Thursday, January 12, 2017

Gilda helped our leaders develop presentations with a strategic message

"We asked Gilda to deliver presentation skills training for our managers and leaders.  She customized a program for our specific needs, in which she shared best practices with the group and then provided one-on-one coaching for each executive on their presentation.   She helped each one develop a strategic presentation with a clear and concise message that informed and persuaded the audience and then deliver it in a confident, engaging manner that connected to the audience and got the job done.

We were so impressed with her excellent results that we brought her back to do communication skills training for other employees. Gilda is a great resource and we highly recommend her results-focused, interactive programs."

Patricia Van Tassel, Training Specialist, Barden Corporation 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Gilda's Radio Interview 1/12

I am excited to announce that I will be interviewed on Empire Radio on Thursday, January 12 at 11:52 am eastern time. 

You can listen to the LIVE 8-minute interview at 


The interview will also be recorded - I will post the link once available. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

ATD Meeting 1/23 Meeting - Norwalk

Think You Know 
360° Feedback?
Think Again!
Assessing leadership health across the physical, intellectual, emotional, social, vocational, and spiritual health dimensions
Presented by Rick Vanasse, 
Executive Coach and Senior Consultant, 
Healthy Companies International

5:45 PM - 8:00 PM - Norwalk Inn, Norwalk, CT
While there are widely shared frameworks and commonly accepted behaviors that help define what great leaders do, these miss what drives leaders from the inside. Healthy Companies International, an executive development and coaching firm, partners with senior leaders in large companies to help execute each CEO's agenda while building healthy, high-performing organizations that create lasting value. Their Healthy Leader Profile synthesizes insights from hundreds of interviews with executives from dozens of countries with the latest research in leadership, management, neuroscience, psychology, and biology. The results show that the person you are naturally impacts the actions you choose to take, which then determine your effectiveness as a leader and the overall performance of your organization.

Rick Vanasse of Healthy Companies and Managing Partner of Rick Vanasse Associates, LLC, has over 30 years' experience in organizational design, leadership/team development and executive coaching. Recent engagements include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Sutter Health, Catholic Health Initiatives, City of Hope, Bon Secours Health System, Google, Cysco, Kimberly Clark, Proctor and Gamble, and Assurant.
Prior to entering consulting, Rick served for eleven years as VP - Talent Management and Chief Learning Officer for Bon Secours Health System, a $3.5 billion healthcare provider.  Previously, Rick served as a Principal Consultant with Mercer Delta Consulting and executive with International Paper.  Rick received his undergraduate degree from Gettysburg College and his graduate degree from Yale University.
Gauge your leadership health and learn how to apply this research-based framework to your organization.
Date:  Monday, January 23rd, 2017
Time: 5:45 PM Registration and Networking, Cash Bar
6:15 Dinner and Program  

Regular Registration Rates:  
$37 Chapter Members; $50 Guests; 
$25 Members In-Transition; $20 Students
Late REGISTRATION, after midnight the Friday 
before all events:
 $45 Chapter Members; $60 Guests; 
$35 Members In-Transition   
Reservation Deadline: FridayJanuary 20, 2107
Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Friday, December 30, 2016

What's Your Point When Presenting?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
How many times have you sat through a presentation, only to walk out wondering "what was the point of that?!" Whether it was a one-minute presentation or one hour, if the audience doesn't know what the point was, then the presentation was not successful. Here are some things you can do to ensure this doesn't happen to you: 
Have a message. What is the one thing that you want your audience to walk away with from your presentation? That one thing is your message, also known as your theme, your purpose and your point.  Realistically, that's all the audience can digest and remember from a presentation, especially considering the sheer amount of data and information that is thrown at them on a daily basis from all sources.
Describe your message in one sentence.  It could contain a call to action such as "company x has solid financials, a good product and a sound business plan, so we should invest in it." Or it could be informative such as "you can overcome your fear of public speaking." If you can't say it in one sentence, then you haven't focused enough yet.
If something doesn't relate to your message, cut it out. When you are preparing your presentation, look at every example, detail and story you'd like to include and be ruthless about cutting out what doesn't relate to your message.  You want to make it easy for your audience to focus rather than forcing them to sift through all the extra information to uncover your message. If you have extra details, keep them in your notes so you can use them if someone asks you a question.  You can also include them in your handouts (like an appendix in a book), but don't clutter your presentation (or worse, your slides) with them.
Be explicit about your message. State what your message is in your introduction to help your audience focus on your message as you're going through the body of your presentation. And repeat your message in your conclusion so it's the last thing they hear, which will help them remember it.  
Sometimes it's not clear to you what your message is.  In that case, set aside extra time to prepare. Look through your material and keep organizing and reorganizing it until you see one clear theme or message emerge.  You're not ready to deliver your presentation until you have identified it -if it's not clear to you what the message is, it won't be clear to your audience.   

Having a clear message will keep you focused and organized as you are preparing and delivering your presentation.  Your clarity and focus will, in turn, ensure that your audience understands what you are trying to communicate. No one will walk out of the room after your presentation asking "what was the point of that?!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Your First 90 Days

You have just accepted a new job as a leader for a company – congratulations! As the ink is drying on your contract and you’re figuring out your commute and the benefits package, take some time to learn about the company and the people you will lead. 

Here are some questions to be thinking about in your proverbial “first 90 days,” when you have the opportunity to make a good impression, learn about the organization and lay the groundwork for personal and organizational success.

Learn about the history
1. Who came before you in this role? Where is he or she now?
2. If it’s a new role, why was it created? Who supported its creation? (and who didn’t?)
3. What is the background of the company? (who founded it, when, why, how has the company evolved since being founded?)

Learn about the culture (which is expressed as “how we do things around here”)
1. What is the culture of the organization overall, your specific business unit or department and the team you will lead?
2. What does the company do? (how does it make money, who is the competition, who are the customers, top selling products/services, biggest challenges, greatest wins…)
3. How could your actions/values be interpreted as fitting in the culture or being “countercultural”?

Learn about the people (meet as many people as possible in person)
1. Who is on your team? What strengths do they bring to their roles? What challenges do they face?
2. Who are the official leaders (in titled roles) and the unofficial leaders (who don’t have the titles, but have influence)? What are the lines of communication?
3. Who do you need to build relationships with in order to be successful? Who will give you honest feedback?

Make your plans
1. What skills and experience do you bring to this role? What do you still need to learn?
2. What quick wins can you achieve with your team?
3. What longer term plans can you develop and execute that fit with the company’s strategy and mission?

There are many ways to find answers to these questions and then reflect on the; for example, you can meet people in your new organization, reach out to your mentors and work with an executive coach. The more you can observe and learn in your first 90 days, the more your immediate and long-term actions will be successful in the many days that follow. 

My executive coaching program helps you answer these questions and others, using interviews, assessments and active practice.  Together we evaluate the situation, develop a strategic vision of what you would like to accomplish and then translate that vision into an action plan.  This coaching is not remedial, but aimed at helping already successful individuals maximize their impact, whether you have recently been hired or have already completed your first 90 days on the job.  To find out more, email me at 

Gilda Bonanno LLC © 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gilda's results are so good we keep bringing her back for more

"Gilda is an excellent resource for our employee skill building and development.  We first partnered with her to teach our team how to develop and deliver more effective, clear and concise presentations.  The results were so good that we brought her back to do more presentation skills training with another group of employees and also our finance team which was preparing to present overseas to International customers and colleagues. 

Gilda focuses on results and customizes her programs to our specific business needs.  We also asked her  to help our employees work more effectively with each other both on formal teams and informally.  She created and delivered a custom teamwork program where she taught participants how to adapt their behavior to work better with each other and be open to others' input and ideas to solve problems.

We value our long term relationship with Gilda.  And her results-focused, impactful training is interactive and engaging, even for a group of skeptical, seasoned chartering and operations managers.  I highly recommend her." Linda Doherty, Human Resource Manager, Heidmar

Contact Gilda to find out how she can provide skill development for your team 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Filter Gets in the Way of Your Vision?

by Gilda Bonanno

I recently went to the optical store at the mall because I needed a new pair of sunglasses.

The first pair I tried on made everything yellow.  For a few minutes, that yellow-tinted world became my reality.  The blue sky, visible through the window, became green.  The red sweater I was wearing, viewed through the yellow tint, looked orange. 

The yellow-tinted world was true for me, but it was not real.  Someone else looking at these same things, but without the yellow sunglasses, would have seen entirely different colors.

That got me thinking about my view of the world in general.  How is my view of certain people or situations colored by the mental filter I’m wearing?

Like the sunglasses, I use the filter to protect myself from information overload or unhelpful details.  But, like the sunglasses, the filter can also impair my vision and prevent me seeing people or situations in a clear light.

The next time you are so sure that your vision of a situation is correct, take just a moment to consider whether there is another view of reality that you could see if you just adjusted or removed your filter. 

And as for the yellow sunglasses, I took them off – and replaced them with sunglasses that show everything in true color.

For a humorous take on the process of shopping for glasses, see my humorous essay: April Fools' Humor - Getting Glasses: The Comical, the Bad & the Ugly