Events & Red Carpet

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Pinnacle Performance Company   Volume 5 Issue 1

How Do You Lead a Horse to Water?

Unlocking the Secrets to Being Influential

Charisma is a much sought after, yet elusive trait for many. It can difficult to describe on its own, but when encountering those that possess it, it is undeniable. They are the people that light up rooms, sway voters, or become figureheads. What makes certain people more influential and successful than others? Is charisma actually a skill that can be learned?

Pinnacle certainly believes so, and so do John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut, authors of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us influential. Unsurprisingly, Neffinger and Kohut make the case that others’ perceptions of you and your decisions are the most important factors in determining how successful and influential you are, oftentimes more important than the results of your actions. They make a strong argument for the power of confident, assertive body language and a level of self-awareness that aligns with the opinions of those around you. None of this should come as a shock to anyone that’s participated in a Pinnacle workshop.

What is fascinating about Compelling People is the authors distill “influence” down to two main qualities: strength and warmth.

Strength, as defined in the book, is “a person’s capacity to make things happen with abilities and force of will.” Productivity and accomplishment are powerful motivators, and strength demonstrates the capability to get results.

Warmth is defined as “the sense a person shares our feelings, interests, and view of the world.” Essentially, we like people who are like us.

Strength garners respect, warmth reaps support. When someone simultaneously projects both qualities, we look to them for leadership while investing our trust they have our best interests at heart.

While examining many of the world’s most influential people, it may be hard to describe these qualities in such concrete terms (like trying to describe a color); but that doesn’t mean the effects are a complete mystery. Why then, when there are so many examples of influential people, is the combination of these two qualities so rare? The authors argue it is for two reasons:

Our self-perceptions don’t match how others view us. Accurate self-awareness is a difficult boon to acquire. It requires much self-reflection, open-mindedness and objective critique. Many people already feel they possess the necessary qualities to be great leaders, but may, in the view of colleagues or friends, lack one or both of the above qualities.

Influence requires walking a fine line. Finding the sweet spot on the strength/warmth tightrope is difficult. Too strong and you’re overbearing. Not strong enough and you’re a pushover. Too warm and you seem too eager-to-please. Not warm enough and people think you’re cold. Inhabiting the “Goldilocks zone” in the middle of both is a delicate balance.

We know the Pinnacle Method works. It’s been used, consciously and unconsciously, by influential people for millennia. Compelling People helps to further codify the cause and effect with observational science. Red Carpet recommends the book to anyone looking to gain more insight into being a better leader (after you read The Pin Drop Principle, of course).



Bookwallah143 Million. That’s the number of orphans in the world.

Bookwallah believes in improving the lives of orphaned children and the lives around them by opening their world to imagination, fostering creativity, encouraging exploration and promoting innovation within their society, through the power and magic of storybooks.

Founded in 2009 by Seena Jacob and co-founders, G. Riley Mills and Ranjeet Nambiar, the U.S. based 501 c (3) non-profit organization brings hope, happiness, and inspiration to orphan children around the world by distributing storybooks and creating inspiring libraries. 

Bookwallah’s name comes from the Hindi translation, which means “book peddler”. Currently, Bookwallah has three core programs:

Bookwallah Book Program: We provide children’s books in English and local languages. The books donated in English and local languages are organized in existing bookshelves and reading spaces. This is the Bookwallah Organization’s core program.

Bookwallah Reading Rug Program: We create child-friendly, comfortable reading areas for the children within the orphanages, if there is a need or a desire. The relationship between physical space, continued interest in reading and use of imagination are highly correlated.

Bookwallah Reading Services: We provide reading sessions to engage the children in fun reading activities and to help evaluate progress.

Israel Antonio: Triathelete

Antonio IsrealPinnacle Performance Company sponsors visually impaired athlete and screenwriter Israel Antonio. Antonio, who competes in both half and full marathons and triathlons with the aid of sighted guides, was one of G. Riley Mills’ students when he taught “Playwriting for the Actor” at the former Breadline Theater. 

Antonio lost his eyesight when he was 14 years old. A childhood athlete and sports fanatic, Antonio participated in limited athletic activities after losing his sight until 2007. He was inspired to get back in shape after hearing interviews with a high profile celebrity trainer and the youngest person to ever compete in the Ironman. 

He searched for adaptive sports and eventually found the C Different Foundation, which inspires blind and visually impaired people to lead active, athletic lifestyles. The organization actively works to create opportunities for visually impaired athletes to participate in athletic events. Antonio is an active member and now helps raise awareness for the organization.

TriatheleteAntonio set a personal best time in the Houston Half Marathon in 2013 and was crowned the 2013 USA Paratriathlon National Champion (Male TRI-6A) at the CapTexTri in Austin, TX, which hosted the Paratriathlon National event, and finished 10th in the 2013 Paratriathlon World Competition held in London.

Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald's HouseRonald McDonald House’s mission is to care for families of children with complex medical needs by providing comfort, compassion and community.  RMHC-CNI keeps families of hospitalized children together in a ‘home away from home’.

Located near Advocate Children’s Hospital, Loyola University Medical Center, University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, and the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Houses allow families to eat, sleep and find the emotional support they need - just blocks from where their child is being treated. In 2012, the organization provided over 30,000 nights to families, offering them care and comfort during their hours of greatest need. While they suggest a donation of $10 per night, no family is ever turned away if they are unable to pay.

David Lewis, Pinnacle’s cofounder and CEO, is an active board member and recently organized a Performance-Based Communication skills training session for employees and volunteers to improve how they communicate with families, donors and sponsors.


"Pinnacle teaches participants how to handle oneself in a social environment, and that is very beneficial to our Indian colleagues as they continue to cultivate relationships."
–Aarti Gupta, Global Head of Learning and Culture

"I think every individual who wants to improve communication and presentation skills should attend the session. The amount of work done by Pinnacle in designing this training is amazing."
-Aditya V. Satpute

"Perfectly executed. I got to know how simple things can make a big difference."
-Jitesh Agrawal

"This is definitely one of the most creative workshops [I've taken.] It will help me to improve my skills."
-Priti Parekar, Recruitment Lead

"Everything about this training is perfect...the best training I have ever received."
-Abishek Sinha


"On behalf of my entire sales team for the Eastern Region, I wanted to tell you how much everyone enjoyed the training. We all came out of the session feeling refreshed, and I've confirmed that each and every one of them will be able to take something back from the class and apply it in the field. Thanks!"
-Tim Shortall, Vice President of U.S. Eastern Region Sales


"Everyone who interacts in a training or meeting setting can benefit."
-Diane Daniels, Training and Development Specialist

"Everything I experienced was useful not only for my professional life, but for my personal life as well. Fabulous!"
-Morgan Krehbiel, Training and Development Specialist

“Thank you for the training! My team really valued the experience and recognized the opportunity it affords them. I am sure that’s due to your abilities and commitment to quality. I look forward to sending the remaining members of my team through.”
-Doris Guilfoyle, Operations and Training Manager

“This [training] would be extremely valuable to anyone who facilitates for a profession and/or hobby. I highly enjoyed this course.”
-Skye Davis, Training and Development Specialist

“It was one of the best workshops I have ever been to. The trainer was great.”
-Anne Gaeta, Training and Development Specialist

Marketing Support, Inc.

"Very interactive and fast-paced. Of all the presentation sessions I've done, this was the most beneficial."
-Scott Baylor

"A person could not take this course, no matter how good a presenter, and not emerge with an enhanced set of skills. Very inspiring and enjoyable."
-Denise C. Thompson

"The instructor was great."
-Maureen Brennan, Public Relations Supervisor

"Our teacher made us feel extremely comfortable and always had some constructive criticism. You could really tell that he enjoyed teaching."
-Jason Conway, Account Executive

"Anyone can benefit in some way from this course."
-Mikala Daigle, PR Account Executive


"The concepts presented by Pinnacle Performance Company have proven immediately useful for our management team."
-Michael A. Garber, Ph.D., Director of Training and Development

"This course deals in the building blocks instead of abstract, which gives the ability to see progress as blocks are added. I will send our department managers to this training as it will benefit their performance and career."
-Lonnie Dyck, Plant Manager

"Very engaging and useful. Even if you are the best speaker, this training would help you. I enjoyed it found it extremely useful."
-Kendra Simon, HR Supervision

"The course was energetic and engaging. The process of introduction of material, practice, implementation then analysis was extremely useful and well done."
-Lou Stocco, Plant Manager

"Beneficial to all levels or presenting skills."
-Joe Tanashian, Retails Sales Rep


"Pinnacle helped our sales people recognize the impact that purpose and passion play in every customer contact. Our overall sales effectiveness has improved as a result of the training." -Tom Schencker, Director of Health Services Sales Training and Development

"I loved it! No one else does this, and this component is very critical to sales presentations.
-Nancy A. Stoeckel, Account Manager, Home Care Division

"Best training I've had in over 15 years of sales."
-Miriam Dunn, Walgreens Specialty Rep

"It really opens your eyes as to how others perceive you."
-Rick Peabody, Regional Account Manager of Northeast Option Care

"The people are pros! I will be so much less nervous with my next presentation. [I learned] many, many useful skills."
-Cheryl Economos, Account Manager

Lockheed Martin

"Excellent instructor. Anyone who needs to communicate effectively needs this."
-Josh Stalker

"Coming from an actor's perspective, people who present constantly, taught me techniques I didn't expect. It was wonderful."
-Yahaira Franceschini


"The class was excellent! It was great to learn about the material from someone who acts, entertains and presents for a living."
-Debra Vent, Color Scientist

"It was extremely useful for my job and it presented new skills in a very simple non-threatening manner. Instructor was great."
-Ricardo R. Figueroa, Digital and Hybrid Technical Sales Manager

"Instant and easy to! Who wouldn't want this?"
-Carolyn Del Vecchio

"Very helpful. Real world learning...great pace, energy and subject matter."
-Mary Reed

"Instructor was very honest with comments. Helped each person will skills they needed to work on."
-Kyle Alvut, Colorist


"The instructors we sent to Pinnacle training increased their quality delivery score by 10% and now have the highest quality delivery scores at Oracle."
-Larry Frazier, Director of Training Practices

"Anyone who has to give presentations would benefit from Pinnacle's training."
-Karen Wayman, Training Instructor

"I walked away with an arsenal of tips that will greatly enhance my presentation skills, both at work, and life in general."
-Barbara Snyder, Senior Instructor

"Every speaker should go through this course."
-Tricia Gale, Resource Analyst

"It was extremely engaging - never bored, time went quickly."
-Carol DiLallo, CSA Mississauga Ed Center

Children's Memorial Hospital, Chicago

"Pinnacle Performance Co. helped dramatically improve our patient satisfaction ratings by working with our nurses and other personnel to improve our communication with the patients and their families. And they did so with practical exercises revelant to our day to day operations.
-Celeste Wheatley, Clinical Manager


"It was as fun as it was informative. Anyone doing presentations, demos or public speaking would benefit for Pinnacle's training."
-Susan Snyder, RN Manager - Product Consultants

"The trainers helped to provide a safe learning environment."
-Jose Gallegos

"Relevant to my job. Presenters were knowledgable and had a great sense of humor and purpose. Unlike many other courses I will keep and refer to the material in attempt to keep incorporating what I have learned."
-Janet Rinehart

"The energy, content, variety, instant feedback were fantastic. It was one of the rare situations where I could incorporate that feedback to solidify my learning. I was admittedly sad when the training ended."
-Alice Landis-McGrath, MD

"For once, presentations skills that are applicable and fun!"
-Joel Berger

Curves International

"Pinnacle's intention was clear: make us better presenters by building on our strengths. I can see a variety of ways Pinnacle's training will be useful throughout our company."
-Vicki D. Langan, Senior V.P. Operations


"It matched my needs. Good value for your time."
-Greg Hall, Systems Engineer

"Trainers are excellent."
-Megan Finnegan, Account Executive

"I've had a lot of sales training and this was a new way to address old problems. [The] trainer was AMAZING."
-Autumn Welch, Account Executive

"I've been in sales for 20+ years and this was the most useful and enjoyable session I've ever been involved with."
-David Mockensturm, Account Executive

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

"It was very beneficial to my confidence as a leader. I found it extremely helpful and had a lot of fun."
-Krystal Kotulski, Assistant Executive Housekeeper

"In my opinion the training was exceptional. It was an excellent experience."
-Cara Goss, Hotel/Tower Supervisor

"All departments can benefit greatly from this course."
-Geneva Koenig, Front Desk Supervisor


"Given all of the presentation courses I've taken over the years, this is by far the best in terms of the skills developed/improved."
-Chris Makell, Global Program Manager

Fort Dearborn Company

"The trainer was exceptional and I really appreciated his candidness and professionalism."
-Michelle Coughlin

"[The training] moved you out of your comfort zone. [For] both business and personal, this course was relevant."
-Michael Duffy, National Accounts Manager

"[An] excellent, real world course."
-Carey Battersby

"I was hesitant at the beginning because I have taken a lot of public speaking classes. This course is different from all others."
-Margaret Hug, Manager of Sales Operations

"I never felt as though I was being presented to - I was being taught. Every person who has to communicate - no matter the format - should attend. Solid, valuable stuff."
-Shar Becker, Director of Customer Analytics

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

"It was an eye-opener."
-Angie Jones, User Support Services

"Excellent. The best instruction on presentation skills I've ever had."
-Gayla Creasey, Records Analyst


"The presenter was very impressive in his delivery and made the session fun."
-Clare Bailey, Supply and Marketing Specialist

"One of the best courses I've ever taken."
-Becky Hurtado, Benefits Representative

"[The trainer] had a wonderful way of critiquing the speakers in a way that was both comfortable and beneficial. I learned more about myself as a speaker in those two days of training than I have learned in all years of speaking."
-Elizabeth Tate, Supply & MKT Specialist

"Best training I have ever taken."
-Ryan Stokes

Tru Vue

"This training helped me see what my strengths and weaknesses are and gave me the tools to grow within my craft."
-Linda McAleer, Sales Distribution Trainer

"Very helpful to become more confident and effective in presentations or other communication."
-Maureen Egan, Training & Development Manager

"I enjoyed it tremendously."
-Rob Sloyan

Centennial Contractors Enterprises

"Incredibly beneficial to any professional who wants to stand out among the crowd."
-Kelvin King

"It was fun! I've never laughed so much in a training."
-Lisa Cooley

"I LOVED IT! The catering to each individual's needs was excellent!"
-Jackie McMahon


"Very adaptable. Very engaging. Great course and content. Terrific!"
-Michelle Silwonuk, Managing Director, Treasury and Security Services

"One of the best courses I've attended."
-Lisa Foradori, Managing Director, Retail Marketing

"The course was real world...the lessons came alive."
-Susan Posey, Vice President, Training

"I am a seasoned trainer and confident in my abilities and loved this class. I have walked out of here with a wealth of information and feel equipped to put it into practice in two days."
-Tonya Tiggett, Assistant Vice President, Operations

Verizon Wireless

"The training was very useful."
-Eric Gonzalez, BAE

"Great course!! I would highly recommend this to anyone."
-Megan Naas, BAE

"The content was very good and the trainer was excellent in the delivery and knowledge."
-Jason Meyers

"The fun atmosphere. Excellent instructor...the pace, everything. It was a refreshingly different approach to presentation skills training."
-Bonnie Bottini

RR Donnelley

"[I liked] the unique approach to presentations skills [and] the focus on "performance." The core topics were relevant and targeted to the group. [It] was exceptional and relevant."
-Karen Nealis

"This has been the most valuable training I've received as part of [our program]. Thanks!!"
-Roy Rodriquez, Customer Care Account Manager

"I feel so enriched! Best training on communications I've ever received. Will use right away and from now on."
-Monica Guillory

"I have participated in several workshops in my 27 years with RRD. This was the most applicable one to date. Very beneficial."
-Glynn Perry

Archer Daniels Midland

"All supervisors and above should attend [this course.] Great training!!"
-Tara Frees, Computer Operations Manager

"Excellent for those not used to presenting formally as well as seasoned veterans."
-Roger Lower

"Everyone who ever has to present should take it. Very useful."
-Brad Collins, IT Support Manager

"I feel I have gained confidence and tools to enhance my presentations."
-Beth Mruz, Client/Server Developer


"Immediate benefits...Very worthwhile. Great investment of time."
-Dave Garriott, GBS Commercial Thread Manager

"Lots of fun...I think this is a great course for anyone who does a lot of presenting or is beginning to."
-Theresa Miller, Research Analyst


"I learned things that I thought were very important to [achieve] our goals as a company. Fantastic."
-Leah Becherer, Account Manager

British Retail Consortium

"Probably the most enjoyable course I've been in for years."
-Josie Foster, Owner and Consultant

"Thoroughly enjoyable even though I was stretched at times. I was able to clearly see my own improvement in two days."
-Dr. Ron Kill, Micronz, Ltd.

Allstate Insurance

"Training was excellent and current with today's way of doing proper presentations."
-Troy Mastroine, Senior Claim Manager

"This course encourages participation and challenges the individual to see where they need to improve. It was truly an amazing experience, and the content and presenter was what made the course."
-Venitia Johnson, Staff Analyst

"I am confident I learned a great deal and will apply it immediately."
-Steve Bove

"I loved it. It made you step out of the box and be comfortable doing so."
-Andre Hemingway


"Not the 'same old training class' that every corporate sales rep has been to over and over! Great pace, energy and interaction."
-Scott Klein, Vice President

"Appropriate for all professionals..."
-Jim Quinn, Business Development Manager, Florida


"This was one of the best classes I've attended at HBO. The instructor was fantastic and each of the breakouts helped to challenge my communication and presentation skills."
-IG, Business Continuity Manager

"It was great! I really have a lot I can take away and work on incorporating in my work. Great instructor!"
-Shaina, Sales Department Executive

Heritage Bank

"Relevant yet easily understood and applicable materials and ideas. [The instructor] was awesome at role modeling concepts!"

-Amber Jenson, Human Resources Officer

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