May Luncheon – Erica Olson of Speak Simple

The American Business Women’s Association (ABWA) welcomed Erica Olson of Speak Simple as the speaker for their networking luncheon on Thursday, May 14, 2015 from 11:00 -1:00 at Ralph Brennan’s Heritage Grill (111 Veterans Blvd) in New Orleans.

Did you know that American’s fear public speaking above all else? According to multiple surveys, people are more afraid of giving a presentation than they are of death! Despite this fear, giving effective presentations is essential to being perceived as an expert in your field. Olson explained that most of this fear is a result of a misunderstanding of what public speaking means. She reminded us that we constantly give presentations – on the phone, through email, and in the conference room – and those mini-presentations are just as important as speaking in front of large groups.

“The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.” – Voltaire

Ms. Olson, who has coached hundreds of clients through successful presentations, reminded us of the importance of “Speaking Simple.” Some of her tips included: 

  • Focus on your audience. Change your presentation depending on who’s listening.
  • Incorporate as many different learning styles as possible to reach more people. 
  • Manage your time well, and be respectful of the sacrifice your audience made to listen to you speak. No one will complain if your talk take less time than allotted.
  • Prepare, prepare, prepare!
  • Free yourself of crutch words.
  • Use stories to relate to your audience.
  • Employ eye contact. It will make you appear more credible.
  • Stick to 3 main points that people can easily remember.

Erica is a lifetime resident of the New Orleans area and a graduate of the University of New Orleans. She published her first book entitled, Speak Simple – The Art of Simplifying Technical Presentationsin December of 2013. Before founding Speak Simple, Olson crafted her skills working with Audubon Zoo’s Outreach Education programs and gave over a thousand presentations to audiences ranging from toddlers to retirees and everything in between. Erica is an expert when it comes to interpreting complex terminology and technical lingo. She learned the do’s and don’ts of presentations not only by doing, but by coaching youth and adult volunteers as they shared their animal knowledge to zoo visitors and audience members. olsen-slide3


Elections – The membership voted on the new ABWA Crescent City Connections Executive Board at the May luncheon. We are very excited to welcome an exciting new group of women into leadership positions for the upcoming year. Click here for information about the new executive board.

Women Can Drive – The first annual ABWA CCC Development and Networking Conference will be held on October 8, 2015 at NOLA Motorsports Park.

President’s Certificate of Merit – Jeanne Bergeron. Click here for details.

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Click here for more information about attending an ABWA luncheon.



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