Tuesday, April 29, 2014

When You Present, Be Aware of Your Non-Verbal Communication

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

body language

When you are presenting, it is important to be aware of your non-verbal communication.  When you say one thing and your non-verbals or body language says something else, the audience gets confused and tends to believe the non-verbals.

For example, if you say to an audience, “Welcome to my presentation. I’m so excited that you are here – this is going to be exciting” but you don’t make eye contact, your hands are shaking, you have a weak and very soft voice, what will the audience believe?  They may believe that you are anxious, unhappy to be there and boring - even though your words say otherwise. 

Here are the elements of non-verbal communication that you need to be aware of when presenting:
Make Eye Contact With the Audience
Looking people in the eye means that you are comfortable with the material and that you are actually trying to connect with them.  Make eye contact with different people in the audience in a kind of random pattern.  Hold the eye contact for about three to five seconds, which is about the time it takes you to complete a thought.   

Energize and Vary Your Voice
Speak loudly, slowly and clearly enough to be heard and understood easily by your audience.  Keep your voice energized by breathing fully.  Avoid speaking in a monotone.  Vary your pitch, volume and speed to communicate the meaning of your words and to keep the audience engaged.  And use pauses to allow your audience to absorb what you’ve just said and to give yourself time to think of what you’re saying next (rather than filling the silence with “um” or “ah”).

Use Natural Gestures
Use gestures to illustrate what you are saying.  For example, you can use your gestures for location. You can say, “We have clients from Asia and Europe,” and use your hands to show those locations.  When not gesturing, your hands should be hanging loosely at your side.

Move With Purpose
Your default position should be to stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart, weight evenly distributed on both feet, knees relaxed.  Then if you need to move closer to the audience to emphasize a point or you want to move to a different part of the room or to the flipchart, move with purpose.  Avoid nervous pacing.

Don’t Forget Your Facial Expressions
Be aware of your facial expressions and make sure they match what you are saying. Smile when appropriate since it can relax you and reassure the audience.

When you are preparing for a presentation, it’s important to be conscious of your non-verbal communication or body language.  Practice until your non-verbals are natural and complement your presentation rather than distracting from it.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Public Speaking for Special Occasions: Five Questions to Ask Before You Speak

Whether you’ve been asked to give a wedding toast, a retirement party roast, a funeral eulogy or some other kind of special occasion speech or presentation, here are 5 questions you should consider before you speak:

1.    What is the goal of the event?
Think about the overall goal of the event – is it a happy celebration or a sad remembrance? Do you want the audience to laugh, cry, ponder, be entertained….?

2.    Who is in the audience?
What is the background of the people in the audience? How many people are expected? Are they work colleagues of the guest of honor, friends or family? What are their ages? For example, the insider jokes and industry jargon that may be appropriate for work colleagues may not make sense to family members in the audience.

3.    What is your message?
What is the one point that you want people to remember from your speech? Every story and statistic you share should relate to that one core message, which should be in tune with the overall tone of the event.

4.    How much time do you have to speak?
What is the time limit for your presentation? What comes before and after you? Will someone introduce you?  Whatever your time limit, prepare to speak for less time and have a backup plan in case a previous presenter goes over the time limit.  One of my clients prepared a funny limerick to present at a colleague’s retirement roast, but the previous speaker rambled on well beyond his time limit, so my client had to rush through his limerick.  

5.    What is the environment like?
What is the room size and layout? Will you present sitting or standing or from behind a podium? Is there a microphone for you to use? What is the lighting like? (I’ve seen speakers struggle to read their notes because the room is dimly lit).  If you can’t practice in the room before the event begins, at least try to find a picture of it, so you can be more comfortable in the space when you present.  

Asking these questions will help ensure that your speech or presentation is successful and that you convey a message that is appropriate to that audience and aligned with the overall purpose of the event.

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

Monday, April 21, 2014

Diversity & Inclusion Panel Discussion - ASTDSCC 4/28 Meeting

So. CT Chapter of the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD-SCC) presents
Diversity and Inclusion Panel Discussion: Training (or Un-Training) for Cross-Cultural Competence in Today's Global world
Monday, April 28, 2014
5:45-8:00 PM
Norwalk Inn
99 East Avenue
Norwalk, CT
Nancy DiDia, Executive Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Engagement, Boehringer Ingelheim USA
Marjorie Derven, Managing Partner, HUDSON Research & Consulting, Inc.
Vanessa Abrahams-John, Director of Global Diversity, Praxair, Inc.
Moderator: Veronica J. Holcomb, Founder & Owner, VJ Holcomb Associates
Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) continues to evolve to keep pace with other trends such as globalization, dispersed work teams, and the multi-cultural marketplace. Most diversity initiatives have moved well beyond making the business case and raising awareness, to addressing new and unforeseen challenges resulting from changes in the business environment.
As learning professionals, we have a unique responsibility to understand the impact of these changes so that we can develop the learning events and tools today’s leaders need to navigate across cultures effectively.

Please join us for this lively and informative discussion with some of the area’s leading D&I experts about:

  • New challenges brought by globalization and dispersed work teams
  • How organizations are addressing these challenges
  • The mandate for cross-cultural competence for all leaders
You will not want to miss this timely and topical discussion!

Chapter Member - $37.00 (USD)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Branding With Dick Bruso - NSA-CT 4/29 Meeting

CT Chapter of the National Speakers Association - April Meeting with Dick Bruso
April 29, 2014
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Shelton Public Library - Huntington Branch
41 Church St.
Shelton, CT 06484
Join us for A Branding Extravaganza! Two Incredible Sessions in One Power-Packed Program Presented by Internationally Acclaimed Branding Expert, Dick Bruso
Come Build Your Brand! This is your opportunity to begin the process of creating your very own distinctive brand using the incredible power of story. In addition, if you currently have a viable brand you will be shown some very creative and dynamic ways to expand it. Regardless of where you’re at in your speaking career, learn how your story can bring focus, clarity and life to your brand.
Session One: “How To Be Heard Above The Noise: Branding Your Uniqueness”

This jam-packed and highly practical session is designed to help professional speakers develop their distinctive brand, focus on their uniqueness to successfully reach their target markets, and position themselves to be "heard above the noise” in the marketplace.

Highlights include how to:
• Create a compelling, memorable, and distinctive brand centered on “your story” that truly sets you apart in everything you say and do
• Maximize your ability to reach your target market(s) via creative branding, the incredible power of media, and strategic networking.
• Produce powerful tools and products to significantly enhance your brand’s visibility
Examples of dynamic branding, unique positioning, and creative marketing approaches successfully utilized by fellow speakers and other professionals will be shared throughout this session.

Session Two: “Brandstorming”
During this highly interactive session, Dick will demonstrate (with the assistance of several audience members) how you and your colleagues can develop brands based on your unique and powerful stories designed to truly set you apart in the marketplace. You’ll, also, learn the secret of how to apply the “umbrella branding” approach to encompass all aspects of your speaking practice.

About Dick Bruso
An international speaker and founder of Heard Above The Noise®, Dick Bruso is a highly regarded branding and marketing expert. He teaches his audiences and clients how to develop and expand their story-based brands to powerfully penetrate the marketplace.

His clients include best selling authors and in-demand speakers, as well as successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. He is a contributing author, on the topic of branding, to NSA’s popular books, Paid To Speak and Speak More!

Dick is an active member of NSA and NSA/Colorado. He served as president of NSA/CO for 2005-2006 and prior to then was a member of the NSA National PR Advisory Task Force. Dick, also, served as the 2009-2010 Chair of the NSA Writers & Publishers PEG, as the Chair of the NSA Academy for Professional Speaking for 2011-2012 and as the Co-Chair of the 2012 Cavett Institute.

This meeting will be held at
Refreshments will not be available
Members: Free
Guests $35
To register or for more info, visit http://nsact.org/meetinginfo.php?id=49&ts=1395801519

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Warm Up Your Voice

Your voice is an integral part of your presentation.  Here are some voice exercises to help you warm up your voice so you can deliver your presentation with ease:

·         How to breathe:
  • Breathe from your diaphragm rather than your chest
  • Feel your stomach move out as you inhale air
  • Feel your stomach move in as you exhale and empty out the air – and speak
·         With your hand on your stomach, breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5 counts, breathe out for 5 counts

·         With your hand on your stomach, expel short bursts of air as you say “ha ha ha” from the back of your throat

·         Relax tension in shoulders and neck!

·         Practice your highs and lows:
  • Pitch: start with your lowest pitch and in one continuous breath, move to your highest pitch. Reverse and go from high to low
  • Volume: start with your softest whisper and in one continuous breath, move to your loudest shout. Reverse and go from loudest to softest
·         To practice enunciation, say the sounds for f, p, t and k, and exaggerate the movement of your lips

·         Hum for several seconds at a time – you should feel the buzzing (resonance) in your lips

·         Record yourself – does your voice taper off at the end of the sentence? Are your highs and lows (in terms of volume and pitch) as distinct as you thought they were?
(And to avoid straining your voice, use a microphone if it's available).

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

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Present to Your Peers

by Gilda Bonanno LLC www.gildabonanno.com

Sometimes you have to present to a group of your peers.  And you may be speaking about something they know quite a bit about themselves. How do you come across as being knowledgeable and confident without sounding condescending and cocky?

(C) Avava Fotolia.com
You need to believe that you are qualified to give the presentation.  Start by understanding why you have been asked to give the presentation.  What is it about your knowledge or experience that makes you the perfect person to deliver this presentation? Perhaps you led the project or know the client better. 

(Yes, sometimes you are giving it just because nobody else wanted to do it.  But even in that case, you have earned the right to be presenting.)

Being clear about the reason ahead of time can help you focus and be more confident when you present in front of your peers, rather than being stuck in your head worrying, “Who am I to present? These people know more just as much – or more – than I do about this topic.” 

Once you cover this ground with yourself, you can focus on your material. Think about it from the audience’s point of view – what questions or concerns might they have? 

Then practice your presentation and focus on how you might be perceived by the audience.  Practice in front of a mirror or on camera.  In particular, be aware of your facial expressions and your tone.  Do you sound condescending, like you are lecturing at the audience?

Sometimes you intend to sound one way and you come across differently, so ask for feedback from a trusted colleague.  There can be a subtle difference between a smile and smirk or between sounding confident and sounding cocky and it’s helpful to get feedback about it.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

When You Present, Have a Message

Every presentation you give needs a point – the one core message that you want the audience to remember. Yes, you will have a lot of supporting material and secondary points, but there is really only one message. 

Think of it as a billboard or newspaper headline.  Fit it into one sentence and state it clearly in your introduction.  For example, “The purpose of this presentation is to explain why this project is behind schedule and how we are going to fix that.” Or, “The point of this presentation is to explain the three steps you need to take in order to become a more effective presenter.”

Having a single message makes it easier for the audience to understand your presentation and remember it.  Imagine that we interview everyone in the audience after your presentation and ask them, “What was the point of that presentation?” They should all give more or less the same answer – your message, paraphrased in their own words.

As you prepare your presentation, you need laser-like focus because everything you say should be organized around that message.  And if the example or statistic doesn’t relate somehow to your message, don’t include it.  (Yes, this can be difficult if you are a subject matter expert because the more you know about a subject, the harder it is to present succinctly and with a limited focus).

You can bring extra material with you in case of off-message questions or to be handed out at the end.  You can email an appendix or addendum after your presentation.  But the words that come out of your mouth should be exclusively focused on and organized around your message.

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