"Thanks to Kristi, we are having better business discussions and internal communications have improved dramatically."

Carlos Velez Conty, Director of Manufacturing

Success Stories

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Esther Szabo
(Founder & CEO, Gates Pass Advisors)

Esther Szabo founded Gates Pass Advisors to fill a specific need she saw around her: Helping families and women in transition address and manage their financial needs.

With over 20 years of financial planning experience, Esther is an expert in her field, confident in her knowledge and passionate about her work. She has clear, well-informed opinions on her chosen field and even enjoys speaking in front of groups of people. But Esther was never sure that she had a subject that others would find interesting or valuable. Like many of us, she didn't know she had a topic that anyone would want to listen to.

Enter Kristi

Enter Kristi and KLR Consulting.

"I knew Kristi from our ProVisors meetings, and I had seen her in action, giving her 30-second elevator pitch and a Powerful Presentations talk." Esther had been considering doing more public speaking, and thought Kristi could be just the coach she needed to help her develop several talks.

"One of the first things Kristi did was to confirm that there is an audience for my subject matter, that I have interesting and valuable information to present!"

Finding Focus: The Message and Content

As Esther likes to put it, Kristi helped her to focus "on the meat of my message. What was really important and what was getting in the way of that."

Esther, like so many who are experts in a subject, had a tendency to want to go deep, which can easily lose the attention of the audience.

She says, "When you know a subject well, and are passionate about it, you want to share everything you know. Kristi helped me to understand that I needed to build my talk based on what was important to each audience." Speakers often think about what they want to share, rather than what the audience wants, or needs, to hear.

Kristi would remind Esther as they worked, "that I ideally I wanted to pique their interest with my talk, give them some good information, but leave them curious to know more."

Kristi also helped Esther understand the importance of using stories in her presentations. "I realized that I have so many stories, and that connecting my audience to the human aspects would make a potentially abstract subject come alive."

They also worked specifically on Esther's open and close. "I hadn't really realized that a compelling opening and a strong close could make or break a presentation."

Practice, Practice, Practice: Pace, Body Language, How to Interact

Although Esther is fairly comfortable speaking in front of an audience, practice was still critical. "Kristi really helped me understand the value of practice and preparation."

Kristi and Esther worked together in person and over the phone. Kristi would make suggestions; Esther would go away and practice, then come back and run through it with Kristi again. One of the things Kristi and Esther worked on was where to slow her speech down, and where to pause. Esther says, "You don't realize how much faster you are talking when you are presenting, and it's hard for the audience to understand you like that." They discussed Esther's gestures and her movement, as well.

Kristi also helped Esther with audience interaction and participation. Esther says, "I was taken by surprise when people in the audience interacted, so Kristi worked with me on anticipating questions, brainstorming potential questions so I wouldn't be caught off guard, and how to react in general to audiences who were participatory." All the preparation and practice helped too, ensuring that she knew her material extremely well, which makes it more comfortable to interact with an audience.

"Kristi helped me to hone my message to the essentials, identify stories to engage my audience, practiced with me over and over again, and gave me the tools I need to be a successful presenter. Anyone who needs to present should definitely work with Kristi!"

Speaking Success

Her initial talk was a huge success, and Esther is looking forward to more.

"Kristi is so incredibly supportive, and really committed to her clients' success. She takes all the time you need to feel confident in your presentation and your presentation skills."

Esther has found that she is bringing some of her new skills into the rest of her work, as well. "I'm using stories more when I network or work with clients. And I'm actually keeping a story journal, another of Kristi's suggestions, so that I have plenty of material for my next talk."

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