Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NPR’s 3 Tips for Better Voice Quality

Your voice is a key component of your communication delivery - and ever more important if you present over the phone, when you have no other body language element to communicate to the audience.

Here’s an article with helpful voice tips, from Jessica Hansen who coaches reporters at NPR (National Public Radio) on vocal delivery. She includes a video of vocal exercises to avoid vocal fry and improve breathing, resonance and vocal energy.

Read the article here:  Aerobics for your voice: 3 tips for sounding better on air

Monday, July 24, 2017

Gilda featured on the SAWA Blog

I’m excited to have my post, “Management By Walking Around: Please Don’t Prowl, Growl or Scowl,” featured on the SAWA blog.

You can read it here:

SAWA is the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators and I recently presented two sessions on the topic of MBWA at the SAWA Management Conference in Long Beach, CA. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Use Your Password to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

To combat the fear of public speaking and overcome the negative voice in your head (that says, "You’re going to fail,” right before you open your mouth to present), I recommend using a positive affirmation or mantra.  

A mantra is a term borrowed from meditation and yoga that means a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself to focus your mind and energy. Your mantra should be personally meaningful to you and should be a phrase that you can believe.  

You use your mantra to drown out that negative voice and boost your confidence while you’re building your presentation skills. 

Since it takes practice to get used to saying your mantra instead of listening to that negative voice, so why not make it your computer password? Anytime you log in, you will be reminded of the positive statement.  

You can change some characters so it’s not easy to hack. For example, if your mantra is I’ve got this,” then your password could be: IVg0thi$
Or if your mantra is RESPECT (from the Aretha Franklin song), then your password could be: Re$4ect

Have fun coming up with different mantras and passwords until you find one that resonates with you and is easy to remember.  You’ll be on your way to more confident public speaking, using a secure log-in.  So you get cyber security and confidence building all in one!

For more on this topic, see my article, Drown Out That Negative Voice in Your Head

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gilda to present Developing Leadership Presence on 7/31

I will be presenting “Developing Leadership Presence: Confidence, Competence and Composure” to Mondays @ 7 Networking Group on July 31st.

To be successful as a leader, you have to 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 setting strategic direction, managing change or leading people, you will achieve your goals if you can calmly and confidently tap into your knowledge and communicate clearly.

You will learn how 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

Meetings are free and open to the public, so bring a friend!

Mondays at Seven is a job search networking group. Our goals are to energize our members' job search process, present programs and resources that will benefit our members in their job search, leverage the group's alumni as a continuing resource, and "pay it forward" to each other and the community.
Meetings are free and open to the public.

  • 7:00am-7:40am Networking 
  • 7:40am-8:00am Announcements
  • 8:00am-9:00am Presentations**
  • 9:00am-9:30am Networking and Clean Up

Address and Directions
49 Weston Rd, Westport, CT (Merritt exit 42)

Friday, June 30, 2017

4 Presenter Mistakes to Avoid, Or Please Don't "Vomit" on Your Audience

by Gilda Bonanno LLC 
At the end of my session at a conference, one of the audience members came up to tell me about a terrible session she had attended earlier in the day.  She said, "The presenter vomited his content on the audience.  It was awful.  I would have walked out if I wasn't sitting in the front row."  That's pretty strong language!  Of course, I had to ask for the details of what made her feel "vomited" on by the presenter.

Here are that presenter's top four mistakes, as described by the audience member - and what you can do to avoid them:

Presenter Mistake #1: "The content was disorganized."
Your presentation should have a clear beginning, middle or end.  It sounds so simple, yet so many presenters fail to organize their material clearly.  Follow the old adage, "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them." It should be easy for the audience to follow you and understand how your points relate to each other and your overall message.

Presenter Mistake #2: "The slides were crowded and hard to read."
If the audience has to struggle to read your slides, they will struggle to understand your presentation.  For the sake of your audience members' eyesight, use large font (larger than you think you need to use) and only a few bullet points on each slide.  If you find yourself saying, "I know some of you can't read this…," then your slides are too crowded.  Or go one step better and use only high-quality photos or images (not cheesy clip art) and a few words in very large font.  Or be radical and don't use slides at all; remember, you are the message and the slides are just the visual aids. 

Presenter Mistake #3: "He only used examples from one area, which wasn't applicable to many in the audience."
The first rule of presentations is to know your audience, and in this case, the presenter doesn't seem to have done that.  Be sure that some of your examples come from the industries or fields represented in the audience.  For example, if you are speaking to an audience of accountants, avoid using examples only from sales.  Or if you're presenting to small business owners, don't just use stories from the corporate world.  To find relevant examples and stories, check out the industry websites, read the publications and talk to people in that field.  If there is an attendee list, interview a few audience members ahead of time

Presenter Mistake #4: "He said he wanted to make it interactive, but there was no opportunity for interactivity."
I've seen many presenters make this same mistake and the solution here is simple: don't claim that you want your presentation to be interactive unless you really mean it and have planned for the interactivity with specific questions, exercises or activities.  And just asking, "Is everyone with me?" does not count as being interactive – and anyway, it's rare that anyone will speak up and say "no."

If you avoid these four common presenter mistakes, you will be less likely to "vomit" your content on your audience!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Think of Yourself as a Speaker

Often, people tell me, "I'm not a speaker so I don't have to think about presentation skills."  I disagree.  I think we are all speakers – yes, even you. 

Whether you talk to a small or large audience or in a corporate, academic or community setting, you are a speaker.  If you give an update to a project team, speak up at a neighborhood meeting or organize a fundraiser, you are a speaker.  If you give a toast at a wedding, conduct orientation for new employees or train someone on a new process, you are a speaker.  If you teach a class, lead a conference call or accept a community award, you are a speaker.  If you answer a question at a meeting, attend a networking event or interact with potential clients, you are a speaker.

The point of thinking of yourself as a speaker is not to make you crazy. The point is for you to become conscious of your power to communicate.  Public speaking is a skill – it's not magic or a special gene.  And as a skill, it can be learned and improved.  You already have knowledge and expertise; public speaking gives you the ability to communicate that knowledge and expertise effectively to others.  And in so doing, you can have a positive impact on your career, your self-confidence and your community.  

Read the rest of my article on the Constant Contact community blog: 

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: