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Skills-Building Seminars

I'm pleased to report that my seminar, From Panic to Poise: Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals, earned the Best Tutorial Award at the 2009 EuroStar conference in Stockholm (see #3 below). This seminar is based on my 7th book, Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals: Achieving Excellence.

If you’d like to discuss a seminar, please contact me by

I can also present seminar topics as a keynote presentation.

The seminars described in detail below include:

1. Managing Customer Expectations  
2. Introducing, Managing, and Coping with Change
3. From Panic to Poise: Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals
4. Making Sense of Introversion and Extraversion
5. Smorgasbord Seminar

These seminars:

Generate improvements in personal, team, and organizational effectiveness.
Help you attain specific objectives such as strengthened teamwork or more skillful presentations.
Include case studies, activities, and practice sessions to reinforce key points.
Can be customized to address your specific needs and concerns.
Blend process and content so as to build cooperation and teamwork.
Provide examples of what has and hasn’t worked in other organizations.
Include action-oriented guidelines that you can put to use immediately.
Help you develop a plan of action for creating specific, tangible improvements.
Will make you laugh while you learn!!!

My newsletter, Perceptions & Realities, and my books provide additional information on seminar topics.

1. Managing Customer Expectations

What do customers want, anyway? The answer need not be a mystery. As important as it is to deliver solutions on-time and within budget, it can be even more important to focus on how you treat your customers. Strikingly often, it is this human element of service delivery that has the greatest impact on customer satisfaction. In fact, seemingly small measures can cause customer satisfaction to soar to the top of the chart - or plunge to the bottom. Drawing from both the fundamentals of human behavior and complex organizational realities, this topic describes policies and practices that contribute to a high level of customer satisfaction.

Sample topics:

  • Understanding the customer perspective
  • High-impact customer pleasers and customer grievances
  • Asking the right questions and asking the questions right
  • Guidelines for building strong relationships
  • Listening as an expectations-managing tool
  • Strategies and techniques for becoming a skilled Expectations Manager
Related resources:

    My book, Managing Expectations
    My book, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them
    Articles on managing customer expectations
    Newsletter articles in Perceptions & Realities newsletter


2. Introducing, Managing and Coping with Change

In uncertain times, such as that triggered by technological or organizational change, people have a strong need to know what’s happening and how it will affect them. Yet, so often, communication in the form of information, empathy, reassurance and feedback is lacking. This topic helps you understand the strategies and practices that will help you successfully introduce change, manage change efforts, and cope with change when you’re on the receiving end. Models are presented that explain both the cerebral and visceral experience of change. Using these models, we’ll look at interventions to use - or to avoid using - to minimize the turbulence of change and expeditiously attain positive outcomes. The techniques presented will also help you more capably and confidently deliver bad news, gain buy-in for your ideas, and handle stressful situations.

Sample topics:

  • The intellectual vs. the emotional experience of change
  • Differences in how individuals respond to change
  • Change models that elucidate the experience of change
  • Tactics that accelerate (or hinder) the change effort
  • Techniques and practices for implementing, influencing and coping with change
  • Guidelines for becoming a skilled Change Artist
Related resources:

    My book, Changing How You Manage and Communicate Change: Focusing on the Human Side of Change
    My book, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them
    Newsletter articles in Perceptions & Realities newsletter


3. From Panic to Poise: Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals

Do you panic at the thought of giving a presentation? Are you skilled at presenting, but eager to strengthen your delivery? Is your speaking confidence in need of an upgrade?

Technical professionals aren't known for having the greatest presentation skills. Yet the ability to communicate articulately, whether to your coworkers at a team meeting or to an audience of hundreds at a conference, can significantly enhance your credibility, clout, and professional status. Delivering a presentation at work or at professional events is an opportunity to share your insights, convey important information, and gain a reputation as an expert in your topic.

As a highly experienced professional speaker who recalls what it was like to be terrified of public speaking, I offer guidelines, ideas and advice to help you become a proficient presenter.

Sample topics:

  • Presentation anxiety and how to tame it
  • Attributes of well-delivered presentations
  • How to develop engaging content
  • Logistical preparations
  • Guidelines for presenting with confidence and competence
  • Designing and using slides effectively
  • Tips for presenting to management, customers and others
Related resources

    My book, Presentation Skills for Technical Professionals: Achieving Excellence
    Article: Boring Triggers Snoring
    Article: Crash Course in Proficient Presenting
    Article: Strengthening Your Speaking Savvy


4. Making Sense of Introversion and Extraversion

The introvert/extravert dynamic is a complex one. Introverts and extraverts typically exhibit significant differences in behavior, interaction preferences and work style. And the two often differ in what, when, and how they communicate. These differences pose special challenges in IT organizations because introverts are represented far out of proportion to their numbers in the general population, yet a large proportion of IT customers (and, of course, some IT employees) are extraverts. These differences frequently lead to frayed nerves and ruffled feathers. Worse, they can lead to misunderstandings, extreme frustration, damaged relationships, reduced productivity and flawed results. This topic helps participants dramatically improve their understanding of this dynamic so as to work effectively with their more introverted or extraverted colleagues and customers.

Sample topics:

  • An in-depth look at the attributes and behaviors of introverts and extraverts
  • Misconceptions each has of the other
  • The perceptions each has of the other - both the positive and the negative
  • What each would most appreciate from the other
  • Tools and techniques for working together productivity
  • How to collaborate so everyone can do their best work
Related resources:

    My book, Communication Gaps and How to Close Them
    My ebook, How to Survive, Excel and Advance as an Introvert
    Newsletter articles in Perceptions & Realities newsletter


5. Smorgasbord Seminar

This is a chance to design your own seminar in “one from column A, two from Column B” style. If two of the above seminars include topics of interest, let’s combine these topics into a single have-it-your-way seminar that focuses on what's most important to you and skips the rest. If this idea appeals to you, contact me by

Karten Associates
Randolph, Mass., USA

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