Wednesday, November 30, 2011

David Gergen Headlines WBDC Business Breakfast

Recently, I was privileged to attend the WBDC 2011 Business Breakfast, Power, Politics & Purse Strings.  The guest speaker was David Gergen, Presidential Advisor; CNN senior Political Analyst; and Director of the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

He spoke to an audience of more than 400 attendees about the current economic situation, the upcoming political election and the power that women-owned businesses have for contributing to sound economic growth.  He was thoughtful, well-informed and sincere.

WBDC, the Women's Business Development Council, is an organization dedicated to helping women (and men) through professional developement, financial literacy and entrepreneurial training. Programs, classes and coaching are offered throughout Connecticut. 

I'm a member of the Board of Directors (and a past client) and also work with WBDC clients and staff on communication skills and presentation skills.  To find out more about attending programs, becoming a volunteer or contributing to the annual appeal, visit for more information.  

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Patricia Fripp - How Can You Grab Your Audience?

Executive Speech Coach Patricia Fripp has written a great blog post about the importance of capturing your audience's attention in the first few seconds of a speech:

“Your first thirty seconds of your executive communications are like the first page of a book or first seconds of a TV show or film. If you don’t make an impact and hint at more to come, you lose your audience.”

Read the rest of it at

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

Be Careful With Your Sources in a Speech

When you present, you provide examples, statistics and stories to support your message.  However, you have to be careful about what sources you use for your information. 

Just because you read it on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true.  And just because something is from a “study” doesn’t mean that it’s accurate or based on solid principles.  A survey of 30 people may not be a large enough sample size to get statistically relevant results.

My undergraduate and graduate degrees are in history and in those programs, I learned the importance of citing sources, both primary and secondary, so you’re not just making things up and relying on proof by assertion.

Earlier this year, in a keynote speech I gave at a Project Management Institute (SNEC-PMI) Conference, I focused on stepping out of your comfort zone to try something different so you can be more successful and live your life with more purpose. 

I quoted a study that asked CEOs to rank the top five leadership qualities needed over the next five years – and the number one leadership quality was Creativity.  I mentioned to the audience that the study was conducted by IBM, a reputable firm, and cited in PM Network Magazine, a leading industry publication.

I also made sure I knew more about it - it was a study of 1541 CEOS, conducted between September 2009 and January 2010 – and I concluded that the source was reliable enough for me to cite the study in my speech.

So the next time you’re presenting information, make sure you’re clear where it came from and what it really means.  You don’t have to become a statistician but you have the responsibility to ensure that you are not misleading the audience.  If you’re going to use data, be ready to cite the source and do your due diligence to make sure the source is valid.

To view the excerpt from the speech where I mention the study, view my video: Success Inspiration Speaker: Avoid Career Burnout - Recommit to Your Job or Quit Your Job (The video is 8 minutes, 21 seconds - I cite the study around minute 6)

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Serving of Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a time for us to reflect on our blessings and express gratitude.

Here is a great article from the NY Times which explains how gratitude can actually make us happier and healthier:

"Cultivating an “attitude of gratitude” has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and  kinder behavior toward others, including romantic partners."

I find that it's helpful to be specific when communicating thanks - whether written or in person.  And if you're new to gratitude, practice it in small doses. 

Read the article here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Avoid Career Burnout - Recommit to Your Job or Quit Your Job (Video)

Keynote speaker Gilda Bonanno explains how to avoid career burnout by making conscious choices about your career and being open to new possibilities.

(8 mins, 21 secs)

If the video does not play, please click on this link:
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Live a More Purposeful Life - Video

Keynote speaker Gilda Bonanno explains how to overcome the fears that trap you in your comfort zone and prevent you from living with more purpose.  

(6 min 10 sec)

If the video does not play, please click on this link

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to Stop Repeating Yourself When Presenting

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Someone attending one of my recent presentation skills training programs asked me, “I’ve noticed that I tend to repeat myself when I’m giving a presentation.  How do I stop doing that?”

It’s a common problem.  While it’s helpful to repeat your message so the audience understands it, you want to ensure that any repetition is deliberate.  What you want to avoid is “accidental repetition" because it can bore your audience, cause you to exceed your time limit and make you look like you’re unprepared. 

Here are 3 tips for ensuring that you won’t keep repeating yourself:

Have a clear message and know what your sub-points are. 
Get organized
Determine ahead of time how you will arrange, categorize and present your information.  Will you include 3 reasons, 2 points, 5 steps?

Practice saying your presentation out loud.  Focus especially on your transitions, which is where presenters tend to get stuck and repeat themselves.  How will you get from your first point to your second?

If you’d like to repeat a point for emphasis, that’s fine – just be sure it’s deliberate repetition.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How Much Time Does It Take You to Present?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

One of the most common mistakes that presenters make is to go over their time limit.  Why?

Many people are not aware of how long it takes to deliver their presentation – and they tend to underestimate how much time it takes to get through their material.

The only way to be sure of how much time it will take to present your presentation is to practice it and time it.  Practice means saying the words out loud rather than just glancing at your notes and flipping through your slides.  Set a timer and note how long each slide or section takes. 

Practice a few times and you’ll have a good average of how long it will take.  You’re not memorizing your presentation word for word – you are becoming comfortable enough with the material that you can say it several different ways.

And in your planning, you also have to allow time for changes; for example, leave time for questions if that’s part of the program.  And consider that you may speak faster – or slower – when you present in front of a live audience. 

If you practice and time your presentation a few times, you will be less likely to underestimate how much time it will take to present.

Gilda Bonanno's blog