembered and it won’t move the crowd.

Both Sanders and Trump leveraged the emotions of the audience and spoke directly and specifically to their frustrations, problems, and concerns. To resonate with an audience the presenter needs to speak simply, use shorter words, and to tell stories that relate to what the audience believes and experiences. When the presenter speaks their language, the audience feels heard, understood, and connected. And that builds trust.

Smile and Deflect -- At some point every public speaker will encounter resistance or hostility. The worst approach is to get defensive. When you play your opponent’s game, you lose. The debates got nasty at times. When Trump attacked Hillary, she reacted by smiling until it was her turn to rebut. Hillary showed poise under pressure. In situations other than a debate, the presenter can involve the audience to deflect hostility. There’s nothing more powerful than peer pressure.

Do the Unexpected -- Attention spans are growing shorter. There’s now research that states that the attention of a goldfish is one second longer than that of a human. Yikes! To keep an audience engaged and attentive, be different.

Trump broke the rules. He was unpredictable and said things that were politically incorrect. The audience found it refreshing because he said what they were thinking. When presenters avoid naming the elephant in the room, the audience retreats and resists. It’s difficult to be influential if you tiptoe around the truth. (Yes, he went too far, and lost credibility for being inappropriate to say the least). When used appropriately, the element of surprise will keep the audience with you.

Get Personal -- All three candidates showed a personal side of themselves by involving their family and sharing stories. Every audience is thinking three things subliminally -- Who are you? Who are you to tell me? What’s in it for me?

An audience first wants to know the presenter as a person, not as a talking head. Sharing personal stories and talking about one’s family humanizes the speaker. Substance without personal connection will not yield results. An audience relates to people they know, like, and trust. Never underestimate the likability factor.

Be Gracious Victory and Defeat -- Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. It’s true in politics, sports, and at work.  A gloating winner or a sore loser will cast themselves in a negative light. What separates the ordinary from the great is how a presenter handles victory and defeat. When Donald won the election, he complimented Hillary on her toughness, hard work, and service. Bernie and Hillary were gracious when they conceded the election. Hillary’s concession speech inspired the country to unite and paved the way for a new administration. This is truly the mark of leadership.

Most of us will never run for office but we can take a page out of the election playbook and remember to apply the good, and eliminate the bad and the ugly.

Press Release: Knockout Presentations Blog Named A Top 50 Public Speaking Blog by Feedspot

Knockout Presentations Blog, written by Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, was named one of the top 50 public speaking blogs by Feedspot.

Slow Down Speed Talking

If you’ve ever been called a motor mouth you could have a communication problem. You’re never at a loss for words. But when you speed up people will lose part of the message. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you here are some tips to slow you down.

People speak fast for a variety of reasons. It could be geographic. People from the New York metro area tend to speak faster than people from the South. Another reason is nervousness or stress. Increased stress could be the reason for a more rapid rate. Are people not understanding you because your rate is too fast or because the words are not clear? Either way, slowing down will increase your clarity.

The first step is self awareness.

Begin by taping yourself during a normal conversation and be sure to get the other person’s permission. Listen for speed and clarity. Most people speak at a rate of 125 words per minute. The brain can process twice as fast. Develop an awareness of those situations when you speed up. Is it during oral exams? On the telephone? When you’re rushing to class? At a sales call?

The second step is behavior change.

  • Practice deep breathing exercises to slow you down in the morning. Meditation and breathing are a healthy way to start your day and will help to calm you down. You can find exercises in Knockout Presentations in chapters 2and 3.
  • Practice the pause. Use the beat method. Count two beats at the end of every sentence. For example, Today is Monday (1,2) Tomorrow will be Tuesday (1,2) The problem is usually not saying the words too fast but not putting stops at the end of a sentence. People need a few seconds to process what was just said. (And you need to come up for air)
  • Read with rhythm. Practice reading poetry. It has a natural rhythm with built in pauses. Pause for a comma, and use a longer pause at the end of a verse. A few good practice poems are the Twenty third Psalm from the Bible, The Charge of the Light Brigade, by Alfred Lord Tennyson or the opening passage from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickins.
  • Listen more. Instead of rattling on, make a statement and ask for a response. “Does that make sense?” ” How does that sound?” are a few ways you can dialogue instead of talking at people.

The third step is self-monitoring.

  • Use the buddy system. Have a friend give you feedback when you start to speed up.
  • Let others in on your secret. Tell them you’re working on slowing your speech and would like to know if you spoke slowly enough.
  • Create job aids. Write the word PAUSE on a post-it. Place the paper on your computer, the telephone, and your date book to serve as a reminder.

To increase credibility, confidence, and clarity, slow down your speed talking.

Press Release: DiResta Speaks to Military Women Veterans at Operation Reinvent

Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, was invited to speak to military women veterans at the Operation Reinvent event. The event was a live webcast from NYC to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Hood, Texas.
The mission of Operation Reinvent is to prepare military women for transition to civilian life.

Press Release: Diane DiResta Interviewed for C-Suite TV

Diane DiResta, CSP, appeared on Best Seller TV/C-Suite TV, interviewed by Taryn Winter Brill. Ms. DiResta lives by the “gifted speakers are born, but effective speakers are made” adage, and shares her expertise on becoming an effective speaker during the interview.