2013 New York Conference Where Business Opportunities Happen

Women's Leadership Exchange I am very excited to be on the LEXCI Business Expert panel at the Women's Leadership Exchange NYC conference on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Please join me and celebrate with other women business owners like yourself. You will get the knowledge, support and connections to help you leap hurdles to real growth at the WLE Conference.  Register today to hear from top business professionals who will share their secrets to success.

Dianne Budion-Devitt Moderator

Diane DiResta Panelist President, DiResta Communications Inc.

Darcy Ann Flanders Panelist Baseline Group NY

Rika Keck Panelist NY Integrated Health, LLC

Beth Neuhaus Panelist Chief Corporate Counsel, The Hamburger Law Firm

View the complete conference agenda here.

Be Inspired and Learn From the Best: - Lori Greiner, QVC/Shark Tank, WLE Compass Award Winner - Colonel Maria del Pilar Ryan, Ph.D., WLE Compass Award Winner - Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., CEO, Horizon Point, Inc. - Sue Malone, Founder Strategies For Small Business, Number one SBA loan provider - Jane Hanson, Partner, The Media Masters - Susan Solovic, The Small Business Expert

For a complete list of speakers, click here.

WLE would like to offer you a special discount. Use EARLYBIRD in the promotion code box and the conference will only be $99 (regular price $129). It includes continental breakfast and luncheon. This discount will only be available until September 9th. Don't miss out on this opportunity. REGISTER NOW! Hoping to see you on October 15th.

NYC Conference Location : MetLife Building 1095 Sixth Ave, New York, NY 10036

PS. Forward this letter to other women business owners or professionals who are serious about growing their businesses, too! With your recommendation, we will offer them this special discount.

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Adapt or Die-What Does This Mean for Your Speaking Business?

I recently saw the movie Moneyball, the story about Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland As. He lost his top three players and had no budget with which to compete. He wanted to win badly but it seemed there was no possibility of that happening.They couldn't compete because the team couldn't attract top talent for little money. There was no budget. Period. Billy realized he was asking the wrong question. The question was not "How do we replace the top three players?" The question was "How do we get on base?"Contrary to what his staff believed, the issue was about scoring runs and not about replacing the best players. Billy meets a numbers cruncher and starts to realize that there is another way to approach baseball. Without giving away the entire movie, Billy Beane starts to look for solutions by asking a different question and decides to turn baseball on it's ear. He announces his new strategy-"We're counting cards and we're going to turn the tables on the casino." Amidst intense anger and resistance from his staff, Billy stands tough and says, "Adapt or Die!" What a lesson for the speaking industry. Many speakers who were very successful are now scratching their heads and saying "Who moved my market?" The old strategies aren't working. Yet, like Billy's old cronies, it's easy to keep doing what we know. The highly paid after dinner speaker is a relic. Obsolescence is a reality if we don't quickly adapt to the new market. With fewer meetings and conferences, speakers can still use their talents if they use their skills to solve problems and learn new technologies. It may mean fewer keynotes and more webinars. It may mean adding facilitation and coaching to your repertoire. Or packaging your expertise as internet marketing products and targeting emerging markets. I continue to tell audiences that speaking is the new competitive weapon. The need for outstanding public speaking and presentation skills will only increase as the stakes get higher for winning business. But speakers will need to be more creative and business savvy in the way they approach the market. One thing is certain. The speaking business as we knew has changed. Adapt or Die.

Steve Jobs-A Visionary, Gamechanger, and Role Model for Public Speakers

Steve Jobs changed the world as we knew it. He also served as a role model for motivational speakers. In 2005, he gave the commencement address at Stanford. Unlike the typical unremarkable and easily forgetable speeches, Steve gave a knockout commencement speech.  Forgoing the usual platitudes, famous quotes, and boring directives, Steve told a heartfelt story about his journey, which turned out to be the classic hero's journey. But he told it in a way that every student could relate to. He  used the 'rule of three' by telling three stories and wrapping them in the theme of " Do What You Love".  So simply put, tell your story, speak to the heart, and remember the rule of three.  Steve Jobs left an indelible mark on the world-as a visionary, a creative genius, an entrepreneur, and a public speaker.  To read the commencement speech click here.

Are You Getting Ripped Off By Speaking Scams?

If you're a professional speaker or aspire to be one, you may soon fall victim to a speaking scam. With fewer meetings, budget cuts, and higher customer expectations, the competition for speaking engagements has increased. As a result, scammers are seizing the opportunity to prey on unsuspecting speakers-especially those new to the industry. Who books speakers? Event planners, corporations, associations, and speakers bureaus hire speakers. An event planner may have a paid or unpaid speaking engagement. But beware of event planners or speakers bureaus who charge you an upfront fee to register with their database. Don't be lured in by exciting video testimonials on their site. I exposed one of these fake testimonials when I  saw the name of someone I coached on her first keynote speech.  Six months later, I saw her picture on a website that claimed to package and promote speakers.  She was quoted as saying that she was making $250,000 per year from working with this company. As a veteran speaker, I know it's highly unlikely that a speaker would go from zero to $250,000 in 6 months.  She wasn't aware of the false testimonial and immediately had them remove it.  By taking a registration fee from every applicant, the company makes money without having to book you.

A legitimate speakers bureau will not ask for money from you. They maintain a data base of clients and propose two or three speakers when they get a request. Once booked, the speakers bureau takes a 25-30% commission from your fee and you receive a check for the rest. The bureau maintains their own sales and marketing costs and the clients belong to them and not to the speaker.  Speakers bureaus have a website with profiles of speakers they represent, they often list their clients, and they are usually members of IASB (International Association of Speakers Bureaus) and may also belong to NSA. When in doubt, check the National Speakers Association ( You can also chat with some of the speaker groups on linkedin to check out legitimate booking agents.  Read a report of a recent speaker scam and don't get caught in their web of deceit.

Students Face Their Public Speaking Fears and Win

Press Relase

For Immediate Release

Nancy Mui, a college senior, and Sequenza Williams, a high school senior proved they can compete in the adult arena. Both students were winners of the prestigious mentoring program sponsored by Financial Women’s Association ( The program matches FWA mentors to students. After excelling in the mentorship program, they faced their final hurdle—the acceptance speech. Each student was required to give a three minute speech  at the FWA Annual Dinner before an audience of over 200 adults including Fortune 500 financial companies and sponsors. Recognizing that public speaking is one of the top fears, the FWA brought in Diane DiResta, author of Knockout Presentations and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc to prepare them for the final event. Over several sessions Ms. DiResta coached them on developing the message, delivering the speech with confidence and in three minutes. They arrived early for a final dress rehearsal in the ballroom where they practiced walking on stage and using the microphone.

Both Nancy and Sequenza approached the platform with poise and gave a knockout presentation. Sequenza shared her growth as a high school senior and personally thanked her mentor by asking for her to stand and accept applause. Sequenza will be attending college in Georgia. Nancy provided several moments of humor and talked about her passion for mentoring other students. She has already been offered her first job beginning this Fall.

“This speech was a milestone for both students,

Speakers University-National Speakers Association

On May 20th, the NYC chapter of National Speakers Association presented a full day Speakers University held at the Fashion Institute of Technology. The success of the event was due in large part to the President Don Gabor, the Speakers U chair, Bob Frare, and many others on the committee.

My presentation was Presentations for Your Career at Work and covered interviewing, voicemail, meetings, and delivering   informational and persuasive presentations. Three high school student entrepreneurs were awarded a scholarship for the day. The morning  began with the opening keynote, Kick Your Own Butt, by Pegine Ecchevarria. Ed Robinson gave the closing keynote, From Fighting the Storm to Dancing in the Rain. Both presenters inspired the crowd and knocked it out of the box! A sampling of some of the high content concurrent sessions included  Moving from Free to Fee by Rochelle Rice, How to Deliver a High Impact Webinar-Garrett Terhune, and Becoming a Successful Keynoter by Ron Karr. The day ended with a silent auction with services donated by some of the top speakers.

I've been a member of National Speakers Association since 1991 and it's helped me build my business, develop new skills, and brought me many new friends. To attend as a guest visit http://

Make a Promise to Be a Better Public Speaker

May 4th is Make a Promise Day which was started by Matthew Cossolotto. Why make a promise? Because a promise is more powerful than a goal. Quick! How many New Year's Resolutions have you already broken? When you promise to be a better public speaker, there is an energy and commitment that drives you to action. My military father taught me to never break a promise. When you gave someone your word, that was sacred. You may keep your promise to others; but what about yourself? I recently made a promise to give up chocolate for one month. It was hard, but I would never have done it if I hadn't made a promise. A promise is putting a stake in the ground. It's drawing a line in the sand. You can become a better public speaker right now and the first step begins with a promise.

So, do it. Once you promise, the question becomes how to do it. Here are some ideas for becoming a better public speaker and sharpening your presentation skills.

  1. Read books and articles.
  2. Listen to podcasts.
  3. Attend toastmasters.
  4. Register for a public speaking class.
  5. Get a coach.
  6. Attend National Speakers Association.  (NSA-NYC event May 21st)
  7. Watch top speakers and model their behaviors.
  8. Volunteer to speak in your community or at work.
  9. Prepare in advance of your presentation.
  10. Practice out loud and time yourself. Watch yourself on videotape.
  11. Simplify your notes. Use bullet points.
  12. Get an accountability buddy to hold you to your promise.

When you boost your presentation skills and become a better public speaker your life will change. I promise.

Difficult Audiences: The Expert

What do you do when you encounter an expert or know-it-all in your seminar? Public speakers must be able to handle difficult audiences, yet each personality is different. It's important to know what is driving the disruptive behavior in order to keep control of the audience.  In this brief video you'll learn how to manage the expert.

What's Your Speaker Business Model?

On Friday, November 19th, I was on a panel at the NYC National Speakers Association meeting. The panelists included, Don Gabor, Ann Fry, Diane DiResta, Audrey Smaltz, and Richard Marker. Bob Frare served as the emcee. Each presenter told their story and shared their business models to a packed room  held at the NY Bar Association.  Most speakers shared that they hadn't planned to be professional speakers but rather fell into it.

Here is an overview of the basic speaking business models:

1.  Freelance subcontractor. This is where  a speaker is hired to do an existing program designed by training companies or other speakers. The advantage is the training company does the marketing and the speaker is paid for delivery. My friend calls this "Show up and throw up." You don't need to be an expert but you must have excellent platform skills and a knowledge of  the subject matter.

2. Corporate training model. The speaker delivers his/her own material developed for a particular audience. The advantage is the fees are higher and you own the account. You can also penetrate deeper into a company for more business. Companies continually need to train their workforce and will look for outside experts and consultants to improve performance.

3. Keynote or motivational speaker. This kind of speaker targets the association and corporate market and is generally speaking to large groups. They speak at a lot of conferences and conventions and must have an inspiring message and or a deep level of  expertise. Keynote speakers command the highest fees but the downside is they are always looking for the next gig. A convention will not hire the same keynoter for two consecutive years. They often partner with speakers bureaus to book business . The life of a keynoter is to be a road warrior.

4. Product sales model or BOR (back- of- the- room sales). Presenters speak for the purpose of selling products. They either stage their own public seminars and events or speak at conferences. This also can be a lucrative model but the speaker must be able to create products that people want and most importantly, be able to sell from the platform. Selling products from the back -of- the -room is challenging and this model is recommended only for those who have excellent selling skills and can move a crowd to action. It requires getting in front of large groups, transporting products, and having a merchant account.

A subset of BOR is internet sales. Some speakers direct the audience to their websites and sell hard copies and digital products. Other speakers have morphed into primary internet businesses and deliver  their message through teleclasses and webinars.

5. Enterprise model. This kind of speaker owns a bonafide business and manages employees. They may own a restaurant, a real estate company, a training company or other enterprise which they can sell.  The bulk of their income is derived from the business and speaking is yet another but not the sole source of their income. This is often the most lucrative model because the speaker does not have to trade time for money. Employees or freelancers deliver the product or service. The speaker is positioned as an expert about the business or industry and may speak on business or motivational topics.

When choosing a business model, the main message from the panelists was play to your strengths.

The smartest speakers combine multiple streams of income.