Monday, October 31, 2011

Video: In the Path of the 2004 Tsunami

Keynote speaker Gilda Bonanno recounts her experience in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and how it gave her a vivid understanding of the importance of priorities in life and work.

(12 min)

If the video does not play, please click here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Humor Palooza with Ron Culberson - NSA-CT Meeting Nov 14

Ron Culberson, CSP: Humor Palooza - How to Discover, Develop & Deliver Rock-Solid Humor
National Speakers Association - CT Chapter (NSA-CT) Meeting  
Monday, Sept 19, 2011, 6-9 pm

Do you have a serious topic in need of a bolt of “lighten”ing? Is your humor falling flat? Are you funny, but don't know why?

In this session, humorist Ron Culberson will demonstrate six, maybe eight, maybe seven, simple steps to add humor to any presentation. He will show you how to find the humor that's all around you, how to make your really unfunny material funny, and how to deliver humor in a memorable way. Ron believes that humor is both an “art” and a “science.” He will show you how the understanding of both elements is crucial to developing an expertise in humor.

If you attend this session, you will…
  • Learn the different types of humor to add to your presentations.
  • Be able to find humor in your immediate environment.
  • See examples of how to make serious material funny.
  • Learn techniques for effectively delivering humor in a presentation.
*Note: No animals will be harmed in this session.

About Ron Culberson
As a speaker, humorist, columnist, and author of Is Your Glass Laugh Full? and My Kneecap Seems Too Loose, Ron’s mission is to help staff and leaders achieve a new level of success by combining the power of excellence and humor. He shows people how to have more FUN while preserving the integrity of the work they do and the lives they lead.

For ten years, Ron Culberson worked as a home care social worker, Manager of Counseling Services, and Director of Quality Services for a large hospice organization. These experiences taught him about the challenges of working on the front line, in middle management, and ultimately in senior management. He developed a successful career as both a member of a multidisciplinary team and as a leader.

Since 1996, Ron has been the Director of Everything! at FUNsulting, etc. In 2001 he received the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation, the highest earned designation from the National Speakers Association. The CSP is the speaking profession’s international measure of professional platform excellence. In 2009, Ron cofounded Funner Speeches, LLC, a humor writing service for speakers, executives, and politicians. Ron and his partner put (funny) words in the mouths of those who speak.

Finally, Ron’s business model includes dedicating one third of his time to volunteer service. He is Vice President of the National Speakers Association (NSA) where in 2010, he received the President’s Distinguished Service Award He is a Past President of the Washington, DC chapter of NSA where he received the Chapter Member of the Year Award, the Capital Outstanding Speaker Award, and the John J. Daly Founder’s Award. He has served on numerous boards and committees including Capital Hospice, the Art Gliner Center for Humor Studies, and the Herndon Rotary club where he chaired two of their largest fundraisers. Ron has received the Rotarian of the Year, and the Four Avenues of Service Awards, two of the highest awards given.

Monday, Nov. 14, 2011
6-9 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

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Employee Learning Week - ASTD-SCC Dec 5 Meeting

Employee Learning Week - Hot Topic Roundtables
American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)
Monday, Dec 5, 2011, 5:45 - 8 PM

Join us for an interactive forum to learn and share best practices around trends in workplace learning and performance.
Brent Biedermann, Senior Director of Learning & Development at DHL Global Forwarding will lead a discussion on mentoring and share DHL’s success in this important area.
Steve Gardiner, Senior Director, Management and Organizational Development at Purdue Pharma, will share learnings from his work on team development.
Other table facilitators will be announced soon - on topics such as leadership development, eLearning and social media. You will have the opportunity to contribute to two different topic areas.
Don’t miss this opportunity to build your network and expand your expertise!
Date: Monday,  December 5, 2011
Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM

Hosted by the Southern CT chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) at the Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT 203-838-2000

Members: $35
Non-Members: $50
Students: $20

To register or for more information, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why Are There Onions in Your Presentation?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

I love the following story, cited by computer programmer and venture capitalist Paul Graham when he was developing the programming language Arc, a Lisp dialect:

"In The Periodic Table, Primo Levi tells a story that happened when he was working in a varnish factory. He was a chemist, and he was fascinated by the fact that the varnish recipe included a raw onion. What could it be for? No one knew; it was just part of the recipe. So he investigated, and eventually discovered that they had started throwing the onion in years ago to test the temperature of the varnish: if it was hot enough, the onion would fry." (Nov 2001)

What is the moral of the story? Be mindful of the "onions" in your presentation and whether they still need to be there.

For example, are you using slides just because "that's how we've always done it"?  Are you presenting your information in a certain order because that's how your former boss preferred it?

The next time you have to present, identify the onions - and decide whether they still need to be included.

Thanks to vj for sending me Gary Tan's mention of this story-

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We're flying! We're flying!

I fly – a lot.  In the last 9 months, I’ve been on more than 35 flights, all throughout North America and to international locations such as Rio de Janeiro, London, Rome, Shanghai and Madras.

While I appreciate the complexity of getting a plane off the ground and safely to its destination, I’m usually blasé about it, as are most other passengers. 

Recently, I was on a flight from JFK to Chicago and we were first in line for take-off.  The plane was silent, except for the usual mechanical creaks and groans as it increased speed.  Just as the wheels lifted off the ground and we began to lift into the air, I heard the joyful and exuberant voice of a little boy sitting a few rows in front of me, “We’re flying! We’re flying!” 

Everyone around him smiled and I’m smiling as I remember it.  He was so thrilled and he reminded us all how amazing it is for this incredibly heavy and complex machine to lift off the ground and fly. 

His enthusiasm was contagious – and made me wonder if we can muster up even a fraction of that enthusiasm for our work, our experiences or our communications? If not, why not?

 (For more on what we can learn from children, view my post, To Learn More, Be Like a Child & Ask Questions)

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Video: What's the Story of Your Presentation?

Professional speaker and presentation skills coach Gilda Bonanno explains how thinking of your presentation as a story can help you be a more powerful presenter.

if this video does not play, please click here: 

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Public Speaking Doesn't Exist in a Vacuum

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Public speaking does not exist in a vacuum. The purpose of being an effective presenter is not to boost your own ego and talk just for the sake of talking.  The purpose is to share your knowledge, skills, experience, expertise and stories with others, with the sincere belief that it will benefit them. 

You have to believe that you have something worth communicating and that you are capable of communicating it effectively.

Therefore, improving your presentation skills becomes part of a larger strategy of self-improvement that includes building your confidence and your connection to others.  And eliminating any obstacles to letting your voice be heard – because we need to hear all voices, especially yours.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In Memory of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs passed away today and the world has lost a creative genius and an inspiring presenter. 

One of his best presentations was the commencement address he delivered at Stanford University in 2005. Click below to view it.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."  - Steve Jobs                           

(thanks to Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen blog for the link and quote)