Diane Darling

Professional Networking Strategist, McGraw-Hill Author, LinkedIn Aficionado at Diane Darling

Professional Training and Coaching

Education: Principia College
Boston, MA, USA


Many event planners have faced the frustration and disappointment of attendees who spend the majority of their time on their phones, even during networking breaks. That's where Diane Darling comes in. She is an energetic speaker who specializes in getting people to interact with each other in real life.

Diane has worked with a range of clients, including Yale Law School, Harvard Business School, 20th Century Fox, Fidelity Investments, American Bar Association, European Cardiology Society, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, TD Bank, Bank of America, Citizens Bank, Center for Women in Law, Canadian Consulate, Arts and Business Council, Zoho, Haynes Boone, Mintz, Cooley, SMU Dedman Law, Stanford Alumni, London School of Economics Alumni, Case Western Alumni, Avnet, C_Space, American Airlines, American Heart Association, and Harvard Law School.

Diane's talks are lively, informative, and impactful, and help attendees gain the confidence to step out of their comfort zones and engage with others at events. She includes interactive exercises that make people laugh and engage without feeling uncomfortable.


One of Diane's passions is helping others realize they have a talent or skill they have overlooked or devalued. She finds it fabulous to witness!

Diane is a problem solver at heart. Her brain starts chugging away when she hears there's a question or issue. For example, when a guy said he felt left out of conversations because he didn't understand football - she created a workshop called Watercooler Football .... it even ended up on CBS Sunday Morning.

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I am willing to travel

More than 100 miles

When it comes to payments

I generally get paid for speaking but make exceptions


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Best Story

The Wall Street Journal featured Diane's workshop in an article on December 4, 2001. NBC Nightly News called to see about doing a segment on her workshops and that same day McGraw-Hill called asking if she'd like to write a book.

Amazing day!

Origin Story

As someone who went to 15 schools before college, Diane knows what it feels like to be the new kid. She wants to help people feel included. That led her to host workshops teaching people how to build community, and connections, both personally and professionally.

Example talks


“I am a tough critic and Diane is the best of the best. Her content was brilliant, and her delivery was exceptional.”

Grover Cleveland – Attorney, Speaker, and Author

“Diane teaches that generating clients isn't a matter of closing ‘sales’; it's a matter of building relationships with people you want to help and who want to help you.”

Beth Boland – Partner, Foley & Lardner

“…I learned networking the hard way, at one gruesome party after another. You can learn the easy way with Diane Darling’s book.”

Bob Metcalfe – Professor at University of Texas

Today’s Contacts > Tomorrow’s Clients - How to Get More Referrals

Wouldn’t it be amazing to get clients by picking
up the phone or opening your email to hear, ‘you were recommended by _____ and I’d like to hire you.’

Why does that person refer business your way? If it’s happening, how can you make it happen more often? If it’s not, how can you turn that around?

You’ll learn how to be strategic and tactical about building, staying in touch with your contacts and turning them into clients (or referral sources).

Key takeaways include:

- When is the best time to ask for a referral
- Why do people remember you
- Ways to stay above the social media noise and be known as an expert
- Tips to leverage LinkedIn to increase your visibility
- Ways to evaluate organizations to join and whether it is worth it
- Where to start if asking for referrals makes you cringe
- #1 mistake people make when interacting with their referral sources

Effective Networking Strategies

Whether you are an executive or starting out in your career, having a solid network that you can leverage is vital. Yet few law schools include courses about building and maintaining relationships.

Effective networking is more than handing out business cards, having a LinkedIn profile, and hoping the phone rings. Whether you’re looking to connect within your organization, your industry, or are looking to get on boards, knowing who to contact – and having them return your call is essential.

You’ll better understand how to create and maintain an effective network both in-person and online.

Key takeaways include:

- Better understanding of what networking is (and isn’t)
- Ways to get started when you haven’t been in touch with people in your past
- Tools and apps to organize your contacts so you can stay in touch
- Overview of LinkedIn, how to set up a profile, and the elements to include
- Identifying organizations and events that are worth your time, money, and effort
- Clarifying the results you can expect from networking
- Building alliances with others who can help you advance your career

Mastering Public Speaking Skills

Research says that more people would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy. Public speaking is Warren Buffett’s #1 skill for professional success.

Whether you are giving a speech or asking a question in a meeting, public speaking is at the core of your ability to do your job. There are two aspects – content and delivery. Knowing what to say is part of it – saying it well makes it memorable and is more often when things go wrong. It is normal to feel nervous and/or anxious. It is detrimental if that fear is paralyzing.

You’ll learn how to embrace your nerves, find ways to move up the public speaking ladder, and gain confidence.

Key takeaways include:

- Ways to embrace natural nervous and speak up
- Places to practice public speaking within your industry and outside
- What makes a good speech and how to deliver one
- PowerPoint, handouts, and other materials – when to use them or avoid them
- Top mistakes speakers make and how to avoid them
- Dealing with the biggest competitor in today’s audiences – the mobile phone
- Tips to deal with Q&A

Difficult Conversations – How to Have Them When Needed and Best Ways to Avoid Them in the Future

Perhaps it is telling a client something they don’t want to hear or giving feedback when a colleague made a mistake. That knot in your stomach when you know you need to say something that’s uncomfortable … we’ve all been there.

Difficult conversations typically take place when we have sidestepped a topic or issue and now it has escalated into a more significant concern. Emotions can trip up the situation. As the initiator of the conversation, you’ll want to set the tone and steer the outcome.

You’ll better understand how to have difficult conversations as well as practice a real-case scenario.

Key takeaways include:

- Separating a difficult conversation from a difficult person why that’s key to the outcome
- Ways to be prepared emotionally as well as with the information to be shared
- How to build the confidence that helps you prepare for future conversations
- What to do if the situation escalates and gets emotional
- Why selecting the location and timing of your conversation is imperative
- Essential ways to wrap up a difficult conversation
- What to do for yourself when the conversation is over

Personal Branding in an Ever-Changing World

Tiffanys, Starbucks, Apple, Martha Stewart to name a few – they all spend billions defining and reinforcing their brand. What can you learn from them and what is your personal brand?

Simply stated, your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room. Each time you interact with others you reinforce, alter and impact your reputation and how others feel about you. There are intentional ways for you to take charge of your brand instead of having others decide it for you.

You’ll better understand how to create your personal brand and keep it relevant as your career develops.

Key takeaways include:

- Better understanding of what a personal brand is and why it’s important
- Ways to learn what your brand is and does it match what you want it to be
- What your LinkedIn profile says about your personal brand
- Non-verbal messages you send with your appearance, email messages, body language
- Action steps to take when your brand needs a refresh
- Strategies when you make a mistake – think Felicity Huffman or Martha Stewart
- Building your own personal board of advisors and how to engage them

Self-Leadership: What It Is and Why It’s Important for You

We assume if we are doing a good job someone will notice, promote us, and help to advance our career – it’s called the Tiara Syndrome. The phrase was first coined by Deborah Kolb and Carol Frohlinger in their book, *New Girl on the Job*.

Hope is not a strategy. You need to be the CEO of your professional life and strategically make decisions instead of being at the mercy of the economy or other factors. While it is possible someone will put a tiara on you, it is more likely you’ll need to self-advocate in order to succeed.

You’ll better understand how to create and implement a career plan, speak about your accomplishments in an authentic way, and ways to deal with inevitable setbacks.

Key takeaways include:

- Top skills leaders need and how to get them
- Ways to get visibility in your organization, industry, and other settings
- Better understanding the difference between self-promotion and self-advocacy
- How and why you need to build a team of champions
- Ways to stay insert yourself in a conversation
- Challenge introverts face and tips to succeed
- Learning to adapt when the time is best to follow rather than lead

How to Navigate an Event

Whether it is a fundraiser, professional gathering, client dinner, or even your cousin’s wedding, attending events is a part of your life – both professional and personal. Extroverts love them; introverts tolerate them at best.

You’ll learn how to walk in with confidence, engage people in conversation, and leave knowing you have made a positive impression.

Key takeaways include:

- How to pick events that are worth your time and effort
- Learn the best time to arrive
- Discover ways to get into conversations (as well as exit with tact)
- Tips to remembering names
- What body language says and why it’s important to know
- Strategies to connect with keynote speakers and other VIPs
- Ways to juggle a plate of appetizers and glass of wine