Friday, April 27, 2012

7 Tips for Incorporating a PowerPoint Presentation Smoothly Into Your Speech

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Recently, I attended a presentation by a smart, experienced professional whose goal was to provide an informative overview of his area of expertise to his colleagues.  Unfortunately, he did not succeed in communicating his message effectively to the audience.  How he prepared and delivered his PowerPoint slides interfered with his ability to share information with the audience. 

What did he do wrong? First of all, the slides were crowded and hard to read.  Also, instead of making eye contact with the audience, he spoke to the slides on the screen or buried his eyes in his notes, which he read from almost verbatim.  Finally, he stood in front of the projector light so we could see his silhouette against the screen instead of the words on his slides.

This was not the first presentation he had ever delivered.  His mistakes had been made permanent by years of practice, which shows that practice doesn't make perfect, it makes permanent – so you have to practice the right things in the right way in order to be effective. 

Here are 7 tips for incorporating a PowerPoint presentation smoothly into your speech (and they also apply if you're using Apple's Keynote presentation):

1. Speak to the audience, not to the screen; turn your body so you face the audience. 

2. If you need to look at your slides to help you stay on track, position your laptop as a "confidence monitor" so you can see the slides on your laptop screen while still facing the audience.

3. Stand to the side of the screen so you don't block it.  And use a remote control so you can advance your slides without having to be tied to the laptop. 

4. Make sure your slides are legible from the back of the room.  Avoid crowding your slides with too many words or images and make sure the font size is large enough.  Also be sure that there is enough contrast so that the font color can be easily seen against the slide background.  If you find yourself saying to the audience, "I know you can't read this," you're in trouble.  And have each slide focused on a message, rather than just a data dump of everything you know about the topic.

5. Be mindful about where your eyes are looking and be sure to make eye contact with all sections of the audience.

6. Don't write out your entire presentation and read it word for word; you will bore the audience.  If you try to memorize every word, you will be stuck in your head, worried about forgetting a word, instead of focused on the audience.  And if you do forget a word, it will be difficult to find it amid the pages of your memorized script.

7. To use notes effectively, create a one-page outline of key phrases in large font so you can quickly glance at it and find your place.  Tape or staple it to heavy cardstock paper so you can easily hold it with one hand or keep it on the lectern.  The heavy paper will not flap around as you handle it and you will be less likely to fold and crumple it if you're nervous.  And if you place it on a lectern, it's less likely to blow away.

The next time you have to incorporate a PowerPoint presentation into your speech, refer to these 7 tips.  Effective slide creation and delivery can support your message and help you successfully communicate to the audience. 

Gilda Bonanno's blog 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Tips for Using Your Voice Effectively

by Gilda Bonanno LLC\

In public speaking, using your voice effectively can help you communicate your message clearly to your audience.  Voice is an important component of your non-verbal communications, or body language, and can express a wide range of meaning and emotion.  The following five tips will help you use your voice more effectively:

1. Increase Your Volume
Your volume should be loud enough so that people can hear you easily.  How loud depends on the room size, the number of people in the audience, whether or not you are using a microphone, the acoustics, etc. If you have the opportunity to use a microphone, use it.  As long as it is working properly and you have practiced using it, a microphone can make it easier for the audience to hear you. 

2. Match Your Pace to Your Audience
You have to speak slowly enough so your audience can understand and digest what you are saying – how slowly is "slowly enough" depends on your audience.  For example, if you're presenting in a language that is not native to the audience or if you're presenting new, complex information, you should speak slower than you usually do.  Record yourself speaking or have someone listen to you practicing the presentation, so you can get another perspective on whether you're speaking too fast to be understood.

3. Use Pauses
Using pauses gives you a chance to catch your breath and means you're less likely to use pause words like "um" and "ah." Pausing also gives your audience a chance to catch up with you and absorb your meaning.  For example, you can pause in between sections of your presentation so the audience can reflect on what you just said and pause when you bring up a new slide so the audience has a chance to read it.  You can also pause before an important word or sentence to clue the audience that they should pay attention, as in "I'm proud to announce that the winner of our contest is [pause]…Jennifer Gonzales."

4. Vary Your Tone
A monotone voice will bore the audience and make it difficult for them to understand your meaning and figure out which words are most important.  Instead, vary your tone to keep their attention and communicate your exact meaning.  A good practice exercise is to repeat the name of a loved one, such as a spouse or child, and each time you say it, vary your tone to convey different meanings.  For example, you might say "Jim?" [is that you I just heard come in the house?] or "Jim!" [hurry up and get in here and help me kill this bug!] or "Jim…" [sigh, I don't know why you can't pick your socks up off the floor…] The variation in tone makes all the difference in your meaning. 

5. Match Your Tone to Your Words
As with other components of non-verbal communications, your voice should match the words that you are saying.  For example, if you say, "I am honored to be in such distinguished company," but your tone conveys sarcasm, the audience will believe your voice rather than your words.  Be mindful of whether your voice tone is conveying energy, fatigue, boredom or impatience.

Following these five tips will allow you to use your voice effectively, which will help you connect to your audience and communicate your meaning.  

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Executive Are Just Another Audience - Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Business writing expert Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has written a great blog post about how to write for an executive audience - her suggestions also apply to speaking in front of executive audiences:

"But executives are just another audience. Like other business readers, they want great ideas and plans presented clearly, concisely, and simply. Unnecessary complexity gets in the way of the message, for them as for people at every organizational level."

Read the rest of her "Executive Are Just Another Audience" post here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

21 Strategies to Get Booked and Stay Booked - NSA CT May 7 Meeting

David Newman: Help Me Hire You- 21 Strategies to Get Booked and Stay Booked
National Speakers Association - CT Chapter (NSA-CT) Meeting
Monday, May 7, 2012, 6-9 pm

As a full-time speaker who spent a year booking other speakers for 160+ events, David will show you how to build your business and increase your visibility, credibility, and hire-ability! Learn exactly what gets speakers hired using 21 specific strategies from someone who booked speakers daily. Extensive handouts will be provided.

Learner Outcomes:
As a result of attending this program, participants will learn:
  • 21 step-by-step strategies for increasing your magnetism, credibility, and marketability as an expert who speaks
  • What meeting planners and conference producers really look for when making buying decisions
  • How to rapidly make subtle changes in your own positioning, packaging, promotion, and performance to dramatically boost your business

The Most Important Information Audiences Will Take Away:
21 specific, actionable steps speakers can take immediately to re-position, re-package, and re-focus their business to attract dramatically more and better bookings by learning what a full-time speaker turned conference producer looks for (and runs away from!) when booking paid speakers for events.

Bio: David Newman is a marketing speaker and founder of Do It! Marketing, a marketing strategy and “done-for-you” services firm dedicated to making professional speakers successful. David served as President of NSA Philadelphia for 2010-11 and was twice voted “Member of the Year” in 2009 and 2011. Free resources including David’s 97-page Strategic Marketing eBook are available online at .

Monday, May 7, 2012
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

Friday, April 6, 2012

Avon's Leadership Edge - ASTD-SCC Apr. 23 Meeting

Gaining Your Leadership Edge: How Avon Is Building Strategic Thinking in Their Future Leaders

American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)
Monday, April 23, 2012, 5:45 - 8 PM

Speakers: Stephen Barankewicz, Senior Manager of Training & Development, Avon Products; Paul Butler, Managing Director and Principal, GlobalEdg

As Learning and Development professionals, we know that we must develop people strategies that are aligned with business objectives so they help drive the business forward. But what does this really mean and how can it be accomplished?

Learn how Avon, partnered with GlobalEdg consultants, has created a disciplined and logical process to quickly assess trends, develop strategies and allocate resources for continued growth. The resulting program enables leaders to understand strategic concepts and apply techniques and tools to current business issues. You will take away:

· Tips about how to think strategically
· Techniques and tools for linking development to the business
· Insights from Avon's experience

The two speakers are Stephen Barankewicz, a member of Avon’s Global Talent Management team, and Paul Butler, Managing Director and Principal for GlobalEdg. With Avon for 5 years, Stephen has earned an MA in I/O Psychology, MA in Behavioral/ Experimental Psychology and BA in Psychology. With an extensive background in large scale change management, Paul’s facilitation methodology has been proven to produce sustainable results and help organizations achieve leadership and functional excellence. In addition to Avon, Paul has worked with Timex, J&J, Green Mountain Coffee, TJX, Post Foods, P&G, Dean Food.

April 23, 2012
5:45 PM - 8:00 PM
The Norwalk Inn
Norwalk, CT
$35 Guest
$50 Member
$20 Student

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Monday, April 2, 2012

Mental Rehearsal - from Lifehacker

LifeHacker had an interesting post about the power of mental rehearsal - the example is from a movie stuntman, but could easily apply to your public speaking:

"If you're ever nervous about going after a particularly risky opportunity (maybe starting your own business, climbing Mount Everest, or just pitching a new idea to your boss), remember this advice from a movie stuntman, someone who puts himself at risk regularly: Mentally rehearse until you see the situation perfectly."

Read the rest of the post here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog