Sunday, December 22, 2013

Photos from Speech at Dominican College Nov. 6

On November 6, I had the pleasure of speaking at the President's Lecture Series at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY.  I presented, "How Will You Spend Your 28,000 Days?" to a great group of students from Dominican and Tappan Zee High School. 

With Event Organizer/Tappan Zee High School history teacher Matt Robertson
 and Dominican College Asst. Dean of Students, Rachel Colucci

Photos courtesy of Terry Lynch
Gilda Bonanno's blog


Thursday, December 19, 2013

When Presenting, Stay Within Your Time Limit

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
When you’re giving a presentation, it’s crucial that you don’t go over the time limit. 

Whether you’ve set it yourself or have agreed to a time limit set by the meeting organizer, you need to prepare so that you can cover your topic within that time limit.  No one will usually complain if you end a minute early, but the moment you go past your time limit, people will get restless and impatient.  

It’s disrespectful to ignore the time limit.  If you go over by ten minutes, what you’re really saying to the audience is, “what I have to say is so important that I really don’t care what it is that you’re missing while you sit here and listen to me.” And that’s not the message that you want to send to your audience and it certainly won’t help you keep their attention.

(Yes, the situation is different if you are running a discussion, negotiation or brainstorming session where everyone decides that more time is needed.  But what I’m talking about here is a presentation where you have a fixed amount of time and a fixed amount of information to convey within that time limit.)

The best way to determine how long it will take to deliver your content is to practice delivering it and time yourself, particularly if it’s the first time you’ve given this presentation.

There is no magic formula about how long it takes to present a certain number of slides.  It depends on how much information is on the slides, how long you take to explain it and whether you answer questions during your presentation or at the end. I’ve seen people spend an hour on one slide. I’ve also seen them deliver twenty slides in three minutes.

Cut out what you don’t need
Focus on what the audience needs to know, rather than everything you could possibly tell them.  Eliminate anything that’s not related to your message.  If  it doesn’t support or help the audience understand your message, eliminate it..

Keep extra material in your notes in case you get a question about it.  You can also send it to people before or after the presentation, but don’t clutter your presentation with extraneous information that wastes time. 

This is a difficult part of the process, especially if you’re an expert in your field.  There’s so much that you could say and that you want to share, but you don’t have the time.  So you have to be careful at choosing which facts, stories, examples, data, that you’re going to share and which ones you’re not.

Acknowledge that you are not covering everything
During your presentation, you can say, “in the interest of time, I’m not going to go into detail [on the design of this experiment, the process by which gathered this data, etc.].  If you’re interested, see me afterwards and I’ll share it with you.”

If you stay within your time limit when you’re presenting, the audience is more likely to pay attention and remember your message.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Monday, December 16, 2013

Photos from Marist CT Alumni Networking Workshop

On November 14, I presented "How to Schmooze" at a networking workshop for the Marist College Connecticut Alumni.  Held at GE in Stamford, CT, this event gave alumni a chance to learn how to be more effective networkers and to practice their schmoozing with fellow alumni. A great group of fellow Red Foxes!

Marist CT Alumni Chapter President Linda Burhance welcoming the audience

Gilda presenting "How to Schmooze"

Networking in action

Networking is a skill -
which means you can get better at it!

For more networking tips, view my videos:
How NOT to Introduce Yourself at Networking Events:
How to Introduce Yourself Quickly:
How to Network at Holiday Parties:
Photos courtesy of Marist Alumni Office
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Employee Learning Week Hot Topics Round Table 12/9

American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)

Monday, December 9, 2013, 5:45-8:00 PM

Annual Employee Learning Week "Hot Topics Round Table" – an interactive forum to learn and share best practices around trends in workplace learning and performance:

The Changing Face of the T&D Profession, the Re-Defined ASTD Competencies, and the Need to Adapt to Our Changing Learning World. Facilitator: Jamie Millard, National ASTD Chapter Advisor, Executive Partner and co- founder of Lexington Leadership

Manager as Coach. Facilitator: Karen Kirchner, Executive Coach and Managing Partner of Karen Kirchner Consulting

Social Learning Communities. Facilitator: Jeff Potocki, e-learning Social Analyst, Mercer

Generating Collaboration within Organizations, Practical "How- Tos" of Arriving at Win-Win Outcomes. Facilitator: Steve Gardiner, Senior Director, Management and Organizational Development, Purdue Pharma 

Aligning Employees with Organizational Change. Facilitator:Laura McNerney, President, Hospitality Resource Group

Come engage with learning and development leaders, share your expertise and learn about the latest trends. You will have the opportunity to participate in two different topic discussions. Don't miss this opportunity to build your expertise and expand your network!

Monday, December 9, 2013
5:45 PM Networking/Heavy Hors D'Oeuvres
6:15 PM Round Table Discussions Begin

$37 Chapter Members; $50 Guests; $20 Students

Note - Chapter Member Walk-Ins: $40

Registration Deadline: Thursday, December 5 , 2013
Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT

To register or for more information, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Bad Presentation Example

In case we need a reminder that bad presentations still happen, here is an email from one of my readers, who prefers to remain anonymous:
I thought of you several times yesterday morning, when I attended the XYZ program [name changed to protect the guilty!] in which the presenter needed your help:
  • He began with a rambling introduction that ate up precious time.  
  • He did not have a remote, so he had to stand at the computer to advance his slides, which blocked many people’s view of the slides. 
  • Without a remote, he went up to the screen and pointed, with the light from the projector covering his body.
  • He had no printed copy of the slides, so when he wanted to find a slide to answer a question, he had to scroll through his slide deck rather than just glancing at a paper copy and seamlessly clicking once to the slide he wanted. 
  • He did not budget his time. With just 7 minutes to go (of a 90-minute presentation), he had us start a game that would take 15 minutes. He explained being behind on the schedule by saying he thought he would be starting at 7:30 rather than 8 (we have 30 minutes for networking). But when he realized he was starting at 8, he should have adjusted his presentation!
It was unfortunate that he was not a better presenter because I was interested in the content. His behavior was a distraction.
This is definitely not the reaction that you want from your audience! If you are given an opportunity to present, don't make these mistakes.
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Willie Jolley presents 11/19 at NSA-CT

The National Speakers Association of CT proudly presents:
Turbo Charge Your Speaking Career!
presented by Dr. Willie Jolley,CSP, CPAE

November 19, 2013
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hilton Garden Inn
25 Old Stratford Road
Shelton, CT 06484
The Attitude and Achievement Expert - Seats are limited and expected to fill.

Learn how to build and sustain a profitable speaking and product business. Lots of people start out to have a speaking business, but many don’t last!
Learn how to:
  • Create a brand that stands the test of time
  • Develop multiple streams of income
  • Overcome the blocks that keep you from reaching your full potential.
  • Bonus: Manage your back office to ensure bottom line profits.

About Willie Jolley
The Attitude and Achievement Expert!"
Helping Organizations Worldwide ... to Do More, Be More and Achieve More
* Named "One of the Outstanding 5 Speakers In The World" - by Toastmasters International
* Best Selling Author of "A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback" & "An Attitude of Excellence!"
* Host of "The Willie Jolley Show" on CBS-TV, PBS, Sirius/XM & WHUR-FM

Nov 19, 2013
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hilton Garden Inn
25 Old Stratford Road
Shelton, CT 06484

Free to Members/Associates
$35 for Guests

For more details or to register, please visit
Gilda Bonanno's blog


Thursday, November 7, 2013

WBDC Breakfast - Women With Impact

The CT Women Business Development Council's 12th Annual Business Breakfast - Women With Impact was a great success!
It was standing room only on October 24 at the Stamford Marriott, with over 500 people in attendance.
I'm a past WBDC Board member and honored to have worked with the speakers and panelists this year. To find out more about WBDC, visit

WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore with Honorary Chairwoman Nancy Wyman, Lt. Governor of CT and Guest Speaker Denise Nappier, Treasurer of CT
WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore with Guest Speaker Senator Richard Blumenthal
Gilda Bonanno; Patti Clements, Event Chair and Panelist Sarah Fisher, CEO Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing;

Final prep in the Green Room with Mistress of Ceremonies Diana Sousa, VP of Corporate Communications, Cigna Corporation and WBDC Founder and CEO Fran Pastore

Panelist Sarah Fisher, CEO Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing; Panelist Laurie Tucker, Sr. VP of Corporate Marketing, FedEx Services; Moderator Teresa C. Younger, Exec. Dir, CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women; Panelist Susan Duffy, Exec. Dir, Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College
All photos courtesy of Regina Madwed, Capitol Photo Interactive

Gilda Bonanno's blog


Monday, November 4, 2013

Gilda to Speak at Dominican College President's Lecture Series 11/6

I'm honored to have been invited to speak as part of the President's Lecture Series at Dominican College in Orangeburg, NY. 
I will present "How Will You Spend Your 28,000 Days?" on November 6 at 7:30 PM. The event is open to the public. 
How Will You Spend Your 28,000 Days?
It's never too early (or too late) to learn to be self-confident.
In this motivating session, illustrated by Gilda's experience of being near the path of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, you'll gain a vivid appreciation of the importance of believing in yourself and taking action to achieve your dreams.  And you'll understand the communication skills that will help you along the way.
After this talk, you won't want to spend another thousand of your estimated 28,000 lifespan days feeling lost or settling for less - and you'll be on your way to building a meaningful and successful life, no matter what the future holds.
About Gilda Bonanno
Gilda gave her first major speech as valedictorian of Marist College, where she shared the stage with commencement speaker James Earl Jones.
She is now a professional speaker, trainer and coach who helps people improve their presentation and communication skills so they can be more successful. She achieves these results by combining her business background with her improv comedy performance experience and a conviction that with the right training and practice, anyone can become a more effective communicator. She has worked with executives throughout North America and in South America, Europe, China and India.
Gilda holds a master’s degree in history from Fordham University and an Advanced Business Certificate in Management from the University of Connecticut School of Business.
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bold Presentation Skills: How to Deliver Bad News About a Failed Project - Video

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

Professional speaker and executive presentation skills coach Gilda Bonanno answers a question about how to deliver bad news about a failed project to the stakeholders:


If the video does not play, click here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Gilda's post featured in how biz grows blog

My post, "Don’t Hand Out Business Cards in the Restroom – and Other Networking Tips for Small Business Owners," was featured in management and marketing expert Joey Sargent's blog, how biz grows.

Read it here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Conquer the Fear of Public Speaking

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

If you’re afraid of giving a presentation, that fear tends to take on a larger-than-life quality.

You may fear that everything, from your job to your family, is going to go wrong if you do a poor job with this one presentation.

©Kitty -
That fear really starts in your head and your heart, with what you are telling yourself about your skills.

Hear It
First of all, you want to get inside your head and think about what you’re telling yourself. 

What do you hear in your head before you go to present? Probably something negative like “don’t make a fool of yourself” or “no one wants to listen to me.”  Think about it – you are speaking to yourself in a negative voice that you would never use with a friend or family member.

Name It
I call this loud, critical (and lying) voice the Joy-Sucker because it sucks the joy and the life out of your presentation and undermines your confidence.  Others have called it the “gremlin” and creativity expert Julia Cameron calls it the “censor.” You should give it a name that resonates with you and captures the negativity of the voice. 

Replace It
Once you acknowledge the Joy-Sucker, you have to replace it with a positive mantra – a positive phrase or affirmation that you can repeat.  Something positive, like “you can do it” or “I have something worth sharing with this audience” will go a long way towards boosting your confidence and helping you access your knowledge and experience.  Practice saying this to yourself just before you present. 

Remember, These Are Just Skills
The good news is that presentation skills are just skills, which means that you can practice and improve them.  I have never met anyone – even someone who started out afraid - who could not become a competent presenter with the right practice and preparation.

So if you have a great fear of public speaking, practice hearing and naming that Joy-Sucker Voice and then replacing it with something more positive.  Combined with practice in content and delivery, you’ll be on your way to being a more confident and competent presenter.

Photo © Kitty -
Gilda Bonanno's blog  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sun Products Case Study - ASTD-SCC 10/28 Meeting

American Society for Training & Development - Southern CT chapter meeting (ASTD-SCC)
Monday, October 28, 2013, 5:45-8:00 PM
Simulation-Based Training: A Sun Products Case Study
Bill Bubbico, Senior Manager, Business Process Improvement, Sun Products
Kathy Sherwood, Senior Partner, Sherwood Learning Solutions
In today's learning and development environments, training professionals strive to find ways to bring to life the complex human factors that make up our professionals' day-to-day operational worlds.

Sun Products, featuring Bill Bubbico, Senior Manager - Business Process Improvement and Kathy Sherwood, Senior Partner of Sherwood Learning Solutions, will present an actual demonstration of their computer based simulation addressing such common situations as:
  • Changing requirements
  • Department heads refusing to supply necessary resources
  • Conflict in the workplace
  • Technical difficulties
Learning Leaders can use these insights to improve not only performance, but employee satisfaction and engagement!!
Monday, October 28, 2013
Norwalk Inn and Conference Center
99 East Avenue, Norwalk CT

Chapter member (at the door) - $40.00
Chapter Member (pre-registered) - $37.00
Chapter Member In-Transition - $25.00
Guest - $50.00
Student - $20.00

Networking: 5:45 PM
Dinner Served: 6:30 PM
Program: 6:45-8 PM
To register or for more information, visit

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Marist Alumni Networking Workshop 11/14 in Stamford, CT

You are cordially invited to participate in an interactive workshop featuring Marist alumna and communication skills expert and professional speaker Gilda Bonanno '93.

Thursday, November 14
6:30 to 8:30 PM
General Electric: Global Learning Center
777 Long Ridge Road
Building C, First Floor
Stamford, CT 06902

Topic: How to Schmooze
Do you 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 a recent grad looking for a job, a mid-career professional seeking to earn a promotion or get new clients, or a senior professional transitioning to new opportunities, networking is a key ingredient of your success!

In this interactive and fun session, you will learn the techniques of successful networking so you can schmooze with ease.

Learn the secrets of being a master schmoozer, including:
  • How to listen and think on your feet
  • How to harness the power of non-verbal communications
  • How to deal with difficult people, like the obnoxious egotist and the boring timehog
  • And, you'll get a chance to practice your networking with the other Marist grads in attendance
There is no fee to attend and guests/colleagues are welcome to join you. Light refreshments will be available.

Please register online by Friday, November 8 -

For questions, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 845-575-3283 or

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Public Speaking Coaching Tip: Don't Hide Behind the Podium in a Dark Room

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
One of my clients comes out of the equity research in finance and is now an author on a book tour. He posted a video on a private YouTube channel of him giving a talk and asked for my feedback.

One of the things that I immediately noticed was that the lights were dim and he stood hunched behind the podium making eye contact with the big screen rather than the audience

I suggested that instead of focusing on the screen, the focus should be on him as the speaker.    So he needs to set up the room, lighting and slides so that everyone can see him clearly.  And if possible, he should step out from behind the podium or at the very least, make eye contact with people in the audience.   Once he made those changes, his presentation improved dramatically.   (This is why video is so powerful because it gives you that opportunity to see how you might come across to your audience.)

These are mistake that I see frequently.  Speakers tend to hide behind a desk or podium with the focus is on the screen.  This is really the opposite of what should occur. The focus should be on you as the speaker. You are the presentation; the slides are just the visual aids. The lighting should be set up so he focus is on you rather than everybody sitting in a dark room looking at slides.

While it is possible to speak effectively using a podium, for example, to put your notes on, you have to be aware of how the setup looks to the audience.  Think about it from their point of view.  If you use the podium, don’t let it become an obstacle to your connecting with audience.



Gilda Bonanno offers presentation skills coaching in person or virtually over the phone or using Skype.  She will help you prepare an upcoming presentation or review a past presentation that you have on video.
Gilda Bonanno's blog


Friday, October 4, 2013

Build Your Audience- NSA-CT Meeting October 8

Steven Iwersen: Build Your Audience - Creating a 3-D Speaking Business That Generates Results
National Speakers Association - CT Chapter (NSA-CT) Meeting  
Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6-9 pm
Consistently successful speakers have learned that speaking to one audience at a time is a slow way to build a business. What if you could speak to three audiences at the same time? Well, you actually do every time you engage an audience. Steven Iwersen will help you see your business model from a different perspective. In this session you will:
  • Discover your three audiences
  • Define a 3-D Strategy that fits your business model
  • Learn how to leverage your content from the platform and through social media
  • Offer a package to meeting planners that gets you in front of all 3 audiences.
  • Develop product strategy that appeals to the different audiences
About Steven Iwersen
Steven is a keynote speaker and keeps a busy schedule speaking at conventions around the country and providing leadership training for companies. He is an NSA Member, the Past-Chairperson for the NSA Chapter Leadership Committee (2012-13), and a Past-President of the NSA-KC chapter. Steven is the author of “Chasing Porcupines: How to Lead Prickly People.”
October 8, 2013
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Hilton Garden Inn
25 Old Stratford Road
Shelton, CT 06484
Free to Members/Associates
$35 for Guests
For more details or to register, please visit
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Women With Impact - 12th Annual WBDC Business Breakfast 10/24/13

7:30 am - 9:30 am

The Honorable Nancy Wyman, Lieutenant Governor, State of Connecticut, Honorary Chairwoman
Diana Sousa, VP of Corporate Communications, Cigna Corporation, Mistress of Ceremonies 

The Honorable Denise L. Nappier, State Treasurer of Connecticut,Guest Speaker
Teresa C. Younger, Executive Director, CT Permanent Commission on the Status of Women
Sarah Fisher, CEO, Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing
Susan Duffy, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College
Laurie Tucker, Senior Vice President of Corporate Marketing, FedEx Services
2013 Event Sponsors:

The Vince & Linda McMahon Family Foundation
Fairfield County Business Journal
Hearst Media Services
American Express OPEN
Gilda Bonanno LLC
TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank
WAG Magazine
W2W Magazine

The Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich
Bourgeon Capital Management, LLC
Building and Land Technology
The Cue Ball Group
FedEx Corporation
Independent Outdoor, Inc.Jim Thompson, Friend of WBDC (Temple University)
McCarter & English, LLP
P3 Global Management, Inc.
Pitney Bowes, Inc.
Prudential Annuities
Shipman & Goodwin LLP
Stamford Hospital
TFI Envision, Inc.
Table Hosts
The Ayers Group
Bank of America
BNY Mellon
Charlotte T. Suhler
Citizens Bank
Cohen and Wolf, P.C.
Gen Re Corporation
Harman International
The Human Resource Consulting Group
Impact Personnel, Inc.
Kiss-U Corps, LLC
Law Offices of Dori B. Hightower, LLC
Mitchell & Sheahan, P.C.
People's United Bank
PCI Creative Group LLC
Ring's End
Sacred Heart University
Sullivan & LeShane, Inc.
Tauck World Discovery
Thomson Reuters
Towers Watson
UBS Financial Services
Vintage & Vines
Wells Fargo Private Bank
The WorkPlace
Gilda Bonanno's blog

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Power of Storytelling in Presentations

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

When we were children, we loved stories.   If somebody said, “Once upon a time…,” you snuggled into your bed or into a comfy chair with your blanket or your teddy bear and got ready to listen. 

As we got older, many of us stopped liking stories because “stories are just for kids.” We don’t realize (or admit) that we spend time watching soap operas, medical dramas or reality shows because they are interesting stories and we feel connected to them in some way.

And in business, we definitely forget about stories. We think, “well, this is business. I have to be serious” and so that’s what we become – we put on serious clothes, wear a serious face and use serious body language (and sometimes seriously bad slides with lots of serious bullet points!). 

But somewhere, deep down inside, the child with the blanket and the teddy bear still likes to hear stories.

Stories are not childish. Yes, they work for children, but they also work for adults, even in business. 

Many cultures around the world transfer knowledge through stories. In our families, we share family history through the stories we tell about Great Aunt Betty or Uncle Sam in the old county or Mom before she got married. 

Stories help us connect and remember information and I encourage you to try out storytelling in your business presentations.

Outline Your Presentation Like a Story
You do not have to start out with “Once upon a time” -  just think about your presentation as a story. If we take the elements of storytelling and make the language business appropriate, we can tell the story of our project or of our company and why it is important or useful and how it is going to make life better.

Your presentation should follow the standard story outline:

·         Introduction: give the audience a preview of what’s coming, introduce your message and let them know how long you are going to speak

·         Body: your supporting points, which may include some characters

·         Conclusion: wrap it all up neatly with a bow: “Here is what I told you. Here is a reminder of my points. Here is one last restatement of my message” (or in other words, “and they lived happily ever after…”)

Tell Real Stories
And in addition to thinking of your presentation as a story, tell real stories, no matter what your field.  Craft a story using a real example of how you solved a problem, or how a customer used your product.  If you make sure the story is relevant and practice telling it clearly and concisely, people will remember it and the message you are communicating. 

Effective presenters know the power of stories.  So the next time you have to give a presentation, think of it like a story and also include real stories.

Gilda Bonanno's blog