Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Powerful Presentation Skills: Organize Your Material Around Your Message

Professional speaker and presentation skills coach Gilda Bonanno explains how to create a focused message for your presentation and organize your content around it.

(2 minutes, 36 seconds)

If the video doesn't play, please click on this link:

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Powerful Presentation Skills: The Success Formula

Professional speaker and presentation skills coach Gilda Bonanno explains why having knowledge and expertise is not enough to be successful - you also need the ability to communicate that knowledge and expertise effectively.

(2 minutes, 43 seconds)

If the video doesn't open, click on http://youtu.be/akF8Ku0Zs00

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gilda Helps Client with US Senate Presentation

Gilda Bonanno and client Fran Pastore, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council, in front of the U.S. Capitol building on June 16, 2011. Pastore testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and Gilda helped her prepare her presentation.

To read the testimony, visit http://sbc.senate.gov/ and under "Witness Panel 2,"click on Fran Pastore.

To view the video, visit http://sbc.senate.gov/ and click on the "Archived Webcast" - Ms. Pastore's testimony begins at minute 93

Connecticut Business Woman Testifies Before US Senate on Eliminating Inefficiencies, Duplications, Fraud and Abuse in Federal Agency

Stamford, CT - Fran Pastore, President & CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship in Washington DC on June 16 during an Examination of US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Programs to review eliminating inefficiencies, duplications, fraud and abuse in the agency. Ms. Pastore was invited to testify by staff of Senator Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana, Chair of the Committee. Senator Olympia Snowe (R) Maine is the Ranking Member.

Pastore’s testimony focused on the need for continued funding of the 110 federally funded Women’s Business Centers in the US. WBDC, based in Stamford and serving the entire state of Connecticut is one of those centers. Several weeks ago, the US House of Representatives recommended that the SBA eliminate funding for that specific program.

During her testimony Pastore pleaded with members of the committee on behalf of women entrepreneurs around the country to preserve this program. “My goal is to persuade you and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle that the WBC program, which provides a wide variety of services, including training, counseling and mentoring, is vital to women entrepreneurs of all socio-economic backgrounds - especially minority and low-income women to whom entrepreneurship provides a logical and reachable goal to economic self-reliance.”

Pastore was given 36 hours notice to prepare her testimony and called upon WBDC BOD member Gilda Bonanno, a Stamford-based communication skills expert and professional speaker, for assistance. “Given the quick turnaround required, our focus was to craft a clear and concise message that gave voice to the thousands of entrepreneurs who have benefitted from the Women’s Business Center program,” Bonanno said.

The WBC program, administered by the Office of Women’s Business Ownership provides taxpayers with a good return on investment: For a Federal investment of $36.5 million between FY 2001 to 2003, a total of $500 million in gross business receipts were generated – a 14:1 ratio of business revenues to Federal dollars invested. In addition, these firms generated a total estimated profit of $51.4 million. Members of the Connecticut Congressional Delegation, such as Senator Joe Lieberman, have supported this program since its inception in 1988.

According to the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development 2010 Impact Report, WBC clients who received 3 or more hours of counseling reported a 47% increase in sales. Businesses that receive assistance from WBCs have significantly higher survival rates than those businesses not receiving similar support. WBCs offer access to all of SBA’s financial programs, which have had a major impact on women-owned micro businesses.

During FY 2009, the SBA backed nearly 10,000 loans worth about $2 billion to women business owners and women entrepreneurs received $26.8 million in investment capital through the SBA’s small business investment companies.

Pastore concluded her remarks with: “Let’s not destroy the hopes and dreams of women entrepreneurs, many from low-income and minority backgrounds, many of whom are single mothers, working multiple minimum wage jobs, who see the dream of entrepreneurship as a game changer. Owning and operating a microenterprise and developing good financial habits empowers these women to achieve their humble goals: a roof over their heads, a secure future for their children, and a way up. Thus, it has a positive impact on their children and their communities because they become active contributors to the American economy as taxpayers and by creating jobs for themselves and others.”

The WBDC, based in Stamford, serves approximately 1200 individuals annually. WBDC helped start 120 new businesses and assisted 240 existing businesses-creating more than 200 jobs in Connecticut in 2010. In May, Governor Malloy supported the program with a grant of $150,000 from The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. This month the City of Stamford eliminated its funding for the WBDC for the first time in a decade.

To learn more about WBDC please visit http://www.ctwbdc.org/

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Business Lessons From the Dalai Lama - link

Here is an interesting article, "Business Lessons From the Dalai Lama,"  by Rieva Lesonsky on the American Express OPEN Forum.

It includes lessons such as:

"2. Have a focus - Through his frequent public speaking engagements, writings and visits with international leaders, the Dalai Lama works to fulfill his three major commitments: to promote human values and ethics, foster religious harmony and help the Tibetan people and culture survive. At this particular event, audience members were allowed to ask questions, and no matter what they asked, the Dalai Lama’s answers always referred back to these primary goals. Keeping your business’s mission in mind can help you stay just as focused on your ultimate goals."

To read the rest of the article, visit

(And thanks to marketing guru Marcia Yudkin for calling my attention to the article!)

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Communication Problem: "No One Asked Questions During The Teleconference"

by Gilda Bonanno LLC http://www.gildabonanno.com/

In April, I presented "Bold Presentation Skills" for the Project Management Institute, Central Massachusetts chapter (CMass PMI). During the session, a project manager asked me the following question:

"I set up a teleconference to introduce a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to about sixty customers. No one had any questions or responded to me on the call. What should I do to prevent this from happening next time?"

Here is how I responded to her question:

1. Ask "What questions do you have?" It's an open-ended question that is more likely to elicit a response than the closed-ended, "Do you have any questions?"

2. Pause after you ask, "What questions do you have?" Not everyone has a question on the tip of their tongue; some people need time to formulate a question and to muster the courage to speak up. So resist the urge to fill the empty airtime by jumping into your next point. Be comfortable with the silence.

3. If you've had questions from people during the day or when working with them one-on-one, ask them to share it on the teleconference. Sometimes people are shy about asking questions because they feel "stupid," so explain that the questions will help you and the others on the call, who probably have similar questions but are afraid to ask. (For more on the decline in asking questions as we grow up, see my June 6 blog post, To Learn More, Be Like a Child & Ask Questions)

4. Introduce the questions yourself; for example, you could say, "Earlier today someone asked me about…" or "Usually at this point in my presentation, customers usually ask me…"

5. Go around the "virtual room" and ask people by name, "What one thing have you learned/picked up so far?" Then you can repeat the round and this time ask them, "What would you still like to know about…?"

With the right planning and communication, you can set up an environment where participants ask questions on your teleconference, so they can get maximum benefit and you can gauge how the implementation is going.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Friday, June 10, 2011

Million Dollar Web Sites - NSA-CT June 20 Meeting

Chad Barr: Million Dollar Web Sites: How Entrepreneurs Can Leverage the Web to Dramatically Transform Their Businesses

National Speakers Association - CT Chapter (NSA-CT) Meeting   Monday, June 20, 2011, 6-9 pm

As an entrepreneur, what can you do to build a million dollar business? What are other million dollar entrepreneurs doing with their Web sites that would help you break through to the next level? How can you ditch the hum drum online brochure about your company, and build a Web site that strengthens your brand, wins new clients, generate more revenue and allows you to stand out in the crowd. 
In this program, Chad Barr, who created Alan Weiss's digital on-line empire, will show you how easy it is to make more money and build a community of loyal clients who love doing business with you.  You will learn how to greatly improve your online presence, market yourself online, and profit from your Web site.

You will learn how to:
  • Create instant credibility
  • Analyze your Internet Strategic Profile
  • Create a Million Dollar blueprint to success
  • Attract customers with Internet Marketing Gravity
  • Avoid key mistakes people make with their sites
  • Get results from Twitter, Linked In and Facebook
  • Easily incorporate podcasts and videos to reach new audiences
  • Quickly produce product to fill your accelerant curve and generate revenue
  • Develop a practical action plan to turbo-charge your growth

About Chad Barr
Chad Barr is a unique individual who successfully helps his clients leverage technology to dramatically transform their business and create irresistible attraction. His firms, CB Software Systems and The Chad Barr Group, have attracted organizations that span the globe and include clients in Italy, Germany, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.

Chad devotes much of his time to writing, coaching, consulting, speaking, heading his company and pursuing its vision. He has published over 60 articles and is the co-author of the new upcoming book, Web Dreams, with Dr. Alan Weiss.

Chad leverages the Internet and helps create the finest professional communities in the world. His firm, The Chad Barr Group, is recognized as one of the leading Internet development organizations in the world.
June 20, 2011
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hilton Garden Inn
25 Old Stratford Road
Shelton, CT 06484
Free to Members/Associates
$30.00 for Guests
For more details or to register, please visit http://nsact.org/meetinginfo.php?id=15&ts=1287504061

Gilda Bonanno's blog http://www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 6, 2011

To Learn More, Be Like a Child & Ask Questions

by Gilda Bonanno LLC http://www.gildabonanno.com/

Recently, I was in Rome, Italy, teaching a career development program for a corporate client there. On the first morning of the training program, participants introduce themselves and answer the question, "Why are you excited to be here?"

One of the participants from Belgium responded:
"I'm excited to be here because I want to learn more about myself and the business. My five-year-old son just started school and I'm amazed at how much he learns every day. I have committed to trying to learn like him – every day."
It was an inspiring comment at the start of a training program and a great reminder for facilitators and participants that our capacity for learning is vast and for most of us, underutilized.

Children learn in many ways, including by asking questions. They are naturally curious and are not afraid of looking silly, so they ask numerous questions every day, often to the chagrin of their parents and teachers, who don't always know how to answer: "Why did my dog Rover die?" "If God created everything, then who created God?" "Why does a ball bounce but not an egg?"

Somewhere along the way, in the process of getting educated and growing up, children learn to stop asking questions and stop being curious. They learn that asking questions is a sign of weakness and makes you look bad because you don't know the answer.

So we can try to reverse that process and decide to be like children today, by asking more questions, being curious about the world and opening our minds to the possibilities for learning that are all around us.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gilda's Chapter, "Improv Rules!" Published in Paid to Speak book

Gilda's chapter, "Improv Rules! Five Ways to Make Your Speeches More Powerful and Engaging," appears in the new book, Paid To Speak: Best Practices For Building A Successful Speaking Business (affiliate link)

Covering every aspect of launching, building, and maintaining a successful speaking career, Paid to Speak is a must-read for professional speakers--whether keynote speaker, motivator, coach, trainer, facilitator, or consultant--as well as those aspiring to a speaking career.

Gilda's chapter, "Improv Rules! Five Ways to Make Your Speeches More Powerful and Engaging," is based on her experience as a professional speaker and as a founding member of the World Class Indifference improv comedy team, which for the past six years has performed comedy shows and taught classes in New York City and Connecticut. She incorporates improv techniques into her speaking, training and coaching, helping people learn to think quickly, be creative and develop confidence.

Paid to Speak is divided into four sections to correspond to the four core competencies that the National Speakers Association (NSA) has identified for success as a professional speaker:
  • Eloquence: platform mechanics, presenting, and preparing
  • Enterprise: business management, sales, and marketing
  • Expertise: topic development, authorship, and product development
  • Ethics: professional awareness and professional development
Thirty-four working NSA members who have built thriving speaking businesses weigh in with valuable insights and proven strategies on a gamut of topics, making Paid to Speak essential to any speaker's list of reference materials.

Read Paid to Speak from cover to cover, or open it to any chapter, for tried-and-true, hands-on information on taking your speaking career--and your bank account--to the next level. 

About the National Speakers Association (NSA)
NSA is a not-for-profit association with more than three thousand professional speakers as members. Founded in 1973, NSA is the leading organization for professional speakers. NSA offers the highly acclaimed Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) certification, online education programs, Speaker magazine, Voices of Experience audio publications, conferences, research, and networking opportunities. NSA is also a member of the Global Speakers Federation. http://www.nsaspeaker.org/

Gilda is President of the CT chapter of NSA http://www.nsact.org/

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com