Don’t Be Scared to Try Something New

boy playing the violin

Making Music & Taking Risks

My sports-loving fourth grader has picked up a new pursuit: violin.

Although his sisters find it a little, er, screechy, I admire his willingness to try something new. Joining orchestra has been surprisingly fun, Harrison says. Whether or not he pursues the instrument long-term, he’s letting himself experiment, take risks and become more well-rounded. Playing the violin—be it Beethoven or “Jingle Bells”—activates another part of his brain.

When was the last time you tried something new?

Enrolling in a Dardis class—a public workshop, a virtual course or one-on-one training—may be just the thing to wake up something new in you.


President & CEO


woman talking

3 Reasons We Fail at Non-Verbal Communication

Mastering the three main elements of nonverbal communication is essential: body language, eye contact and tone of voice. We break these down in our training—and deliver amazing results.

Why are they so hard to get right?

Let’s take a closer look.

Eye contact 

  1. THE PROBLEM: When you’re focused on finding the perfect words, eye contact often falls to the wayside. But failing to make eye contact will make you appear disinterested.
  2. THE SOLUTION: Build a habit of steady eye contact. Establish it before you speak, when your mind is clear. Then use our tried-and-true technique for maintaining eye contact while speaking. And once you’re done speaking, be sure to make eye contact again. It will allow you to continue engagement.

Body language

  1. THE PROBLEM: We let ourselves off the hook here, assuming that steady eye contact and well-chosen words will suffice. But our body language communicates powerfully. You may want to prove how earnest you are to a supervisor or prospective employer, but your body might indicate that you are not receptive to their message.
  2. THE SOLUTION: Position yourself in an open stance before beginning a conversation. Don’t fold your arms across your body, which makes you appear closed off. Don’t fiddle. Don’t touch your hair or your phone. If you’re receptive to a speaker, you’ll show it. You’ll sit or stand facing the person. Your hands will be open. You might even lean forward to show interest.

Tone of voice

  1. THE PROBLEM: How you sound is just as crucial as what you say. However, few people have been taught how to properly adjust their tone of voice.
  2. THE SOLUTION: When you learn how to pay attention to your volume, your pitch and your pace—three building blocks we cover in Dardis training—you become a much more effective communicator. Pace is the most common pitfall because nerves cause speakers to speed up. Speaking loudly enough is another way to project confidence and ensure your message is understood. Our instructors work with clients to reflect on how they want to be perceived. Warm? Enthusiastic? Authoritative? Engaged? They are often surprised to discover that their tone of voice undermines this goal.

You may not have been educated yet on the power of nonverbal communication, but it’s not too late. Let us show you the way! You will be amazed by the impact of the right preparation and practice.

Recommended Reading

Sometimes all it takes to influence a big decision is a little nudge. That’s the central premise of the fascinating bestseller “Nudge,” which was released in 2008 and updated for “The Final Edition” in 2021. The book uses behavioral science to guide decision-making, introducing a concept called “choice architecture” to make better decisions for yourself, your business and your family. The exploration of “sludge”—the nuisances (like paperwork) that keep us from getting what we want—is also insightful.

Learn More >

Nudge book cover

Client Testimonial

“A valuable toolset that can help you both in professional and personal settings.”

Dardis Graduate

2023-2024 Public Schedule


Leadership Presentation & Image Skills 

November 28 & 29 – Des Moines

January 31 & 1 – Des Moines

April 2 & 3 – Des Moines

June 4 & 5 – Des Moines

August 14 & 15 – Des Moines


Virtual Communication Skills 

January 16–19

April 15–18

July 15–18