Monday, April 21, 2014

Diversity & Inclusion Panel Discussion - ASTDSCC 4/28 Meeting

So. CT Chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) presents
Diversity and Inclusion Panel Discussion: Training (or Un-Training) for Cross-Cultural Competence in Today's Global world
Monday, April 28, 2014
5:45-8:00 PM
Norwalk Inn
99 East Avenue
Norwalk, CT
Nancy DiDia, Executive Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, Boehringer Ingelheim USA
Marjorie Derven, Managing Partner, HUDSON Research & Consulting, Inc.
Vanessa Abrahams-John, Director of Global Diversity, Praxair, Inc.
Moderator: Veronica J. Holcomb, Founder & Owner, VJ Holcomb Associates
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) continues to evolve to keep pace with other trends such as globalization, dispersed work teams, and the multi-cultural marketplace. Most diversity initiatives have moved well beyond making the business case and raising awareness, to addressing new and unforeseen challenges resulting from changes in the business environment.
As learning professionals, we have a unique responsibility to understand the impact of these changes so that we can develop the learning events and tools today’s leaders need to navigate across cultures effectively.

Please join us for this lively and informative discussion with some of the area’s leading D&I experts about:

  • New challenges brought by globalization and dispersed work teams
  • How organizations are addressing these challenges
  • The mandate for cross-cultural competence for all leaders
You will not want to miss this timely and topical discussion!

Chapter Member - $37.00 (USD)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Branding With Dick Bruso - NSA-CT 4/29 Meeting

CT Chapter of the National Speakers Association - April Meeting with Dick Bruso
April 29, 2014
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Shelton Public Library - Huntington Branch
41 Church St.
Shelton, CT 06484
Join us for A Branding Extravaganza! Two Incredible Sessions in One Power-Packed Program Presented by Internationally Acclaimed Branding Expert, Dick Bruso
Come Build Your Brand! This is your opportunity to begin the process of creating your very own distinctive brand using the incredible power of story. In addition, if you currently have a viable brand you will be shown some very creative and dynamic ways to expand it. Regardless of where you’re at in your speaking career, learn how your story can bring focus, clarity and life to your brand.
Session One: “How To Be Heard Above The Noise: Branding Your Uniqueness”

This jam-packed and highly practical session is designed to help professional speakers develop their distinctive brand, focus on their uniqueness to successfully reach their target markets, and position themselves to be "heard above the noise” in the marketplace.

Highlights include how to:
• Create a compelling, memorable, and distinctive brand centered on “your story” that truly sets you apart in everything you say and do
• Maximize your ability to reach your target market(s) via creative branding, the incredible power of media, and strategic networking.
• Produce powerful tools and products to significantly enhance your brand’s visibility
Examples of dynamic branding, unique positioning, and creative marketing approaches successfully utilized by fellow speakers and other professionals will be shared throughout this session.

Session Two: “Brandstorming”
During this highly interactive session, Dick will demonstrate (with the assistance of several audience members) how you and your colleagues can develop brands based on your unique and powerful stories designed to truly set you apart in the marketplace. You’ll, also, learn the secret of how to apply the “umbrella branding” approach to encompass all aspects of your speaking practice.

About Dick Bruso
An international speaker and founder of Heard Above The Noise®, Dick Bruso is a highly regarded branding and marketing expert. He teaches his audiences and clients how to develop and expand their story-based brands to powerfully penetrate the marketplace.

His clients include best selling authors and in-demand speakers, as well as successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. He is a contributing author, on the topic of branding, to NSA’s popular books, Paid To Speak and Speak More!

Dick is an active member of NSA and NSA/Colorado. He served as president of NSA/CO for 2005-2006 and prior to then was a member of the NSA National PR Advisory Task Force. Dick, also, served as the 2009-2010 Chair of the NSA Writers & Publishers PEG, as the Chair of the NSA Academy for Professional Speaking for 2011-2012 and as the Co-Chair of the 2012 Cavett Institute.

This meeting will be held at
Refreshments will not be available
Members: Free
Guests $35
To register or for more info, visit

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Warm Up Your Voice

Your voice is an integral part of your presentation.  Here are some voice exercises to help you warm up your voice so you can deliver your presentation with ease:

·         How to breathe:
  • Breathe from your diaphragm rather than your chest
  • Feel your stomach move out as you inhale air
  • Feel your stomach move in as you exhale and empty out the air – and speak
·         With your hand on your stomach, breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, breathe out for 5 counts

·         With your hand on your stomach, expel short bursts of air as you say “ha ha ha” from the back of your throat

·         Relax tension in shoulders and neck!

·         Practice your highs and lows:
  • Pitch: start with your lowest pitch and in one continuous breath, move to your highest pitch. Reverse and go from high to low
  • Volume: start with your softest whisper and in one continuous breath, move to your loudest shout. Reverse and go from loudest to softest
·         To practice enunciation, say the sounds for f, p, t and k, and exaggerate the movement of your lips

·         Hum for several seconds at a time – you should feel the buzzing (resonance) in your lips

·         Record yourself – does your voice taper off at the end of the sentence? Are your highs and lows (in terms of volume and pitch) as distinct as you thought they were?
(And to avoid straining your voice, use a microphone if it's available).

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Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Present to Your Peers

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Sometimes you have to present to a group of your peers.  And you may be speaking about something they know quite a bit about themselves. How do you come across as being knowledgeable and confident without sounding condescending and cocky?

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You need to believe that you are qualified to give the presentation.  Start by understanding why you have been asked to give the presentation.  What is it about your knowledge or experience that makes you the perfect person to deliver this presentation? Perhaps you led the project or know the client better. 

(Yes, sometimes you are giving it just because nobody else wanted to do it.  But even in that case, you have earned the right to be presenting.)

Being clear about the reason ahead of time can help you focus and be more confident when you present in front of your peers, rather than being stuck in your head worrying, “Who am I to present? These people know more just as much – or more – than I do about this topic.” 

Once you cover this ground with yourself, you can focus on your material. Think about it from the audience’s point of view – what questions or concerns might they have? 

Then practice your presentation and focus on how you might be perceived by the audience.  Practice in front of a mirror or on camera.  In particular, be aware of your facial expressions and your tone.  Do you sound condescending, like you are lecturing at the audience?

Sometimes you intend to sound one way and you come across differently, so ask for feedback from a trusted colleague.  There can be a subtle difference between a smile and smirk or between sounding confident and sounding cocky and it’s helpful to get feedback about it.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

When You Present, Have a Message

Every presentation you give needs a point – the one core message that you want the audience to remember. Yes, you will have a lot of supporting material and secondary points, but there is really only one message. 

Think of it as a billboard or newspaper headline.  Fit it into one sentence and state it clearly in your introduction.  For example, “The purpose of this presentation is to explain why this project is behind schedule and how we are going to fix that.” Or, “The point of this presentation is to explain the three steps you need to take in order to become a more effective presenter.”

Having a single message makes it easier for the audience to understand your presentation and remember it.  Imagine that we interview everyone in the audience after your presentation and ask them, “What was the point of that presentation?” They should all give more or less the same answer – your message, paraphrased in their own words.

As you prepare your presentation, you need laser-like focus because everything you say should be organized around that message.  And if the example or statistic doesn’t relate somehow to your message, don’t include it.  (Yes, this can be difficult if you are a subject matter expert because the more you know about a subject, the harder it is to present succinctly and with a limited focus).

You can bring extra material with you in case of off-message questions or to be handed out at the end.  You can email an appendix or addendum after your presentation.  But the words that come out of your mouth should be exclusively focused on and organized around your message.


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Monday, March 24, 2014

Handling Q&A During a Phone Presentation

It’s important to be prepared for questions when you are giving a phone presentation.  Think of questions as a key element of your presentation rather than just an add-on or afterthought. 

Think about what you would hate to be asked and have a response for it.  It can be much harder to recover on the phone when you get a question you aren’t prepared for because the audience can’t see you nodding, smiling, listening to the question and thinking of a response.  They just hear a long silence.

Have an answer for when you don’t have an answer
If, despite your practice and preparation, you get a question that you have no answer to, what will you say? What you don’t want to say is, “ah, um, well…um, well…okay, let me think about that. You know, I suppose we could…”  That kind of non-response will undermine your creditably.  Instead, you need a stock answer ready to go for those moments when you don’t have an answer. 

For example, “That’s an interesting question. I’m really glad you brought that up. I don’t have a clear answer at this point. I want to give that some more thought and do a little bit of research. Let me check on that and I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”  Or, you could say something like, “That’s something we hadn’t considered as part of our analysis. I can see how that definitely would need to be considered and we’ll certainly look into that before we go into a full launch for this product.”

And here is where giving a presentation over the phone gives you an advantage. You can have your desk full of notes and potential answers and no one will know. Provided you can access them easily without doing a lot of paper shuffling, you can have extra information right in front of you.

What to do if there are no questions
What should you do if you ask for questions and all you hear is a big silence? First of all, rather than asking, “are there any questions?” ask, “what questions do you have?” It’s subtle, but the shift in wording assumes that there are questions. 

Secondly, it can be more uncomfortable over the phone to have no questions, but don’t rush through the silence.  Don’t just ask for questions, hear the silence, get uncomfortable and move on. Give people a chance to think of a question, get ready to ask it, figure out how to un-mute the phone, make sure no one else is speaking and then ask it. And explain to the audience, “I’m going to give you a moment to un-mute your phone, that’s *6, and then ask a question.”

Thirdly, you can ask your own questions.  For example, say something like, “Often at this point I get asked…” or “when I was talking to a customer yesterday, he asked me…”

Don’t end with questions
Contrary to common practice, it’s not a good idea to end your presentation with questions because you are relinquishing control of the end of your presentation to the audience.  If you end with questions and there are none, you end with an uncomfortable silence. If you end with questions and you get a question that you can’t answer, you end with the awkwardness of your not having a response. Instead, break midway or near the end of your presentation, handle questions and answers, then finish your presentation and do a final conclusion. 
If you follow these strategies for preparing for questions for your phone presentation, you’ll be better equipped to give an effective, confident, successful presentation

For more help with phone presentations, check out Gilda's audio course, Virtual Presentations - How to Develop and Deliver an Effective Presentation Over the Phone

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