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HPR 182 | Knockout Presentations

Heartrepreneur® Radio | Episode 182 | Getting That Competitive Advantage Through Knockout Presentations with Diane DiResta

HPR 182 | Knockout Presentations


In the corporate world, presentations are very critical in the growth of companies and organizations. Diane DiResta, the Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., shares how to give knockout presentations and why you need to have one. The world of personal branding is surrounded by critics and competition that standing out from a crowd of millions requires memorable and impactful presentations. Get that competitive advantage as Diane teaches how you can improve your speaking and presentation skills with strategies like voice projection, building trust, and speaking in a language that the listener can hear and process.

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Getting That Competitive Advantage Through Knockout Presentations with Diane DiResta

We have Diane DiResta. Diane tells people how to give knockout presentations. Diane, welcome to our show.

Thank you for having me. It’s great to be here.

Why does everyone need to give a knockout presentation?

If you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur or a professional, you need to present yourself. In fact, your success depends on how well you present yourself, your message and your value to the marketplace. I often tell people that speaking is the new competitive advantage. Would you like to know why?

Why is it? I know but let’s give your take on it.

I’ve been in the business for many years as a speaker, a coach, a trainer and certain things have changed. Years ago, you could delegate this skill to someone else. Now people want to hear from you because you are the brand. We are in a world of personal branding. Secondly, it’s a world of commoditization. Let’s say you’re a tech company and you created software. It’s a matter of time before your competitor can duplicate it. What separates you from the pack is your presentation. Because of the increase in competition, the commoditization and the peripheral branding world, we all need to be better and better.

The way I see it is many people are watching short videos now and you can’t delegate your own video. It’s like Dave, the founder of Wendy’s, what is the beef like? Him just selling the hamburger was so endearing.

It’s interesting too when you say videos. Now you have the world of social media and people don’t realize that as public speaking when you’re doing those little video coach.

People don’t realize it’s public speaking, Diane.

Many people offend people on social media and go and try to get a client’s business. That’s the other reason why speaking is now a competitive advantage. You have to be able to present yourself on social media.

People are going to research us on social media. The way we present ourselves, the way we present our opinions, the way we present our downtime matters.

A big part of that is energy. One of the things that people don’t always know is that when you’re on a podcast, when you are on video, you have to push your energy even higher. It’s two-dimensional. It’s an energy drain. When you speak on video, you’ve got to be even more dynamic.

To keep those precious seconds of attention because if we don’t get them hooked right away, you lose people. Let me tell you what my pet peeve with speaking is.

What is it?

My background is an electrical engineer. I was forced because I wanted a degree, to listen to these college professors that were as smart as anything and as boring as much as they were smart, talking to the chalkboard, doing this and that. Now my personal standards are if you expect me to listen to you, make it easy for me to hear from you.

Your success depends on how well you present yourself, your message, and your value to the marketplace. Click To Tweet

Right on point because that’s the other reason the bar has been raised. People’s attention spans are so short. Did you hear this study about we have a one-second attention span shorter than a goldfish? Things don’t stay with you. You’ve got to be interactive. You have to have engaging content. You have to speak to what’s their interest.

That’s important because I remember having to sit and listen to these lectures. There’s a point where we tone out. I was at the grocery store picking out what I needed for dinner while I was in the presence of this person. Right now, they’ll click you off.

I experimented with my own short attention span. I was watching a video. I tend to fast forward. Every time I started to switch this video would change. I’d start to switch and it would change. It kept my attention. I started looking at the timing. It was about every four seconds that I was going to fast forward except they did it for me by switching the content. That’s a real eye-opener for all of us in business who are marketing or doing videos. We’ve got to keep the attention, keep it short.

Small business owners with heart making a difference in the world, making an impact, what can they do to improve the speaking and presentation skills that are critical to making that connection? Getting trust for someone to want to do business.

You mentioned the keyword connection. A lot of times people are not making a connection. They’re talking to people or they’re talking about their business. Nobody cares. When you share something of a personal nature, it’s amazing what that does. In terms of building trust, they have to know who you are. Every audience is thinking about three things subliminally. Who are you? Do I like you and trust you? Number two, who are you to tell me? In other words, what are your credentials? Number three, WIIFM, What’s In It For Me? I like you, you’re credible but what value will you bring? If you can answer that upfront quickly, you’re going to have the audience stay with you. The keywords are connection and engagement. People don’t want lectures.

No one wants to lecture because we had too much of that in school. They make a connection. This is one thing that I have a little bit of a challenge with because you’re saying do something personal. The buzz word of the day is authenticity. Sometimes authenticity is sharing on a deeper level, not like sharing what you ate for lunch and all those things that we think we need to project for or sharing how many degrees we have. It’s something worthwhile.

It was an eye-opener for me. In 2018, my sister died. I put that on Facebook. When I look at my feeds, that always get the longest feed because it’s a personal nature. You’re sharing your heart. People can relate to it. I’m not saying that you should put that out there in your presentations, but when you talk about where you’ve come from, your journey and you humanize yourself, people relate to that.

You heard it from Diane, authenticity but designed to humanize ourselves. It’s not giving bits and pieces of our lives, but it’s like hiring an assistant or hiring someone that we’re going to be working closely with. We want to know that our personalities mesh. We like the style. We like the communication.

Style is a big part of it. That’s why it’s so good that there are so many people in similar areas because there is somebody for everyone. There’s no one size fits all. Your style is going to resonate with somebody else who’s the best client for you.

You are an executive speaking coach. What is that?

I work with executives, leaders, director to the C-Suite although I have worked with entrepreneurs as well. I take them through a program to help them get to that next level. A lot of times people lack executive presence, which means they either don’t look, sound or speak the language of an executive or a leader. I help them get to the next level so that their communication is consistent. It’s aligned. Their visual, vocal and verbal communication are all giving off the same message.

Give me an example of how someone may not have that executive presence. What is something that you’ve seen or maybe a common thing that you’ve seen? I do think about how we come in, do we own the room or do we slink into a corner? It makes a difference.

You mentioned something about lecturing. There are some smart people but they can’t convey what they know in a way that’s clear, simple and to the point. A lot of times I work with executives who are smart, but they’re circuitous. They can’t get to the point. They’re rambling. They’re talking at too high or too detailed a level. That’s one way that you lose presence. Another way is the way you comport yourself. As you said when you walk into a room, do you own the room or does the room own you? How do you take a seat at the table? How do you ground your energy? How do you connect? How do you project your voice so that you’re heard? All of those things are factors that are important.

I like the voice projection and as you said on video, it’s important to make it easy for me to hear you. A lot of people are like, “I’m soft-spoken.” That’s fine but you still need to be heard.

I’m soft-spoken too. If I’m in front of a room, I go into presentation mode. I often tell people there are at least two voices. One is conversation and this is my conversational voice. There is a presentation voice that hits the back of the wall. You do need to push it a little bit more than normal.

HPR 182 | Knockout Presentations
Knockout Presentations: There’s no one size fits all. Your style is going to resonate with somebody else who’s the best client for you.


What are other common speaking mishaps that you see in entrepreneurs and business owners?

A big one does not understand that people don’t care about what you do. They care about their own self-interests. When I work with people, I take them through a process that I call listener-centered communication. We do a deep dive into the minds of those listeners. What do they care about? They start with a hook, a grabber, a headline that talks to their interest and grabs their attention. You build from there. A big mistake is talking about your products and services, nobody cares. They care about an outcome. They care about their problems.

We want to be other focused. Put ourselves in the other person, figure out what the result is and speak their language.

That’s another mistake. Sometimes we’re a one trick pony and we’re good with one kind of client. If you’re extroverted and you have this soft-spoken introvert, you’re going to blow them away with your energy. You need to tone it down. If somebody is folksy in their language, don’t be using large vocabulary in formal language. Come to their level. We like people who are like us and that’s the beginning of rapport and trust. Enter their world. Don’t expect them to come to you. That’s part of the presentation.

Diane, what I’m hearing is get a connection, build trust and speak in a language that the listener can hear and process. How does our audience find you?

They can go to my website, You’ll find my book, Knockout Presentations, that has everything we talked about and more.

What is one thing that you want to leave our audience with? One thought that drives home everything that we’ve talked about now?

One of the biggest fears is public speaking. I would say to people, “Get over yourself. It is not about you, it’s about them.” When you take the focus off of you and put it on the client or the listener or the audience, you’re going to be so much more effective and confident. You’re going to be speaking their language because you’re focused on that. You’ll be much more successful as an entrepreneur.

Focus on the other person and that will take your fear away from ourselves. Thank you. Find out more about diversity and inclusion consulting with me at Please also join us at Facebook at #Heartrepreneurs with Terri Levine, where you can connect with people like Diane and also other business owners that are making a difference in the world. We also appreciate your five-star reviews so make sure you subscribe to our podcast. Thank you for reading Heartrepreneur Radio.

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About Diane DiResta

HPR 182 | Knockout PresentationsDiane DiResta, CSP, is Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy that serves business leaders who deliver high-stakes presentations – whether one-to-one, in front of a crowd, or from an electronic platform. Diane is the author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, which has been called the “Bible of Public Speaking.”

With a client list that boasts companies and organizations like Tiffany & Co., Madison Square Garden, NBA, Spectrum Reach, and L’Oreal, Diane’s experience speaks for itself. A Certified Speaking Professional, Diane is one of only 12% of speakers to hold that designation.

She was President of the New York City chapter of National Speakers Association and former media trainer for the NBA and WNBA. Diane has been featured on CNN and Bloomberg Radio, and quoted in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Guardian UK, and Investor’s Business Daily. She currently resides in Staten Island, New York.


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