Womenlines is delighted to welcome Dianna Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE, who is in the list of top 20 coaches in the world, in the’Entrepreneur/Professional of the month show!
Dianna works with organizations to help them communicate clearly and with individuals to increase influence by a strong executive presence.
Dianna is the CEO of Booher Research Institute and founder of Booher Consultants, Inc, which is now part of Communispond. She’s a prolific author of 47 books, published in 60 foreign-language editions. Dianna Booher has been delighted to speak at venues all around the world, including numerous international conferences in the United States, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Listen and read about her interesting and inspirational journey and what she is looking forward to-
- Dianna, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started to where you are today!
Actually, it’s not a glamorous story. I didn’t start out as a professional author and public speaker. Far from it. I fact, I started my consulting and coaching business as a young mom with two small kids and a husband struggling with severe depression. Although I substitute teaching a few days a month, I feared that my husband wasn’t going to be able to hold his job much longer and that I was about to become the sole support for our family.
“So what do you LIKE to do?” a friend asked me, as we began brainstorming full-time job possibilities.
“I liked to write English compositions back in school. But how do I make a living doing that?”
“I suggest you find out,” my friend responded.
So I did. I drove to the library and checked out every book I could find on writing—from writing mysteries and romance novels to writing inspirational articles and press releases, and even creating greeting card verses! I taught myself the principles of good writing—all the things that I failed to pick up in high school and college English classes—along with the process of writing and publishing a book. So I put together a book proposal from what I’d learned in my reading. And voila! I got an agent and sold that first book to a major publisher! Once the book was scheduled for release, I developed a training course around the book’s contents.
Then when the publisher sent me on an author tour, my phone began to ring. People called, asking I could come to speak to their organizations. To date, I’ve repeated that process 48 times—and built a team behind me to present my programs so that I could devote even more of my time to writing books. About 2 years ago, I sold my training company (Booher Consultants). I founded a new company (Booher Research Institute), where I now focus solely on consulting and coaching individuals—and still do some keynote speaking.
2.) What are you most passionate about in the coaching and training venture? Where’s the heart of your work?
Two areas: The first is communication—in all its forms, whether that’s an executive presence, writing, speaking, interpersonal skills, enterprise-wide communication flow, shaping a core branding message.
The second area of passion is book coaching. I absolutely love helping other thought leaders get their message out into the world. Many people have the expertise, but simply don’t know how to present their expertise in a way that the layperson can understand it easily and apply it to their own situation. That’s where I come in. I help these prospective authors shape their expertise into a marketable idea, put together a great book proposal, find a suitable literary agent, and win a book contract from a major publisher. Finally, I help them marketing and use that book to promote their career, product, or service. A major book is a tremendous career boost.
3.)How you got interested in Business Communication?
Two things first piqued my interest in business communication: Many years ago my friend, vice president of engineering at ExxonMobil, used to laugh often about how well-educated engineers struggled to write reports. He told me the exorbitant fees they paid an outside consultant to teach their staff several times a year to improve their writing. Those fees were enticing!
The other key prompt was this incident: I was teaching a novel-writing course at night at a local university. On the first night each semester, I asked each student to tell me why they had enrolled—what project they were working on currently. To my shock, at least half of the registrants were business people saying they just needed help on the job. So I figured if there were that many people in a novel-writing class on their own time and at their own expense, business writing must be a huge need. So put together a book on the topic and a course.
Then corporate clients started asking me to broaden my reach—to teach presentations skills, interpersonal communication, effective meetings, and customer service communication. So the “umbrella” of business communication simply spread wider.
4.)What are common pitfalls to be avoided over email so that one gets faster / quicker response over email?
–Staying on a distribution list long after the need for that emailed report or document has passed. In other words, the weekly or monthly information sent is no longer useful to you
–Using email for tasks that can be better handled by other software programs (like calendar programs or project manager programs)
–Misusing the REPLY ALL feature and cluttering everyone’s email box with meaningless responses
–Disorganized emails, with the core message and action at the end, causing people to have to re-read the email
–Keeping your email open all the time and checking it every few minutes
5.) Could you kindly share with us some of your best tips for being persuasive if you’re selling or marketing a product or service?
Make “say it in a sentence” your motto. That is, summarize your key selling point or your core message (reasons for buying) succinctly in one or two sentences. In fact, start there. Begin with the end. Forget the warm-up drill. People need to know what your point is from the very beginning. Say it, and then build your case.
A second tip: Establish trust. Trust lays the foundation for persuasion. You will never persuade anyone who does not trust that you have their goodwill in mind.
Finally, sell the dream. Focus on what the product or service will DO for the customer—NOT how it works or how it looks. Tell them what problem it solves or what benefit it provides.
6.) Could you kindly share tips for women to enhance their executive presence in meetings?
I’m so glad you brought up this question! I hear this complaint so often from women: “They talk over me.” To hold your own in a meeting, set yourself up to hold the floor. Start out by letting people know that you intend to finish and overview what you plan to say. For example: “Sandeep, you raised a good question earlier about how to increase attendance at the conference. I have three ideas along those lines. First, we should ….” Then if you get interrupted after you first point, say, “Excuse me, but I wasn’t finished. I’d like to share the other two ideas. Then simply continue.
Also, executive presence has much to do with a physical presence. Take up space—literally. Stand up when you speak, if necessary, to get the floor. Use larger gestures. Use a firm volume. Take up more space. Move.
7.) How can storytelling element be used in the professional world?
Storytelling is always appropriate. By definition, a great story formula is this: A hero or heroine struggles against obstacles to achieve an important goal.
Here are some great storylines from the business world that fit that formula:
–The new manager overcame distrust and resistance of her staff to lead her team to win the CEO’s top sales award of the year.
–The customer service agent overcame a nasty lawsuit from a client for something she did NOT do and ultimately won her lawsuit and got her job back, including bonus pay.
–With limited budget and staffing, a new widget on the market (the “hero”) fought against two strong competitors with longstanding reputations in the marketplace to win 75 per cent market share after two years!
8.) Can you share some secrets to increase influence in meetings?
In addition to the tips on executive presence, review the agenda beforehand. Be prepared by bringing any available data. Prepare relevant questions to raise for discussion. Formulate your thoughts so you can express an opinion in a succinct way. If you’re the meeting leader, take charge. Don’t let things wander.
9.)Please tell us about your book which has got published in June!
Thanks for asking. The title pretty well sums it up: In Faster, Fewer, Better Emails, I’ve provided strategies and tactics for managing the overwhelming volume that seems to be zapping just everyone’s productivity these days—as well as creating stress. If you think about it, most business writing today is email writing. Yet many people still struggle to write emails that get results. And some writers treat email so carelessly that they create legal liabilities and security risks. The thing is—many people blame others for their overflowing inbox! They think those terrible people who SEND all those unwanted emails cause the problem.
But our survey of email practices shows that, for the most part, people create their own email overload. So this book gives them many very practical tips to dig their way out of email jail so they can go home every night with an EMPTY email box. All communication handled effectively! What’s to gain—a real career and productivity boost!