Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Autodesk, Inc.
Angela DeFinis has been a valued consultant with Autodesk since 1992. She has worked on many important communication and leadership initiatives and has always produced results of the highest quality. Angela was instrumental in the design and delivery of our early leadership and employee programs, which defined the company culture that has supported Autodesk’s success.
Because Autodesk prides itself on the success of its channel sales structure we have engaged once again with DeFinis Communications to train our resellers in presentation skills—and the results are astounding! The resellers are far more polished, professional, and customer focused in presenting our products and services. There is no question that her work has contributed to the success of the channel sales effort.
Autodesk is a stronger and more successful company because of the contributions of Angela and the highly talented DeFinis team. We are proud to work with a partner who believes in continuous improvement and provides consistent high quality results—we think it’s magic!
Glen D. Vondrick
When I was CEO at Sendmail, we engaged with DeFinis Communications to gain their insight and learn their methods for improving the “first impression” our technical services team makes when presenting our products to highly skilled technical buyers. There is a natural tendency for technical savvy engineers to shy away from being viewed as too “salesy” in front of their equally technical savvy customers, so there was some initial reluctance by the team to participate in a presentation skills workshop.
Angela DeFinis is a true professional and a masterful teacher, able to persuade people from various backgrounds and experience how her proven methods can dramatically improve anyone’s presentation skills. As a result, every member of our technical team has flourished since taking the class. Their improved confidence and professionalism in presenting one on one, or one to many, is remarkably noticeable, resulting in immediate impact to our sales achievements and role as trusted advisors to our technical customers.
Every member of the team considers the experience one of the best career enhancement workshops they have ever been part of and are asking for periodic refresher courses not only for them, but also for their non-technical colleagues whom they work with together as a team. They’ve come away feeling they really know how to shine in making the optimal first impression. They have learned that the power of the presentation has at least as much impact as the technical content knowledge they possess when wanting to convey key information to audiences.
I am impressed with DeFinis Communications. But I am not surprised. I have worked with Angela DeFinis in other companies over the years and have long learned that she is a true master of her art!
Silicon Technology Speech Writer
As a corporate speechwriter and in my previous role as president of the National Speakers Association Northern California Chapter I have worked with a number of speech coaches over the years. Angela DeFinis stands out because she is relentless in driving for results. Her Line by Line Coaching™ process is powerful and challenging, yet she is engaging, fun to work with, and compassionate. I have seen remarkable improvements in the speaking skills of both emerging and seasoned speakers—and having been on the receiving end of this coaching process, in my own presentation skills as well. Angela is every speaker’s secret weapon. If you want to accelerate as a public speaker you want her and the DeFinis team by your side.
Culinary Writer, Cookbook Author, and Public Health Consultant. Her books include: i scream SANDWICH!, Sweet and Skinny, Wine Lover’s Dessert Cookbook, Without Reservations, Farmers’ Market Desserts
I have stood up in front of an audience many times over the years—training health care workers, introducing a speaker, presenting the findings of a report. More recently, those presentations have gone into high gear with appearances and cooking demonstrations to promote my cookbooks. In the past, I always faced those occasions with dread.
Along came Angela DeFinis of DeFinis Communications and today I am a new person, eager to stand up and share my ideas with the world. And I’m not afraid! It’s a moment I never expected to see.
Out on the road promoting my first cookbook, I was certain I’d be “found out” to be an imposter and would never have an opportunity to speak, or even write, again. That’s when I found Angela. In a half-day private session, she coaxed me in soothing tones to stand in front of her and speak. She taught me how to gesture with my hands, stop shifting side to side, look straight at the audience, and speak with conviction. She taught me the elements of the Connection Loop: how to draw the audience in and leave them wanting more.
Suddenly, I found myself looking forward to speaking engagements. When an audience member commented, “You must be a professional speaker,” I knew I had arrived!
I can’t imagine a more enjoyable and supportive way to move through one of the most frightening personal challenges. The joy of being able to speak convincingly and have an audience love you—that’s beyond words!
Dede Henley Norris
Dede Henley and Associates, Seattle, Washington
Angela DeFinis is simply the best speaking and presentation coach I have ever worked with. She is fierce and clear in her feedback, patient and good-natured when helping to refine the content and ideas, and playful and professional when teaching new ways of being in front of an audience. As a result of working with Angela I have taken my speaking to a whole new level.
I just had to send you some feedback on your program now that I've just given another presentation—I can barely begin to tell you what an improvement this made for me! I think there are a few things that are still gelling in my head, but I have made a rather unexpected discovery: When I have the audience engaged well enough with eye contact and, more important, a message that is entertaining as well as educational, I don’t have to worry so much about working from a script!
I have just completed a seminar demo for three different customers that was 180 degrees away from what it would have been two weeks ago: I felt very under prepared for it going in, and basically wrote down the picks and clicks for the parts that I had too little time to practice. But with the addition of a good hook (I did find a way to use the story of building my ‘parachute’ when I was 7), another story, and a good analogy sprinkled in, I found that I was getting so much interaction from the audience that if I had to glance down at my notes for a second here and there no one noticed—not even me! With a couple of stories thrown in I had the audience in the palm of my hand in a way I have never experienced. I have even figured out how to smile, I think! Suddenly I find myself wishing I did have a camera.
Jon Oellrich - Mechanical Applications Engineer, PacifiCAD Inc.
Thank you so much for your extraordinarily helpful, insightful, and eye-opening coaching on Tuesday. You managed to squeeze so much into our short time together. I think by the end I was slightly overwhelmed, but in the good way that follows absorbing lots of great information. Your message is slowly sinking in: slow down, focus, slow down, shorter sentences, slow down, smart hands. Did I mention slow down? Short, snappy thoughts. Think haiku, not historical biography.
Go for specifics. And practice. Practice! It’s very odd to talk out loud to yourself, but if I had any doubts that it was worth it, all I have to do is watch your DVD (most helpful—thank you) and it’s immediately apparent that practice is a good thing.
Once again, my sincere thanks for your most gracious, generous coaching. You made it look easy and even more important, possible, so I will keep at it, inspired to deliver my upcoming talk now equipped with the skills that the
Mija Riedel, Writer, Researcher
I must tell you that this week of web and in-person demos has been a great success thanks to your class.
My first demonstrations were via the web. I stuck to the script developed in your class, got up a few times during the call as if I was in front of people, and made sure to use the closing techniques.
After the calls, the Autodesk rep called me back and told me there was a vast improvement in my delivery.
On the road, I alarmed the Autodesk rep I was with during an in-person appointment with a room of 10 people when I stood up during my demo and gestured to the screen and to the audience, always maintaining eye contact (one, two, three....), and always trying to slow down. Afterwards, the rep told me that there was an incredible difference in my presentation. He could clearly see the points I was trying to communicate, and he thought this had definitely brought our odds up in regards to closing deals.
Thank you so much for your work in developing these skills. It has allowed me to focus on the customer and our products. I no longer have to worry about where my hands should go, whether I am speaking too fast, or how I should handle objections.
I hope that at this moment you are sending other trainees through the “wedge of fear!”
Keith Pierce - Technical Specialist, Autodesk Construction and Real Estate Industry Solutions
Once again, I so much appreciate your teaching skills. I ended up speaking to over 300 people in Salt Lake City. They loved me and it is largely due to what I learned from you. I spoke all over the South and Midwest. I started off with a 15 minute story, interspersed relevant, sometimes amusing, stories throughout the six hours, and ended with a great story. (In Alabama, several of the evaluations read ‘I didn’t want to get up to use the bathroom because I might miss one of Dr. O’Reilly’s stories.’) Of course, I prepared to the max and the stories all highlighted the often boring clinical information. So thanks again. I am doing a major presentation (Grand Rounds on the Charlie Manson cult of all things) in October. There is no shortage of stories on that topic! You would be most welcome to attend.
Thanks again. I learned such an incredibly valuable skill from you!