Saturday, September 29, 2012

NSA-CT Tuesday, October 16 Meeting

National Speakers Association - CT Chapter (NSA-CT) Meeting

TUESDAY meeting with Special Guest Speaker Dr. Dorothy Martin-Neville, Speaker, Author, Psychotherapist & Healer

Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 6-9 pm
Hilton Garden Inn, Shelton, CT

Finding your passion and not being afraid of risk / change / or re-branding to turn up your business!

“Dr. Dorothy” is a licensed psychotherapist & healer, a speaker and author. She has been in private practice since 1983. Although traditionally trained, her interest moved to integrative/holistic health care as she consistently recognized the impact that life events have on her patients. She came to see that those who live life passionately and positively - rather than merely surviving it – are the folks who achieve real success and/or health. As a result, taking risks and coming alive has become Dr. Dorothy’s message across the board.

As a child from an orphanage, the housing projects of South Boston, an ex-nun, former airline stewardess, wife, single mom, international speaker, and author who lived in the Caribbean for 10 years, she has lived her dreams and is preparing for more. A frequent radio and television guest, Dr. Dorothy has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Radio Network, in the Huffington Post, and on many other radio/TV/print outlets.

Many speakers have been relying on their 'same ol' safe presentations...but might need to find new branding, new marketing, and fresh perspectives for a new message. Find your true passion and don’t be afraid of taking risks! If a ghetto kid...turned nun...turned airline stewardess...turned Doctor/Business entrepreneur can live her dream…so can you!

Many of us have lived the life we were “supposed” to live or are now simply living a life that no longer fits us. Finding that life and passion that is truly ours – that is the one we were meant to live – is not very complicated at all. However it does requires letting go of the outside world for a while and looking within your self – experiencing your self.

In listening to your own body, you are listening to your heart and to your soul – where those dreams and that life you are meant to live exist.

Come learn:
 •5 simple steps to claiming your dreams
 •What is needed to reclaim your passion and remember your dreams
 •How the values you live today may or may not support the life you want
 •What it takes to make your new dreams a part of who you are today
 •Michelangelo said: The greatest danger is not that your hopes are too high and you fail to reach them but that they are too low and you do

Tuesday, October 16, 2012
6:00 PM - 9:00 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, September 28, 2012

Latest Coaching Trends Panel - ASTD-SCC 10/22 Meeting

Latest Coaching Trends Panel
American Society for Training & Development Southern CT Chapter
October 22, 2012, Norwalk, CT

The Executive Coaching profession has evolved dramatically over the last decade. We have seen a dynamic shift from coaching only C-suite executives to coaching high potentials to “coaching on demand”, anytime, anywhere, when needed! Attend our October 22nd panel to find out:
How do companies use coaching today?
  • Where is the executive coaching profession headed?
  • Is everyone coachable?
  • How is the success of a coaching engagement measured?
  • What are best practices in coaching?
Come and learn from our panel of subject matter experts as they offer their unique perspectives on the trends in Executive Coaching.

Our speakers for this event are:

Karen Kirchner - Executive Coach and Training Consultant
Career Management Consulting.
Karen will discuss the future of Coaching and current trends seen by local firms.

Rondi Frey – Director, Leadership & Organizational Development, Norwalk Hospital.
Rondi will discuss the corporate role and how to select the right coaches, particularly for demanding clients such as doctors.
Ellen Keithline Byrne, MA, LPC- Assoc. Director, Learning & Organizational Resilience, Save The Children
Ellen will discuss the new “Pro Bono” coaching model.
Rick E. Spann - Executive Coach, Gateway International.
Rick will discuss how coaching can be successful virtually & remotely, bringing a new global perspective to coaching.

Date: Monday, October 22, 2012
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
Member in-transition: $25
Non-Members: $50
Students: $20

To register or for more information, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Monday, September 24, 2012

Does Aikido's Shu Ha Ri Help With Presentations?

by Gilda Bonanno

Recently, a presentation skills coaching client asked about Shu Ha Ri, the cycle of training used in the Japanese martial art of Aikido and sometimes applied to software development and used as a model for other learning.

As I understand it, here are the 3 stages of Shu Ha Ri:

Shu: This stage is for building the technical foundation by learning the kata or essential forms and drills - "the student should be working to copy the techniques as taught without modification and without yet attempting to make any effort to understand the rationale of the techniques of the school/teacher."

Ha: Now that "each technique is thoroughly learned and absorbed into the muscle memory," it is up to the student to "to reflect on the meaning and purpose of everything that s/he has learned and thus come to a deeper understanding of the art than pure repetitive practice can allow.... "   

Ri: In this stage, the student becomes the practitioner and "must think originally and develop from background knowledge original thoughts about the art and test them against the reality of his or her background knowledge and conclusions as well as the demands of everyday life."  (All quotes from Ron Fox, The Iaido Newsletter vol 7, no. 2 #54

Applying Shu Ha Ri to Presentations
With some modifications and consideration, Shu Ha Ri can be applied to learning presentation skills.

When you are in the foundation-building stage of presentation skills, it is helpful to work with a coach or be mentored by an effective presenter as you focus on your goals:
  • What would you like to look and sound like when you are present? 
  • What do "effective" and "confident" look like in your company or industry culture? For example, in some companies or industries, presenters are expected to have command of large amounts of data and be able to answer detailed technical questions, while in others, presenters are considered confident if they present without notes. 
  • What would you expect the audience to do, be or know as a result of your presentation? (Do you want them to be informed, persuaded, entertained?)
Repetitions, drills and practice can help you to remember key elements of presentation skills, such as pausing and breathing at the end of a sentence rather than saying "um," or smiling and making eye contact with the audience. 

Don't Get Stuck in Shu
However, as you  are working with and learning from someone else, you have to be very careful not to just copy his or her presentation style exactly.  It would be like wearing someone else's clothes - they may look great on the other person, but they won't quite fit you. 

You have to be certain not to get stuck in the Shu stage and instead, move into the Ha stage where you analyze and understand why certain elements may or may not work for you and other people.  For example, some people can look very comfortable moving around the stage with a handheld microphone while others would be better standing in one spot with a lavaliere microphone. 

Each person has his or her unique presentation style or "voice" and while you can adapt techniques that you see other people using, you cannot completely copy anyone else's style.  Watching yourself on video can help you analyze what works and what doesn't, as can working with your coach or mentor.

Arrive at Ri
The ultimate goal is to arrive at Ri, which Yukio Takamura described as "a state of execution that simply occurs after shu and ha have been internalized....  It is form without being conscious of form. It is intuitive expression of technique that is as efficient as the prearranged form but utterly spontaneous." (Yukio Takamura, edited by Nanette Okura

Ri would mean when a presentation is seemingly effortless and you are comfortable with your content and truly in the moment connecting with and engaging the audience.  Achieving Ri would mean that you are not worried about the technicalities and individual aspects of your presentation because you are relying on your training, practice and experience to allow you to create a coherent whole that makes sense to your audience. 

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Applying "Genchi Genbutsu" to Presentations

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

One of the key principle of the Toyota Production System and Lean manufacturing is "genchi-genbutsu," or "go, see, and confirm." Here is a descrption and example of "genchi genbutsu" from Implementing Lean Software Development From Concept to Cash by Mary & Tom Poppendieck:
"Consider the Sienna. The first version of the Toyota minivan didn't sell particularly well. When Chief Engineer Yuji Yokoya set out to improve the vehicle, he knew he needed more than focus groups and voice-of-the-customer data. So he followed Toyota tradition of genchi-genbutsu, or "go, see, and confirm." He drove a minivan—usually a Sienna—for 85,000 km (53,000 miles) through every state in the United States, every province in Canada, and every estado in Mexico.
He usually traveled with a key member of the design team, including John Jula, a good-sized engineer who would redesign the seats. As he traveled, Yokoya came to understand what Sienna customers would value: more space, comfortable front seats for parents, a back designed for kids, and family pricing. The resulting 2004 Sienna more than doubled the minivan's sales and raised the Sienna to the top of a crowded pack." (Chapter 3, Implementing Lean Software Development From Concept to Cash by Mary and Tom Poppendieck)
How does the concept of "genchi genbutsu" apply to presentations?

Essentially, it means you should understand your topic from the audience's point of view.  How do they view it? What do they need to know about it?

If you don't know, then try to speak to a representative sample of the audience and understand the issue as they see it.  Before you can change their mind about a topic or improve their understanding of it, it helps to know where they are starting from.

If you are speaking to a new audience, perhaps a different division of your company or a new client, it can help to physically visit their location before you speak or at least arrive there early, so you can walk around, observe the culture and listen to the jargon. 

Also get comfortable with your physical environment.  Sit in the audience's seats - literally - and see what the front of the room, your slides or the stage look like. 

And if you're a paid professional speaker, genchi genbutsu means that you don't just show up, speak and then leave - you actually spend time at the conference or company meeting people and understanding their needs.  And you do more to customize your speech to your audience than just occasionally inserting the name of the client.

Applying genchi genbutsu to your presentation will ultimately result in a presentation that is more tailored to your audience and resonates with them. And you will come across as a sincere and well-informed professional rather than as a pompous "talking head."

(Thanks to blog reader VJ for the Poppendieck reference.)

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Golden Rule of Communications

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

The Golden Rule of Communications says to communicate unto others as THEY want to be communicated to - not as YOU want to be communicated to....

You may prefer to give a lot of background information about your project, but if you know that your audience of high-level executives are focused on how actual costs compare to budgeted costs, provide that information in the first few minutes of your presentation.

Or maybe you prefer to focus only on the sales data as shown in the monthly spreadsheet, but you know that your audience of sales managers likes to hear about customer experiences.  So start with a customer story and include several more throughout your presentation.

When developing your presentation, focus on your goal - what do you want the audience to understand and remember? And then prepare to deliver that message in a way that will make sense to that audience. Put yourselves in their shoes.  You cannot tell them everything you know about your topic, but only what is most important for them to know, delivered in a way that makes sense to them.

Yes, of course you can "push the envelope" a little and try to move them outside of their comfort zone.  For example, the audience may be used to seeing boring slides of bulleted lists and instead, you provide slides with high-quality images and very little text.  But make sure that your core message is structured and delivered so that it will be clear to the audience. 

Think of it as trying to speak the audience's language - while it may not be native to you and you may not be as comfortable with the grammar and the vocabulary, they will appreciate your effort and it will make it easier for them to understand you.

Gilda Bonanno's blog


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Learn to be a Professional Speaker - Oct 20 Madison CT

NSA-CT Speaker Academy
Speaker Academy is a one day information packed event that includes professional video feedback and guidance.

October 20, 2012
9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Mercy Center at Madison
167 Neck Road
Madison, CT 06443

This event is designed for people who want to learn more about one of the most powerful but often overlooked business tool you can possess -- the ability to influence and persuade audiences and colleagues. Speaker Academy has been designed to show professionals and beginners alike the necessary skills that can make you stand out in today’s competitive business climate.

$125.00 Member Attendance Speaker-U
$99.00 Earlybird rate before September 24

Gilda Bonanno's blog