Professional Presentations that Break the Mold
Toni Halleen combines serious with fun. Her workshops for lawyers and other professionals are based on improv comedy and interactive learning. Toni is the co-owner of Schaefer Halleen law firm, a plaintiff-side, contingent fee litigation firm representing individuals and groups in employment discrimination and retaliation matters. Toni worked as an employment law attorney on the defense side and as in-house counsel for many years, and brings her unique perspective to the practice.
Toni is currently the Chief Operating Officer at Schaefer Halleen, where she works to build a fun work environment for a super team of lawyers and staff providing excellent legal representation to clients facing employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, whistleblower and other workplace claims.
This is a unique interactive workshop specifically designed for professionals. The session is rooted in the “8 Rules of Improv.” This workshop helps participants build communication and effectiveness skills such as listening, thinking under pressure, and speaking spontaneously, as well as skills for more effectively working in teams, building trust and understanding, adapting to change, and solving problems creatively. The objectives include allowing participants to discover and identify their own habits and strengths in all of these areas that we deal with on a daily basis, and to incorporate tips and strategies to put into practice immediately to increase effectiveness, confidence, and creativity.
During the Think on the Spot program, we learn the basic principles and then get up on our feet and participate in games, challenges, and exercises that allow us to make discoveries and practice skills. Along the way, we laugh and have fun, but the learning is happening all the while. At each stage, we discuss the exercises and the application to daily professional and personal life. A key component of the workshop is the connection between the exercises, the skills being developed, and daily work.
Listening is at the heart of all communication and can improve effectiveness immediately. When we listen, we typically listen for three things: the facts, the feelings and the point. This workshop allows participants to discover their own preferences of listening styles and to develop strategies that facilitate enhanced listening and concentration, especially in situations that are stressful or demanding.
This program can help participants to:
- Concentrate and pay attention to the spoken word
- Recognize body language and context
- Make eye contact
- Let others talk and don’t interrupt
- React and respond
- Withhold judgment and accept new ideas
- Improve ability to connect with others
Building on her popular Think on the Spot™ session, this interactive workshop will identify strategies to help professionals make more effective presentations by being more poised and confident, using a natural delivery, using impactful voice and posture, and maximizing personal style and credibility. Many of us dread making presentations or speaking in public, and some of us are overcome with fear or nerves. This session will assist participants to manage the fear and use the nerves, as well as strategies to:
- Be memorable and gain attention
- Minimize bad habits
- Handle questions and other audience issues
- Take advantage of non-verbal tools, such as body posture, eye contact and gestures
- Improve the speaking voice for maximum impact
- Develop confidence and credibility
Whether we are speaking to a board of directors, a group of clients, a jury, or the department staff, we as professionals must be able to convey our message and connect with the audience in order to be effective. Toni’s upbeat, interactive workshop is a safe and fun environment for practicing these strategies for speaking success in any situation.
Developing business seems to come naturally to some of us, but not all. How can we discover and enhance our business development skills? This interactive workshop will identify strategies and skills to help professionals become more effective and feel more comfortable in business development and networking activities. Learn how Think on the Spot! improv techniques can help you build critical skills for connecting with others, listening to their needs, and speaking about what you have to offer. This workshop will assist participants to:
- Trust in their ability and knowledge base
- Be confident in meeting new people and talking to anyone
- Learn how to say YES and enhance networking abilities
- Use listening skills and question-asking strategies to build connections
- Find ways to offer your skills and abilities
When women gather, we find power in supporting one another and when we do, our level of fun and encouragement can energize the entire room. This workshop is tailored for women’s groups or women-focused organizations and is designed to build communication skills, creativity and confidence for women in professional settings. Despite our advances, women are still negatively stereotyped as either too passive, too emotional, or too bossy in our communication and leadership styles. Using the rules of improv, Toni’s workshops allow participants to discover and explore tips and strategies for effectiveness that they can put into action immediately.
Toni also works directly with coaching individuals in professional development in all of the above topics, including professional communication skills, presentation skills, being effective under pressure, listening and concentration, and networking skills. Coaching programs are tailored to the individual’s needs and interests, and fees vary based on the elements of the coaching. We typically utilize email, Skype, and in-person meetings (as possible).
Toni Halleen is a writer of fiction, music, non-fiction and poetry. Her play, Soulless Bloodsucking Lawyers (a Musical) was the most attended show at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2003 and was also voted Best Musical that year, and later played to sold-out audiences at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater. Parts of the show have been presented as fun entertainment at law firm retreats and legal association events and fund-raisers.
Some of Toni’s written stories and essays have been published in Structo Magazine and the Star Tribune. You can watch her give a reading at the Loft Literary Center. In 2013, Toni won a Loft Literary Center Mentor Program Prize in 2013.
Watch this video to see Toni in action. Hear participants’ testimony about the fun and usefulness of this powerful workshop.