Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Photos from Xian, China

In between training programs in Shanghai, China, I was able to visit Xi'an and see the sights, including the famous Terracotta Warriors. 

A view of the city wall in Xian from the road
(Photo courtesy NU)

Atop the city wall in Xian

The city wall was wide enough to walk on
(Photo courtesy NU)

Royal transport, now on display on the city wall in Xian
(Photo courtesy NU)

A view of a Xian street, taken from the city wall
(Photo courtesy NU)
A view of a park from the Xian city wall

For more photos of my trip, see the following posts

Gilda's Photos -Xian, China

Gilda's Photos -Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Part 1

Gilda's Photos -Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Part 2

Gilda's Photos - Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Part 2

The soldier behind me is in position to ride a chariot

According to our tour guide, each warrior face was different, and created
by a craftsman based on sketches from actual faces

The figures were destroyed shortly after the tomb was constructed
so as they are unearthed, they need to be reassembled
(Photos courtesy of NU)

For more photos of my trip, see the following posts:

Gilda's Photos -Xian, China

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

Gilda's Photos - Xian, Terracotta Warriors, Part 1

In between training programs in Shanghai, China, I was able to visit Xi'an and see the famous Terracotta Warriors. 

The figures, dating from the 3rd century BC, were to protect the emperor, Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.  They were discovered in 1974 by local farmers digging a well.  They are in the process of being painstakingly unearthed and restored. 

There are thousands of figures, including warriors, horses and chariots.

The figures were made of terracotta and painted. 
The paint faded after the figures were exposed to the air.

(Photo courtesy NU)

(Photo courtesy NU)

For more photos of my trip, see the following posts:

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

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gilda's Photos - Xian, China

In between training programs in Shanghai, China, I was able to visit Xi'an and see the sights, including the famous Terracotta Warriors. 

With a Laughing Buddha at a Buddhist Temple in Xi'an, China

The Hanyang tomb, resting spot of emperor Liu Qi, of the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD)
In contrast to the Terracotta Warriors,
burial objects unearthed in this tomb include clay figurines of farm
animals, people, tapestries and jars.
A display outlining the tomb.  Long pits radiate from the central tomb,
each representing a different part of the emperor's administration.

A burial pit, seen from above.
 You cover your shoes with plastic and walk on a glass floor
to see into the pits.

(Photos courtesy of NU)

For more photos from Xian, see the following posts:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"I Don't Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore" - from Dan Pallotta, HBR

Harvard Business Review has a great blog post by Dan Pallotta about the meaningless words and phrases that creep into our business conversations (and presentations). 

For example, here is what he calls a combination of "Abstract Valley Girl 2.0 Acronymitis Using Meaningless Expressions"

"You should meet this guy with the SIO. He's sort of this kind of social entrepreneur thinking outside of the box in the sustainability space and working on these ideas around sort of web-based social media, and he's in a round two capital raise in the VP space with the people at SVNP." 

The next time you are presenting or having a business conversation, make sure you use real words with actual meaning so your audience can understand you. 

Read the rest of his post, "I Don't Understand What Anyone Is Saying Anymore" -

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

Monday, December 12, 2011

Success Inspiration Speaker: Use Project Management Skills to Manage Your Life (Video)

Keynote speaker Gilda Bonanno explains how you can use your project management skills to manage your life so you can live more purposefully.

5 mins, 53 seconds

If the video does not play, click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvtoDJLxXhY

The opening of the speech can be viewed in the first  3 Success Inspiration Speaker segments:

*In the Path of the 2004 Tsunami

*Break Out of Your Comfort Zone to Live a More Purposeful Life  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmpsbvKLmEU

*Avoid Career Burnout - Recommit to Your Job or Quit Your Job  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcvUZDtbVeA&feature=colike

The remainder of the speech can be viewed in the 5th and final Success Inspiration Speaker segment:

*Human Change Management

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

Friday, December 9, 2011

If People Yawn During My Presentation, Is It Me?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

Recently, I presented Bold Presentation Skills for Women in Business at a local business association meeting and someone asked me, “If I see people yawning and checking their watches in the audience while I’m giving a presentation, should I assume it’s me?”

Most of the time, it’s not all about you.  People may be yawning because they didn’t get enough sleep the night before or because the room temperature is too warm after lunch and they’re feeling sleepy. 

They could be checking their watches because they have something important to do after your presentation.  Or they saw someone else (even you) check their watch and they’re unconsciously mirroring the behavior (like yawning, watch-checking is contagious – try it sometime in a crowded room or elevator).

So, if you occasionally see your audience members yawn or check their watches, it’s probably not you.

However, if these types of audience behaviors happen frequently during your presentations, regardless of the time, topic or type of audience, then maybe it is you. 

Videotape yourself or get feedback from a trusted colleague to be sure.  And then, make some changes in how you present so you can be more engaging:

  • Make sure your content is relevant and interesting. 

  • Practice adding in audience interaction such as asking questions – not just rhetorical questions, but questions that you’d actually like some answers to. 

  • You can also have each person turn to the person next to them and talk for a few minutes about something related to your topic.  

  • Be aware of your non-verbals – be sure that you’re making eye contact with everyone and that you’re varying your voice to keep their attention.
(And thanks to the audience member for the great question!)

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

Monday, December 5, 2011

Poor Presentation Skills Can Block Your Career

by Gilda Bonanno www.gildabonanno.com

A client shared with me the story of a woman at her company who was smart, talented and ambitious, but had poor presentation skills.  She was fine speaking to people one on one, but in the conference room in front of a group of executives from a client or a potential client, she would “choke.”   

She would get anxious and forget her point, then get lost in her notes trying to find what she wanted to say and not make eye contact with the audience.  Someone else on her team would have to jump in to rescue her and save the situation and the business. 

There was an opening for a senior executive position at the company and because of her technical expertise, she was a candidate for it, but management had witnessed her repeated poor presentation skills and she was denied the promotion.  Her career stalled.

Unfortunately, this is a common problem and demonstrates what I call the Success Formula:™ 

In order to be successful in your career, you must have knowledge AND the ability to communicate that knowledge effectively.   As she found out, knowledge and expertise are not enough; not having that communication ability can block your career.

The good news is that presentation skills are skills, which means that they can be learned, practiced and improved.  With coaching and some effort on her part, this smart woman can become a competent and engaging presenter – and snag the corner office after all!

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

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Manager Who Paused Too Much

Recently someone asked me, “The head of my department pauses a very long time between words when he’s talking informally with us.  I find it very distracting and other people have told me that they find it annoying.  When he’s presenting formally to clients, he is very well-prepared and presents fluidly, with no long pauses.  Should I tell him?”

First of all, let’s be frank.  Giving unsolicited negative feedback to someone two levels above in the organization could be a “career-limiting move.”  So before she makes that move, she has to be very clear about the situation and what she hopes to achieve:

·         Will he be open to the feedback?  It depends on many factors, including how well she knows him and their professional relationship with her manager/his subordinate.

·         Is the “Long Pause” having a serious adverse impact on his performance and the department’s perception of him? 

·         Will he really change his behavior?

Since it doesn’t happen in other situations, he is capable of speaking without the long pause.  But the first step in change is admitting that there is a problem. 

I suspect from what she told me that this manager thinks the long pause is a virtue, not a problem. He may think that it shows he is being thoughtful and thinking carefully about his words. 

What also helps someone change behavior is an incentive or the threat of negative consequences for not changing – neither seems happening in this situation. 

So, it’s up to her to decide whether to tell him directly, share the feedback with someone who has a better relationship with him and can tell him directly, or just keep the feedback to herself and outwardly view the behavior as one of those personal quirks that requires tolerance in the workplace.

This case of the manager who paused too much is very rare.  Most presenters can pause more, whether presenting formally or informally, with a prepared speech or extemporaneous remarks.

Pausing can allow you to catch your breath, demonstrate your confidence, reduce and replace “ums” and “ahs,” and give the audience a chance to digest what you just said.   

The next time you’re presenting, record yourself or ask for honest feedback from people that you trust. Being mindful of how much you pause will help you get just the right amount of pausing for the situation.

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