Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed writer Diane Diresta about her career in business, what inspired her to write her book, and the creative process that went into Knockout Presentations.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m Diane DiResta, a communication strategist specializing in making leaders more powerful so that they’re confident clear and influential. My company, DiResta Communications Inc works in the areas of public speaking, interpersonal communication, and media training. I’m the author of Knockout Presentations.
- Certifications: Certified Speaking Professional, Certified Virtual Presenter, Certificate of Clinical Competence-Speech Pathology
- Top 50 Public Speaking blogs-2015
- Speaking Confidently and Effectively-ranked #5 on linkedin’s Top 20 Most Popular Courses.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
In my early 20’s I dreamed of writing a book. I thought it would be fiction. Instead a wrote a non-fiction book which is my body of work.
When did you take a step to start writing?
Once I decided I wanted to write a book about public speaking, I started writing it in my home office in my spare time.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
15 months from idea to finished manuscript. My timing was good when I approached the publisher who was looking for new books for the Fall.
What made you want to write Knockout Presentations?
It was a long time dream. I wanted to share my message with more people and I loved the credibility it gave me.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Knockout Presentations?
I had no writing process so my writing was sporadic. Sometimes days went buy and I didn’t write a word. Other times I would sit at the desk and write all day. I didn’t have a coach or any training as a writer.
What was your research process for Knockout Presentations?
I read other books on the subject and used the internet. Mostly, I drew on my own experience.
How did you plan the structure of Knockout Presentations?
I wrote it as a seminar in a book so I wrote as if I were delivering a workshop. Each chapter addresses a different topic-fear of speaking, organizing a talk, Questions & Answers, etc.
I drilled down from there and provided checklists and Do’s and Don’ts at the end of every chapter.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Knockout Presentations need?
I hired my own editor as I began the process. After it was accepted by a publisher they provided their own editing.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Follow your desire. Don’t listen to naysayers including your own critical voice. First, get clear about your topic and why you want to write a book. Don’t expect to get rich. A book is a great calling card and marketing piece. Of course, you can earn royalties and sell books in the back of the room but don’t expect to live off your earnings. Many books don’t last more than 2 years. Give yourself deadlines and find an accountability partner to keep you motivated. Anybody can be an author. There are so many publishing options.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Knockout Presentations is a book about in-person public speaking. I may write a book about Virtual Presentations.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Writing a book is one of my proudest accomplishments. It was well worth the effort and it is a legacy. It’s been used as a college text, read in the C-Suite and internationally. It gives me credibility as a speaker. A book is a form of thought leadership.
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