Friday, December 13, 2013

My holiday gift to you...a FREE e-book, PLANE-TALK: NETWORKING AT 30,000 FEET


  Use the Time You Spend on the Plane to Network 


For a FREE copy of my new e-book, Plane-Talk: Networking at 30,000 Feet go to


Click on the peel in the upper right hand corner. Fill in your name and email address. Choose your format: MOBI, EPUB or PDF and you can download the copy. It's my holiday gift to you!


If you are like a lot of people this time of the year you will spend time in airports and on airplanes. But you can turn high-flying travel time into a goldmine for meeting new people and making valuable additions to your professional network. Here’s how:

When you first to board the plane take this opportunity to set a friendly tone with the passengers seated around you. Say hello to your neighbors as soon as they “move in.” This is an easy way to break the ice and establish how receptive they may be to conversation. If your seatmate cracks open a book or pulls out some work, be patient. Chances are, you’ll have an opportunity to chat later on in the flight.

If you get the green light to gab from the person, open the conversation with small talk. I often ask, “What takes you to …?” If I get a positive response I pursue it further.

For example, on a recent flight I said “Hello” to the passenger seated next to me and added, “I’m happy to be heading home! Which way are you going—home or away?” Her smile and friendly response, “I’m traveling for business,” was all I needed to continue the conversation. “What kind of business are you in?” I asked. She said, “Selling stuff but my real passion is mentoring girls and young women for scholarship pageants.” After I learned that the contestants have to make short speeches I said, “I’m a professional speaker. Maybe I can help your contestants.”

Through the course of our conversation, born from a simple “Hello,” we each made a business contact and expanded our professional network.

Here are some more tips for networking when you're on an airplane:


  • Say “Hello” to your seatmates right away.
  • Show an interest in where they are going and who they are.

  • Keep your conversation light—don’t try to push a business-related conversation until you know that he or she shares your business interests.
  • Be patient and respectful if your seatmate appears busy or not interested in chatting.

  • If you do share a business interest, introduce yourself and offer to exchange business cards.
  • Keep your voices low. It never hurts to be even more courteous than usual—extra manners go a long way in tight spaces!
  • Follow-up within a week via email, telephone or social media.

You never know who you are seated next to on an airplane until you start a conversation. Of course, every situation is unique and judgment plays a large role when you network at 30,000 feet. Some passengers plan certain tasks to do while they are in the air, and it would be rude to disturb them. But if you’re looking to network with other professionals there are few other places with a more diverse collection of business people than on an airplane...all waiting for you to say “Hello”!

For a FREE copy of my new e-book, Plane-Talk: Networking at 30,000 Feet go to

For more information about how Don Gabor can speak at your upcoming meeting please contact him at 718-768-0824 or  

Don Gabor Conversation Arts Media 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Avoid a Family Feud This Thanksgiving

No doubt about it –– if you and your relatives swap opinions on politically hot buttons issues like ObamaCare, the recent government shutdown, the Tea Party, or the Edward Snowden NSA files, chances are, there’s going to be some fireworks around the dinner table this Thanksgiving. Sure most people have their opinions, but if their comments are caustic, a happy family event can quickly turn into a family feud.

Here are 3 things you can do if an argumentative relative tries to pick a political fight with you at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  

1. Don’t react. Do nothing. Say nothing. Keep your face absolutely blank. This infuriates people whose goal is to get you into an argument so they can vent their anger and try to prove to everyone around the table that your opinions, the people, and the programs you support are completely wrong.

2. After a moment or two of silence, give the person your best-befuddled look as you shift your gaze upwards and shake your head from side to side. This body language says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.” This will drive them to distraction since they can’t fight with you if you don’t respond to their arguments.

3. Finally, let a sly smile spread over your face as you say, “Of course, it’s a free country so we are all entitled to our views, but the Thanksgiving dinner table is not the place to share them.” Then it’s up to you to change the topic to something unrelated to politics. Exasperated and a bit frustrated, the cantankerous relative will probably try to pick a fight with someone else at the table. What a turkey! 

Visit Don's new website and get a free download, "What's Your Networking Style?"

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Would You Like to Get Paid to Speak?

When someone is paid to speak it’s a valuable positioning and marketing tool that casts an aura of expertise over that person. If you want to boost your professional image by speaking, first people will have to know who you are either as an expert in your field, as an author, or as a successful fixture on the volunteer speaking circuit.

Ask yourself:
  • Do you have a particular area of expertise?
  • Why would a particular audience be interested in hearing you speak?
  • Have you experienced a particular event, or have you achieved a particular goal that’s going to resonate with a group of people?
  • Is there something that is critical information that you have and that you can deliver that will help this group succeed?

To start, I recommend testing interest in your topics with a “free-to-fee” strategy for marketing your presentations. Contact and offer to speak for free at local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce and other civic organizations and associations where area business owners attend. These sorts of engagements are win-win situations because not only do they provide you with free advertising to the people and businesses who can hire you, but they give you an opportunity to fine tune your presentation.
When pitching your presentation make sure to include in the title what you are going to talk about with a specific promise that you will deliver to the audience. For example, my workshop Networking to Boost Your Business Contacts tells the subject (networking) with a promise (boost your business contacts). Whatever the promise is in the title of your presentation should be explained thoroughly enough so that the audience will understand how they can benefit and what to expect.

To received an email with a PDF of my workshop handout, “Get Paid to Speak: How to Become a Professional Speaker” please click here. It will help you: 

  • Choose Your Subject   
  • Find Your Market   
  • Pitch Your Presentation  
  • Organize Your Content

Plus, the PDF includes 18 Tips for a Professional and Profitable Presentation. In addition, here are two other excellent resources if you want to learn how to get paid to speak:

The National Speaker’s Association is an association of professional speakers, but anyone can attend their local and national meetings. It focuses on how to succeed in the speaking business and four competencies: Expertise, Eloquence, Enterprise and Ethics. (I have been a member of the NSA since 1991 and was the 2010-2011 President of the NYC Chapter.)

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of meeting locations. There are probably Toastmaster clubs in your area. 

Paid speaking is like any craft; it takes practice and your skills need to be honed before you set out on your own. People who charge themselves with the challenge will find that the golden ring of getting paid for speaking is within reach. But don’t forget: Always give your best material to your audience, regardless of whether the presentation is paid or for free.

If you need help with your presentation, please call Don at 718-768-0824 or contact him at

Don Gabor Conversation Arts Media 718-768-0824  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pitching Posits and Problems to a Panel of Experts Pumps Up Your Profile

Photo by Ed Lefkowicz /

Moderating a select panel of speakers who focus on specific business issues is a fun and effective way to accelerate your visibility and image among your peers, clients and industry.

The role of the moderator is like a Master of Ceremonies; to steward the event from opening statements, introducing the panelists, asking insightful questions, running the Q&A, summarizing the main points, and finally, to closing the event.

Recently I was honored to moderate a business panel in NYC that included three entrepreneurs whose businesses were at different stages. The event was “Three Keys to Success,” and was organized by attorney Scott Eisenberg, president and founder of Swap the Biz, a business networking group for high-level professionals. 

The speakers were: Charles Ferri, Founder and CEO of Star Vodka, MJ Pedone, Founder and CEO of indra public relations, and René Rofé, Founder and CEO of International Intimates Inc.
As a moderator, you are not the main speaker, but you do run the show, so it’s important to do your homework and prepare what you are going to say. Here are some tips that will help you become a successful panel moderator:

  1. Choose speakers with diverse views and experiences. Diversity also includes gender, age and culture that reflect the make-up of the audience.

  1. Pre-interview the members of the panel. This gives you a sense of how comfortable they are at answering questions. Depending on their experience and their nature, some may need more encouragement than others.
  1. Prepare your panel. Send the speakers an agenda that includes how the panel is going to be formatted, some sample open-ended questions and how much time they have to speak. Ask them for a short bio that you will use to introduce them. (Practice your introductions and be sure to check the pronunciation of their names and businesses.)
  1. Know your audience. What levels of experience does your audience have in the subject? What information will make a difference to them? What do they need to know that they don’t know now, have overlooked or forgotten?
  1. Have an opening that sets the theme and focus of the panel. Despite your best efforts, there will be people attending the event that have no idea what the panelists are going to talk about. Part of the job of the moderator is to focus the audience on the objectives and desired outcomes of the panel. Your opening is the first of two “bookends” that frame the panel.
  1. Use technology. Asking people to turn off their cell phones in a meeting is often a futile effort. However, during “Three Keys to Success” we adopted an “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” approach by offering the attendees an alternative to using their cell phones. Each audience member was issued a device that looked like a Blackberry that allowed them to text in answers to survey questions and pitch questions to the panelists. The device was provided by IML Worldwide and was a useful addition to the event.
  1. Keep the speakers on topic. Sometimes speakers can go off on tangents and it’s the moderator’s job to gently nudge them back to the topic. How to tactfully interrupt? Interject a question like: “Could you give us an example?” or “How would you apply that to a specific case?”  Also let them know when it’s their time to finish their answer by giving them a simple hand signal or standing up and showing that you are ready to introduce the next speaker or ask the next question.
  1. Repeat questions from the audience. This is a way to ensure that everyone hears the question and gives the speaker a few extra seconds to consider his or her answer.
  1. At the end of the presentation ask the attendees for their “take-aways.” “What did you get from these speakers? How did it help you? What are you going to do with the information?”  This is a way of summarizing some of the key points of the presentation as well as getting more audience interaction.

  1. Close the program with the key points that really drive home the fact that you have answered the main questions that brought people to the event. Your final statement provides the second “bookend” that brings the panel to a conclusion and gives the presentation a memorable conclusion.

11.  Photograph and video record your event.  Extend the impact of your panel by  posting photos and video of it on your website, blog and via social media.

12.  Write about the panel on your blog or in your company’s newsletter.  Share the highlights and “take-aways” from your panelists for those who couldn’t attend.

One last bit of advice: Don’t forget to thank the speakers, event sponsors and the attendees for coming to listen to your panel.

Need help creating a presentation, moderating a panel or organizing and writing your self-help book or book proposal? Contact Don at 718-768-0824 or for more information. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

IT Pros Who Speak Up Move Up

One of the best ways to stand out in an organization is to become proficient in the language of
public speaking. If you can communicate complex ideas in a series of concise examples, spoken in plain language and with a persuasive delivery, you will see your star start to rise within your team.

The goal is to persuade, not just inform
. There are things that IT professionals do that don’t always translate well to an audience. One characteristic of a technical, analytical mind is to start at the very beginning of a problem and test each step sequentially to the conclusion. That’s fine if you’re writing a set of instructions to carry out a computer program, but an audience is made up of people who may not understand or want all the details.

A CEO listening to your presentation will want to know
how much will it cost, how will it benefit the company and how long will it take to get it done. You need to understand how to take the very most technical aspects of your job and adapt them so that an audience filled with non-techies can be persuaded to go forward with your idea. How do you do that?

WIIFM: What’s in it for me? Using examples, illustrations and speaking in plain language, you will be able to quickly capture your audience’s attention and explain the benefits of the idea that they’re trying to communicate. In plain language:  How will it save money? Save time? Eliminate waste? Increase productivity?

(Plain language: Jargon-free free language absent of things like acronyms, software program names or equipment specifications.)

Know what it is that you want to say—and get to the point quickly.
Technical professionals often have a tendency to feel that content is more important than presentation, which is often not the case from the audience’s perspective. For the best chance of persuading your audience, present more examples of specific points, as opposed to more specific points with fewer examples. In other words, less is more. If you try to do a data dump by just heaving more and more information on top of your audience, you’re going to have less of an impact.

Now put it in context. Great public speakers like to tell stories or provide examples. It’s not enough to open with a great topic sentence. Follow it up with a “For example,” so that the audience understands the context of the main point.

Repeat yourself in a different way. At any given time people’s attention will be drawn away from the speaker by either internal distractions or external distractions. People often want you to repeat, just to make sure that they understand, but they don’t want you to repeat it the same way. There is an old saying that can serve as a template for driving home your point in three different ways:

“Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em. Tell ‘em. Tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em.”

To summarize some thumb rules for public speaking:

  • Know your audience and speak in plain English
  • Speak to the needs of your audience (“What’s in it for them?”)
  • Persuade by explaining benefits
  • Know what you are going to say and get to the point quickly
  • Put the main points in context with examples
  • Repeat the main points in different ways at the conclusion of your presentation

Unfortunately, many good ideas and IT professionals get overlooked in the business world because of poor public speaking skills and lackluster verbal pitches. IT professionals who stand up and communicate their ideas to diverse audiences will advance in their careers. Everyone from the CEO and CFO to shareholders and advertisers are ready to listen. The question is, will you speak up?

Do you have a presentation coming up that you want to be interesting and professional? I can help!
For more information contact Don Gabor at            718-768-0824       or  

Don Gabor Conversation Arts Media