leadership

Press Release: Diane DiResta to Speak at Financial Executives International

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY. October 11, 2018

Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, will be the featured speaker at FEINYC, Financial Executives International in New York City.

As a professional speaker and executive speech coach Ms.DiResta will speak about Influential Leadership: How to Communicate with Impact and Influence.

Today’s CFOs and Financial Executives must be able to command attention, influence analysts and stakeholders, and deliver a message with lasting impact.
 
In this interactive program attendees will learn communication skills of top leaders and how they:

  • Create presence on the platform to command the room

  • Get to the point to deliver a clear message

  • Speak with confidence and exude authority

As in all her presentations, the audience will leave with practical takeaways that can be applied immediately to enhance leadership communication.

The evening will end with networking and a booksigning of the newly released 3rd edition of Knockout Presentations.

About Diane DiResta
Diane DiResta, CSP, is Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy serving business leaders who deliver high stakes presentations— whether one-to-one, in front of a crowd or from an electronic platform. DiResta is the author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, an Amazon.com category best-seller and widely-used text in college business communication courses and author of the ebook, Give Fear the Finger. She has unique ability to get to the core of the message and translate complexity into simplicity.

Diane is Past President of the NYC chapter of National Speakers Association and former media trainer for the NBA and WNBA. Diane is a Certified Speaking Professional and licensed Speech Pathologist.

About FEI NYC

The Chapter is the premier organization for financial executives in New York City. The Chapter promotes the fellowship and interaction among its members and has active programs to enhance their professional knowledge and qualifications.

Since 1933, the FEI NYC Chapter has been successfully connecting Financial Professionals in the New York City metro area providing a truly unique forum to meet at live events (most of which carry CPE), attend general peer-to-peer networking events or webinars, gain access to the rest of the 10,000 FEI members, benefit from advocacy efforts, research, and career center.

FEI NYC strives to provide its Membership with unique opportunities to facilitate or cultivate the development and furthering of the Finance profession at many levels.

From robust programming and professional networking activities to our mentoring relationship with the students attending local colleges, nearly every FEI NYC activity will provide an opportunity for you, the Financial Professional, to either get what you need or share what you know. FEI NYC functions as a 501c(6).

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: 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.

What's Your Presentation Worth?

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It doesn't matter whether it's a raise, a promotion, or a large capital expenditure. Public speaking pays. Are you losing money every time you speak? Do you know why? You can be dressed to the nines, but a Brooks Brothers suit won't help if your presentation doesn't match your million dollar look. I remember the first time I met Cathy (not her real name). Her manager, a Vice-President, called me in to coach her. Cathy was having difficulty getting promoted.

When I met Cathy, I was surprised. She could have been on the cover of Forbes magazine. Cathy exuded executive presence visually. The challenge was when she presented her ideas to senior management, she immediately lost credibility. By not presenting a strong recommendation, and using uptalk and wimpy words, Cathy's value was diminished. As a result of my coaching, she learned to speak powerfully and was promoted to VP. Now that's a return on investment.

Another client of mine was a CEO of a multi national healthcare company. His challenge was to convince management to invest in a  $300 million facility in Europe. It would take 5 years from beginning construction to licensed facility. Clinical trials for a vaccine were 3 years away. This was an investment with high risk. He didn't even know if the vaccine would work. The CEO's presentation had to be clear, understandable, and effective in persuading management that the risk was worth it. The CEO got the funding. The facility was built. The product sold over $1 billion per year.

He said, “Without that presentation and convincing the executive committee to invest, we wouldn’t have the product.” That's MAJOR ROI!

Speaking leads to influence and influence leads to success. It's about how you articulate your value. How much money is left on the table due to a weak presentation?  A family member worked for a doctor's office handling insurance claims. She wanted a raise but wasn't having success. She realized the claims were being denied because they contained the wrong codes.

So she diligently nudged the doctors to apply the correct codes and helped them to do just that. The result was that fewer claims were being rejected. I howled, "You mean to tell me they are collecting on more claims because of you? You're directly impacting their bottom line! You're increasing their cash flow! Tell them that." She did, and she got her raise. Again, there is an ROI from effective presentations.

It doesn't matter whether you seek a raise, a promotion, or approval on a large capital expenditure: public speaking pays. The payoffs for you, the speaker, are increasing sales, earning a raise, getting a promotion, receiving investor capital, and more. And when you have excellent presentation skills you may even be paid to speak. Ka Ching Ka Ching.

Are you in the middle of a merger? Are you launching a new product? Do you have to give a presentation to your sales force?  You won't have a second chance. When your presentation is make or break, contact DiResta Communications, Inc.

Success Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

sorry-229978__180Love Story was a popular move in 1970. It starred Ryan O'Neill and Ali McGraw. In one scene they have a fight and go their separate ways. O'Neill finds McGraw after he cools off and apologizes for the fight. She stops him and says through her tears, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." I don't know if most people in conflict would agree with that. What people may agree with is the overuse of the word "Sorry" in the workplace. This is especially prevalent among women. When I speak to organizations about executive presence and confidence, I advise women to avoid weak speak or what I call wimpy words. Certain modifiers such as "only," or "just" weaken conviction. That is, the speaker negates everything that follows the words "only" or "just". For example, "This is just an idea," is less powerful than saying "This is an idea."

Related to these two modifiers is the word "sorry". To use the word "sorry" in emails and spoken language is to the detriment of women. An apologetic communication style sabotages leadership and authority. Leaders are perceived as decisive and willing to take a risk. Saying "sorry' too frequently is a way to avoid taking a stand and not be taken seriously.

The word "sorry" is also used as a substitute for "excuse me". Instead of asking the speaker to clarify or repeat, some women will say "Sorry?" rather than use the more effective phrase, "Excuse me?".

There's an app for that

How can women rid this undermining word from their vocabulary? The first step is awareness. Technology to the rescue! Now there is an app that identifies wimpy words when they are used in emails.

The Just Not Sorry extension for Chrome is downloadable at the Chrome app store. The app identifies wimpy words in Gmail by underlining them in red and providing explanations of how the word weakens the message in the email. Whether the reason for using wimpy words is a subconscious lack of confidence or simply a bad habit, this tool can create conscious awareness for women so that they can become more successful leaders and communicators.

After all, success means never having to say you're sorry.

The Essence of Executive Presence

Picture1Executive Presence is difficult to describe, but you know when you have it. And so it goes in the workplace. Clients call me to work on a leader’s “executive presence.” They’ll say the leader needs “polishing” or “gravitas,” but they can’t be specific.

What is clear is that the coaching candidate is stuck at a level. Without the ability to convey executive presence, they lose credibility and don’t advance further.

The myth is that executive presence is about dressing well. Attire is a visual shorthand. At first glance, your audience or stakeholders will determine if you’re a leader by the way you’re dressed. That’s part of it, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Have you ever known someone who looks like a million dollars until they opened their mouth?

Take the case of Deborah (not her real name). When I first met her, she looked like Ms. Dress for Success; however, when she presented at meetings she lost credibility with senior management. Deborah hedged, sounded hesitant and wouldn’t put a stake in the ground. Her boss couldn’t promote her to Vice-President and asked me to coach her.

What does this have to do with speaking? The answer is Confidence.

The presenter’s job is to inspire the audience's confidence that he/she is an expert (or at least qualified to speak on the subject). A speaker must have presence on the platform. Deborah discovered that leaders align visual, vocal, and verbal communication to influence. If one of these areas goes out of sync, the message is altered. Deborah learned to convey executive presence and was promoted to Vice-President.

So what exactly is executive presence? It's the missing link between merit and success. The chart above breaks down the aspects of “gravitas” so you’ll no longer say “I’ll know it when I see it.” You’ll be able to recognize and convey executive presence by knowing the components. Whether your platform is a stage or a meeting room, the boardroom or the back room, you’ll be able to assess yourself and project confidence.

The Laughter of Leadership

We've heard about managing by walking around. We've heard about leading by storytelling. But can you laugh your way to leadership? It turns out that laughter is an important leadership and presentation skill. But when it comes to humor in the workplace men are more skilled than women.

Judith Baxter, professor of applied linguistics at Aston University in the U.K, studied how men and women use language. She observed men and women who were leading high level meetings. Baxter found women to be less at ease using humor. 80% failed when attempting to be humorous and sometimes derailed as a result. In contrast, Professor Baxter observed that 90% of men's humor got a laugh. This reminds me of the numerous times women have told me that their ideas aren't taken seriously. Yet, when a man presents the same idea minutes later, it's enthusiastically embraced.

Are men naturally funnier than women? Baxter didn't answer that question, postulating instead, that culture plays a role. We expect men to be funny but don't have the same expectation of women. Teasing and one-upmanship resulted in laughter from men, but it was risky for women to use the same tactics. When I speak to women leaders, it's been my experience that women don't take enough credit for their accomplishments and speak in more self deprecating terms. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins contrasted the male one-upmanship communication style with the female pattern, which he dubbed 'one-downmanship'.

In addition to cultural expectations, Baxter cited minority status as another reason for this difference in effective use of humor. She observed an 80/20 male-to-female ratio in the meetings she attended. Being in the minority made some women defensive and less relaxed. An interesting turn of events occurred in meetings with middle managers. When the meetings were more gender balanced or contained more women, the women got more laughs.

So could lack of female confidence once again be at the core of this gender difference in humor? Is this one of the reasons women get stuck in middle management? Is humor the missing key to leadership advancement? Speaking may be the new competitive advantage but humor may be the leadership edge.

What's been your experience? Should women leaders study stand-up comedy?