Diane DiResta is the founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc, a New York City-based communications skills consultancy serving business leaders who want to communicate with greater impact, whether one-to-one, in front of a crowd, or from an electronic platform. DiResta is the author of the book Give Fear the Finger: How to Knock Out Fear of Public Speaking and Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, a widely used text in college business communication courses.

Podcast Highlights

  • Who is Diane DiResta?

Diane is a connector, truth seeker, and lifelong learner. She grew up in a military family so she moved around a lot during her childhood, that’s where she found her love of foreign cultures and developed an attitude of adaptability. Her first career was as a speech pathologist after graduating from Columbia, but she was too ambitious for the opportunities available in that position so she switched careers to giving public speaking training for a consulting company.

After working in various businesses and industries, Diane realized that she loved the job but didn’t like the culture of Wall Street. She realized that the reason people don’t fit is not because of a skills mismatch but because of a culture issue. She kept searching for the right position while freelancing for a couple of years and came to realize, with the help of her husband, that she wanted to have control of her own work and didn’t actually want another job. Now she takes good speakers and turns them into great speakers and nervous speakers and makes them confident speakers.

Even as a child, Diane was always correcting people’s speech. Her first love was English and teaching, but that wasn’t really an option for her at the time, which is why she ended up in the field of speech pathology.

  • Effective Communication

Every master was once a disaster. Diane wasn’t always a professional speaker. Gifted speakers are born, but effective speakers are made. Her first exposure to public speaking was in college and she was not a natural stand out, but she still managed a ‘B’ in the class. She knows what it takes to go from an average person who’s anxious about public speaking to someone who trains professional speakers for a living.

Speaking is a skill, anyone can be effective at conveying a message. The language of confidence combined with your stories and background is the art of effective communication.

  • What’s the difference between verbal and vocal?

Vocal is your tone, verbal is your language. The message is in the tone, not in your words. When it comes to language wimpy words will undermine your ability to sell or persuade someone.

When you use weak words, you are communicating that you’re not confident in your statements or position. Don’t suggest, recommend. The confused mind says no. Use more definitive powerful words and hold your ground. Once people learn the skills of executive presence, they take off.

  • Mindset and Skill Set

The first stage is to address your limiting beliefs. You’re not confident because you don’t believe in yourself. The second stage is recovery strategies. What is your worst nightmare and how would you recover from it? Understanding that helps develop the skill set you need for effective communication.

Speaking is not a soft skill. You have to understand who you are in front of the person that you’re communicating with. Can you think of anything that happens in the absence of communication? You’re not going to get funding from a VC without being able to communicate effectively.

The stock market is psychology, fear and confidence at the basic level. Communicating with analysts effectively can have a massive ROI and impact on your company’s stock price. Speaking and communication has dollar bottom line results directly associated with it. Speaking and effective communication is the ultimate competitive advantage, you have to up your game, sound like a leader, and convince people.

  • Why do people have such a difficulty with public speaking?

The common thread for most people who are afraid of public speaking is the fear of humiliation. You have to reprogram your thinking and work on recovery strategies to get past the fear. When you can laugh at your mistakes and move on, that’s how you convey gravitas and leadership.

Reference: Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, Diane DiResta

  • Diane’s Takeaway

Be very intentional; know what you want and where you want to go. Buy the book Knockout Presentations or hire a coach. If you don’t have any money to start with join Toastmasters as a way to get you’re speaking legs and test your skills in front of a low risk audience. Everyone has to learn and practice the fundamental skills before they can become great.


Knockout Presentations


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