Monday, June 26, 2017

7 Strategies for Successfully Working a Tradeshow

A client recently asked how he could be more successful when working his company’s booth at an upcoming industry tradeshow. Here are my 7 strategies for successfully working a tradeshow, exhibition or business expo: )    

1. Set realistic expectations

Popular tradeshows are attended by thousands of people and can be noisy, crowded and exhausting (for both attendees and exhibitors). As a tradeshow team, set expectations for what you want to achieve and how you will measure success. For example, collecting email addresses may be all you can do during busy, peak hours while during quieter hours, you may be able to have more in-depth conversations with people who stop by your booth.

Read the rest of the article on my LinkedIn profile here:

Friday, June 23, 2017

Photos from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting "Stand Out From the Crowd With Personal Branding" at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, in partnership with the Women's Business Development Council. 

The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute is a university department that helps entrepreneurs and innovators at Yale start scalable new ventures.
The Women's Business Development Council is the leader for entrepreneurial and financial education in CT.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Too Many Filler Words Undermine Your Credibility

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
Recently I attended a meeting where a senior leader of the organization offered opening remarks.  He spoke for 2 minutes and said “um” 24 times.  Doing the math, that’s an “um” approximately every 5 seconds.

Here’s how it would read if he wrote it out:
“Welcome to the um, XYZ meeting. We are happy to, um, have you here today.  We will, um, share the goals of, um, the new program and explain, um, the role you will play in the program.  And thank you, um, for being here because, um, the work you do is crucial to, um, the success of our clients.”

While a few “ums” are okay, this many of them completely distracted from what he was actually saying.  I started listening for the next “um” rather than trying to follow what his message.  It made him sound less confident, less definite and less clear.

Imagine that you are speaking in front of the Board of Directors at your company, the media or a potential client.  Do you want to sound confident and in command of your subject? Or do you want to allow your unconsciously-said filler words to undermine your credibility?

Filler words like “um,” “ah,” “you know” and “like” fill in the empty space while your brain thinks of what to say next and catches up with your tongue and your voice which are still producing sound. 

The solution is relatively easy.  First, you have to become aware that you using filler words.  
Then replace them with a short pause instead (the pause will feel like an eternity to you, but not to your audience) while you think of what to say next.  Get used to speaking in complete sentences and complete thoughts. 

One way to practice this is by practicing speaking out loud and when you hear yourself using a filer word, stop.  Then go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again, without the filler word.

A small investment of your time, energy and focus to fix your filler problem will have a big pay-off: you will sound more confident and the audience will be able to focus on you and your message. 

Or you can do nothing, and keep allowing your filler words to obscure your competence and undermine your credibility. 

Enter Email:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

5 FAQs About How to Use Eye Contact

1)    Why should I use eye contact?
It helps you connect to the audience, no matter how big or small.  Whether you're speaking to an audience of four or four thousand, it can help to create a one-on-one communication experience for each audience member.  It also demonstrates your confidence and proves that the information resides in your head, not in your notes or on the slides.  And it helps you get feedback on how people are reacting to your presentation. 

2)    How long should I look at each person?
Approximately 5 seconds, which is about the time it takes to complete a thought. Then move on to another person.  Avoid darting your eyes around the room, trying look at everyone at the same time.  

3)    What if I'm uncomfortable looking at people's eyes?
It is very intimate to look in someone's eye; remember the old adage, "the eyes are the window to the soul"? If you're uncomfortable looking directly into their eyes, you can start by looking right above their eyes, at their eyebrows. The difference won't be obvious to them and as you practice and get more comfortable, you can try looking them straight in the eye.

4)    What if someone in the audience is uncomfortable with my looking at them? 
He or she can choose to look away. If someone repeatedly looks away, don't take it personally.  Just glance over him or her on your way to focusing on someone else.

5)    Who should I look at in the audience?
Your goal is to look at everyone and not ignore any section or person.  You want to communicate that each person in the audience is important so don't focus only on the highest-ranking person in the room or the one friendly face.  And since no one should be able to predict where you will look next, avoid what I call "tennis eyes," where you move your eyes from one side of the room to the other in a repetitive pattern, as if you were watching a tennis match.  

With practice, you'll be able to use eye contact with ease and convey your message to your audience with confidence.  

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

3 Tips for Being an Effective Charity Spokesperson

Recently, I have attended several events where people from well-known charities have spoken to ask for money or volunteers.  One of the presenters asked me how she could improve her presentation.  So I developed three quick tips that could help her become a more effective charity spokesperson.  (And even if you're not in that role, these tips can help your presentations be more compelling and clear.) 

1.    Be selective with statistics.  One charity spokesperson used at least twenty statistics in a five- minute presentation.  The result was that the audience was overwhelmed and confused; there were too many statistics to remember and it was not clear how they related to each other or the presenter's overall message.  Instead, use only a handful of statistics that are the most impactful and most relevant to your audience.  For example, if you're asking for large donations, tell the audience the breakdown of how each dollar is spent. 

2.    Use stories. Another spokesperson shared a moving story of how he lost a family member to the disease for which the charity was working to find a cure.  Even if you don't have a personal story of your own to share, tell a story representative of a typical client that your charity helps.  The story should be true, short and relevant to your message. 

3.    Be clear about your message.  What is the call to action? Do you want the audience to donate money, volunteer time or do something else? Don't leave them guessing as to how they can help.  Mention your message at the beginning of your presentation, give examples or share stories that relate to it during your presentation and then remind the audience of it at the end of your presentation.  Make it easy for them to remember. 

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