Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Quick Tips to Avoid Rambling When Presenting

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

When you are presenting, it is important to speak clearly, confidently and succinctly. Here are 5 quick tips to keep you from rambling on and on… and confusing your audience…

1. Have a clear outline. Write it out in words or draw it out visually – and only include information related to your message.

2. Speak in shorter sentences so there is less opportunity for you to get stuck saying "…and…um..."

3. Be fully present to your audience – stay in the moment (rather than getting lost in your head) so you can hear what you are actually saying.

4. Your default syntax should be: Complete thought. Period. Pause (breathe). Next sentence.

5. Practice the transition to the next slide or section so you don't lose your place and start rambling.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Gilda's Photos from Austin, Texas

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Last week, I was in Austin, Texas to conduct a supervisory training program for a global Fortune 300 industrial gas company.  The program was held outside of the city, in Lake Travis. Here are a few photos:

Sunset over Lake Travis, Austin, TX

Sunset over Lake Travis, Austin, TX
(the water level is low in the lake due to the drought)

Looking down from my balcony onto a family of deer

The view from the training room -
no, I didn't get a chance to go in the water!

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Signs of Confusion

This sign was posted in the hotel where I conducted training recently in southern California.

The sign is confusing and fails to communicate its message strongly. 

I assume that whoever created the sign wanted people to know that because events such as meetings and parties are held in this section of the hotel, there is the likelihood of loud music, which could cause hearing impairment.

However, the wording is confusing - I had to read it a few times before I got the message.

There are several grammatical errors - "increase" should be "increased," for example.  And the order of the clauses is confusing.

How did this confusing message end up on the final sign? Either the person creating the sign thought the message was clear, or he or she didn't bother to proofread it.

The next time you have to write an email or stand up in front of a group and present, remember that you are creating a message - and that message should be clear and strong rather than garbled and confusing.

And for help avoiding grammatical errors, check out Lynn Gaertner-Johnston's blog

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

5 Tips for Creating a Crisp and Memorable Introduction

If you are the speaker at a meeting, conference or event, it's one of your responsibilities to provide a written introduction to the meeting organizer.

Here are 5 tips for creating a crisp and memorable introduction:

1. Make it short.
An introduction is not the same as your full biography or a list of everything you've ever accomplished. It will always take longer to read out loud than when you read through it in your head after you write it... so make it shorter than you think it should be. You can include a longer biography in the meeting invitation that is sent ahead of time, or in the handouts at the meeting itself.

2.  Include only relevant details.
It should only include highlights of your experience that are relevant to this particular audience. For example, when I speak to project managers, my introduction includes the fact that I have the PMP (Project Management Practitioner) credential since it is relevant to that audience. However, when I speak to entrepreneurs, I omit the PMP from my introduction and replace it with the fact that I run my own business.

3.  Send it ahead of time.
Send your introduction to the meeting organizer ahead of time. Sometimes the meeting organizer doesn't bring a copy for the person who is going to introduce you, so also bring a copy printed in large font on colored, hard-stock paper, just in case it's needed.

4.  Include phonetic pronunciations of any unusual words.
For example, my introduction includes a phonetic pronunciation of my first name: Gilda is pronounced "Jilda."

5.  Review it with your introducer.
Take a few minutes before the meeting and go over the introduction with the person who will introduce you. Ask them to read it word for word to the audience rather than trying to memorize it or ad lib. If there are special logistics, such as having to read the introduction in snyc with slides, explain it to him or her before the event.

For tips on how to actually do the introduction, see my blog post - "Please DO Read the Speaker's Introduction Word for Word"

Having a crisp and memorable introduction will help get your presentation started on a solid footing.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Please DO Read the Speaker's Introduction Word for Word

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

If you are introducing a speaker at a meeting, conference or event, it's not only okay to read his or her written introduction word for word, it's also necessary.

Introductions are one of the rare exceptions to the "don't read your presentation" rule.

The speaker will have prepared the introduction carefully and included the information he or she would like to share with this particular audience. (The introduction will be shorter than the speaker's full bio which might have been included with the event invitation.)

There is no need to memorize the introduction.  Memorizing is very difficult to do and your focus would be on remembering the words rather than engaging the audience.

And there is no need to hide the fact that you're reading the introduction. Practice reading it, so you can do so in a comfortable, confident and engaging manner and look up occasionally to make eye contact with the audience.

If you have any questions about pronunciation, ask the speaker. If there are special logistics, such as having to read the introduction in snyc with slides, practice it fully with the speaker before the event.

And please, try not to ad lib. I've seen introducers try to make a joke about the speaker - and the joke falls flat, or worse, sounds insulting.

(For more on how jokes can ruin a presentation, see my blog post, 4 Reasons Not to Start Your Presentation With a Joke,

The first few minutes of a presentation are critical and your introduction of the speaker can help set the stage for success.

And if you're the speaker, see my blog post, 5 Tips for Creating a Crisp and Memorable Introduction
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Monday, February 20, 2012

Robin Sharma's Communication Strategies

Leadership guru Robin Sharma has written an interesting blog post with six communication strategies for building successful business and personal relationships.  And his strategies can be applied to presentations, whether your audience is comprised of one, one hundred or one thousand.  Here is an excerpt:

#1. Be Real
Call it being authentic. Call it being yourself. The fact is that few things are as powerful as standing in the presence of a person who is really really comfortable in their own skin. What I’m suggesting is that you speak with your unique voice and that you live under your true values and that you present the real you to the world around you. Please trust me on this one. I promise you that when you get to the last hour of your last day, you will regret having lived the life society sold you versus the life that you knew deep within was meant for you.
#2. Smile
Sure this sounds obvious. But what makes greatness is the daily executing around simple ideas. And if smiling during good and hard times was so easy, then why is it so hard for most people? I travel across the planet constantly. But no matter whether I’m in Qatar or Napa, Buenos Aires or Malaysia, Mumbai or Amsterdam, a quick and genuine smile to a stranger always connects. Unites. Uplifts.

Read the rest of his post here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Friday, February 10, 2012

Creating Sustainable Organizational Performance Through Employee Development - ASTD SCC Feb 27 Meeting

The "Heart" of Development: Creating Sustainable Organizational Performance Through Employee Development

Speaker: Dr. Stephen Lambert, Senior Director of Talent and Organizational Development, Skanska USA
American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)
Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, 5:45 - 8 PM
 •How do people really develop?
 •How can we create sustainable organizational
 performance through development? 
•Is it time your organization consider a different mindset and metaphor for development to increase the bottom line?

With over 20 years' experience working in Talent Development, Dr. Lambert will share his most recent experience with Skanska, an $18 billion dollar multinational organization with 52,000 employees in the project development and construction industry.  Prior to this he worked at Pfizer for approximately 10 years.

Date: Monday, February 27, 2012

5:45 PM Networking/Registration
6:15 PM Dinner and Program
$35 Chapter Members; $50 Guests; $20 Students

Reservation Deadline: Thursday, February 23, 2012

Meeting Location:
Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Gilda Bonanno's blog


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How to Schmooze Classes in Stamford & Greenwich

Gilda will teach "How to Schmooze" classes in Greenwich and Stamford in March and May 2012. See below for details:

How to Schmooze
Hate networking events because you never know what to say? Do you get stuck talking to the one person in the room that you know? Whether you're looking for new clients or a new job, or just looking to broaden your professional horizons, networking is a key ingredient of your success. This interactive session will teach you the techniques of successful networking so you can schmooze with ease.

Greenwich Adult Education, Wednesday, May 9, 2012; 7-9 pm

Stamford Adult Education, Wednesday, March 7, 2012; 6-8 pm

Gilda Bonanno's blog