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About Diane

Bio for Meeting Planners

Author. Speaker. Engineer. Business Owner. Salesperson. Wife. Mom. Daughter. Friend. Home Educator. Karate Instructor. Workshop Presenter. Toastmaster.

In Diane’s many roles in business and other aspects of life, there has been one constant: communication. She has found that the most meaningful, and often the most difficult communication has been face-to-face conversation.

Diane is also a presentation coach.

In 2009, in the midst of a failing business (as a reseller of IT equipment), I asked myself how I could put food on the table for my family and started looking in the employment section of the classified ads. I hadn’t worked for someone else since 1987, when I left my job as an engineer for General Dynamics. The ad that caught my eye that day was “Wanted: Dynamic Public Speakers” for a local college.

I had just achieved the highest educational award in Toastmasters, Distinguished Toastmaster, and I’d won a few speech contests, so I thought I’d give it a go. After spending $11 on business attire at a Salvation Army Store, I passed a series of auditions and training and became a workshop speaker for the college.

Another speaker for the college suggested I check out the Apprentice program at the Minnesota Chapter of the National Speakers Association. So, that fall I began the journey of becoming a professional speaker. The only problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted to speak on. I thought about all my experiences:  engineer, business owner, fundraiser, speaker, karate instructor, homeschooling parent, caregiver, etc.

What did they all have in common?


I am passionate about communication. Effective communication can make people feel accepted, valued and understood.  Small talk, the little conversations between sales people and customers, and between employees, leads to closer relationships and more significant results (more commitment, more collaboration, more cash). Unfortunately we live in a world where people set up communication barriers. They avoid, ignore, irritate and offend others, often unintentionally.

I want to help people learn how to be approachable, how to initiate and sustain conversation and move it to a deeper level, overcoming differences for mutual benefit. Face-to-Face interactions are important and cannot be completely replaced by technology-enabled communications or social media.

Small talk can lead to big results, but it is more than just a means to an end. Small talk is a way to encourage a world where people feel accepted and free to connect without judgment. I’m a speaker who can help you take the art of small talk and turn it into the effective practice of small talk. Imagine the difference in your organization when the barriers to effective communication come tumbling down.

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