Diane Windingland is a professional speaker at Small Talk Big Results, where she gives keynote and motivational speeches for business organizations. She is also a speech and presentation coach at virtualspeechcoach.com. Diane is the author of several books on speaking and communication, including her most recent book, “The Respect Virus: How to Create a Contagious Culture of Respect.”
In this interview, Diane begins by walking us through the essentials of small talk: listen, learn, and like. She describes an effective three-step process for breaking the ice, known as O.R.A: observe, reveal, ask. Diane talks about the importance of asking clarifying questions, and gives some examples. She also explains how to recognize different communication styles, and how to change your conversational approach depending on whether someone is more introverted or extroverted.
Next, we ask Diane how people can become more effective and engaging networkers. She talks about knowing what you want, networking with the right crowd, researching a target person, and being aware of your social media presence. Diane then explains what to look for in the body language of people in conversation. She offers tips for knowing when and how to enter a group conversation. She also provides some strategies for improving your storytelling skills.
Finally, Diane walks us through the L.E.A.P formula for dealing with difficult people: listen, empathize, agree, partner. She also discusses the four main qualities of excellent leaders, known as the four E’s: expectation, encouragement, empowerment, and empathy. As a last tip, Diane encourages people to be more vulnerable in order to establish trust and openness with others.