Sunday, February 11, 2018

Gilda to Present "Leadership Presence" at Manhattanville College

Manattanville College Professional Development Workshop Series
Developing Leadership Presence with Confidence, Competence and Composure
Date: March 10 (Saturday)
Time: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm
Provides 3.75 recertification hours
Instructor: Gilda Bonanno

To be successful as a leader, you must know what you're talking about, come across as credible, demonstrate confidence without being perceived as cocky and maintain your self-control, especially under pressure. Whether you are managing change, dealing with people issues or setting strategic direction, you have a greater chance of achieving your goals if you can calmly and confidently tap into your knowledge and expertise.

As a result of attending the workshop, you will be better able to:
  • Communicate like a leader and be authentic, engaging and focused
  • Prevent your non-verbal communication from undermining your message
  • Demonstrate your expertise and establish credibility
  • Discover how to react quickly and effectively to the unexpected
Target Audience: Individuals in or who aspire to leadership positions in corporate, academic, government, non-profit and entrepreneurial organizations.

This program is valid for 3.75 PDC’s toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification.

Manhattanville College community and alumni please enter your coupon discount code when you checkout.

About the Instructor
Gilda Bonanno is a speaker, trainer and coach who helps you transform your communication and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.

Her real-world work experience in corporate, academic, government, nonprofit and entrepreneurial environments gives her a keen understanding of the challenges facing organizations. Gilda achieves results for her clients by combining this experience with her business background, her onstage performance experience and a conviction that with the right training and practice, anyone can become a more effective communicator and leader.

Gilda holds a master’s degree from Fordham University and an Advanced Business Certificate in Management from the University of Connecticut School of Business. Website:

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Have a Message When You Network

Once you’ve decided to attend a networking event, an important part of your planning before you attend is to prepare your message.

What is a message?  The one thing that you want to share with people that you're going to meet. 

I prefer the term “message” to the commonly-used phrase “elevator speech,” because message is a little more focused and succinct.

Your message not only includes who are you, but also is customized to the particular situation and focused on what you have to offer in this context.

We're complex people, with a lot of facets to our personalities.  We have our home lives, our work lives, our families, our community, our interests, etc. When you go to an event, you need to be clear about your purpose in attending and what part of your life and background you will share with people at this particular event.

For example, if you're at an event sponsored by an organization you volunteer for, you may be talking about the work you do for that organization.  If you’re at your daughter’s school event, your message may include more about her and your involvement with the school. 

Or, if you are currently in a job, but you're looking for a new job, do you want to share that with people at the networking event? If so, how are you going to say that?  If you just “wing it” in the moment and blurt it out, it may not come out the way you want it to come out. It may sound very negative or unflattering about your current company. 

You also need to customize your message for the kind of people you’re likely to meet.  For example, if I'm going to a networking event where there will be many entrepreneurs, my message when I introduce myself includes the fact that I have my own business. In the course of the conversation, I can certainly discuss other parts of my background, but I start off with something that is relevant and understandable in this context.

The next time you go to a networking event, take some time to prepare and practice your message, so you can communicate relevant information about yourself, customized for this particular audience. Ultimately, having a clear, concise message helps the people you meet understand more about you so you can build a connection.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Public Speaking Body Language Mistakes: Gestures, Movement, Posture & Facial Expressions

Non-verbal communication, or body language, is an important part of public speaking.  Your body language includes your posture, movement, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and voice.  At the very least, your body language should not distract the audience and with a little practice, it can help you convey confidence and help the audience see your message more clearly.

Here are the most common gesture, movement, posture and facial expression mistakes:  


·        Not using gestures at all.  If you keep your hands locked at your sides, you will look nervous and your presentation will lack the visual element to accompany and enhance your words.

·        Keeping your hand in your pockets.  This position leads down the slippery slope to slouching and a sloppier posture.  And you also may unconsciously start playing with the keys or change in your pocket (yes, I've seen – and heard – it happen!).

·        Fidgeting with your hands.  Be aware of what your hands are doing, such as "washing" each other, grasping each other tightly, fiddling with your watch or jewelry, etc.  One of my public speaking coaching clients rolled and unrolled his shirt sleeves while he presented (we solved that problem by having him wear short sleeves).  If you must hold something, such as your notes or the PowerPoint remote, be conscious of how you are holding it.  Too often the item becomes something for you to play with unconsciously, or in the cause of notes, a crutch that prevents you from looking at the audience. 

·        Holding your hands behind your back.  This gesture usually resembles that of a child reciting a poem at a school assembly. When not gesturing, your hands should be in the "neutral position," hanging loosely at your sides. 

·        Pointing at the audience.  Yes, your mother was right – it's not polite to point.  Try an open-handed gesture instead.

·        Folding your arms across your chest. Even if you are only doing this because you feel cold, this gesture will most likely be interpreted as your closing yourself off from the audience.

·        Gripping the podium. This gesture is usually accompanied by the "deer in the headlights" look.  If you're using a podium, place your hands lightly on the top of it or in a relaxed hold on the edges. 

·        Using stilted gestures.  Your gestures should be natural and flow smoothly rather than looking forced or robotic.

·        Using overly rehearsed gestures.  I once saw a speaker fall to his knees during his speech, which was unnecessary and struck the audience as melodramatic and insincere.

·        Moving without purpose.  Most of the time you should stand confidently in one place rather than pacing back and forth or walking aimlessly.  If you do need to move, it should have a purpose.  For example, walk confidently to the front of the room before you begin speaking and walk with purpose to the flipchart or to the computer. 

·        Shifting from your weight from one foot to the other.  Many people do this unconsciously and sometimes because their feet hurt (hint: wear comfortable shoes!).  Instead, stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor, with your weight equally distributed on both feet. 

·        Hiding behind a desk, podium or flipchart.  If the room configuration is set up so you are partially obscured behind something, then you have to rely more heavily on your voice and facial expressions to convey meaning.  If you are nervous and feel exposed when there's nothing between you and the audience, practice, practice, practice – in front of the mirror, on video, in front of a friendly group of colleagues.  If you must stand behind something, do so with assurance and not as if you are shrinking from the audience.

·        Standing too stiffly.  Yes, you should stand up straight but it should be natural, not like you are frozen at attention.  Keep your shoulders back and hold your head up so you can make eye contact.  This posture conveys confidence and helps you breathe more fully.

·        Slouching and keeping your head down.  Not only does it prevent you from looking at the audience, but it also conveys nervousness and makes it harder for the audience to hear you.

·        Not smiling, ever. Unless you are delivering horrible news, it is appropriate for you to smile, even in a business setting.  Smiling will relax you and, in turn, relax the audience. 

·        Smiling too much, especially when delivering bad news.   You may be smiling or even giggling because you are very nervous, but it undermines the seriousness of your message and your sincerity.  If you smile broadly or giggle while announcing mass layoffs, for example, your audience will interpret it as a sign of your lack of concern.

If you eliminate these body language mistakes from your presentation, you'll come across as more confident and sincere and you'll be able to communicate more effectively.  Your body language will reinforce your message to the audience rather than distract from it. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Gilda coached our presenters to be amazing

"Thank you Gilda for your expert coaching of our presenters who delivered their SMPS CT MAX Talks at our TED-style program focused on the Architecture/Engineering/Construction industry. Your presentation skills coaching sessions helped all our presenters develop a strategic message, organize their content and be ready to deliver their talks on a big stage, in front of a large audience and on camera. After working with you, they did an amazing job and were more confident, concise, focused and engaging!"

  -Samanatha VanSchoick, Marketing & Business Development Manager, Corporation for Independent Living and Nichole Peterson, Director of Marketing, Flow Tech Inc.; Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) CT Chapter Board of Directors

Contact Gilda to find out how she can help you be an amazing presenter

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Public Speaking Tips From Chef Bobby Flay

I enjoy watching the TV cooking competition, The Next Food Network Star, and one of the hosts is celebrity chef Bobby FlayThe winning chef gets his or her own cooking show on the Food Network. 

The show offers lesson not just about cooking, but also about presentation skills because the winning chef has to be a good cook and effective and engaging on camera. 

For example, in one episode, the contestants had a limited amount of time to cook an entrĂ©e and then two minutes on camera to demonstrate it in front of a panel of famous TV chefs.  

Here are 4 lessons learned from the contestants during their two minutes presenting on camera that can also apply to your presentations:

1.    Don't Forget the Introduction
One chef forgot to give the one-sentence introduction of his name, his food show theme and what he was going to demonstrate.  When you start your presentation, don't forget to clearly and concisely introduce your overall message – also known as the point of your presentation. 
2.    Time Matters
Another chef underestimated how much time it would take to describe each ingredient, so he ran out of time to finish his demonstration.  Sometimes, less is more; it would be better to say less about each ingredient, or each point in your presentation, than run out of time at the end.  (And how do you know how long it will take to present? Practice and time yourself!)

3.    Remember Your Main Purpose
One of the contestants was very nervous about the presentation and spent so much time talking about himself and describing his dish that he forgot to cook something, prompting Bobby Flay to comment, "You didn't cook anything, dude!"  When you present, remember your purpose and what your audience expects – and don't disappoint them.

4.    Non-Verbals Matter
The judges criticized a few of the chefs for their lack of energy, demonstrated by limited eye contact, no smiling and no vocal variety.  In any presentation, it is not enough to have the technical information correct, you also have to engage the hearts of your audience and connect with them.  

Even though your in-person audience doesn't have a remote control to change the channel the way a television audience does, your audience can and will tune you out if you fail to engage them. 

The next time you have to give a presentation, remember the lessons from Chef Bobby Flay and give your audience something to savor and remember.

Know Your Audience Before You Present - Worksheet

Number of people in the audience:

What do you know about them?

Keywords that are important to this audience:

Possible audience questions: