Saturday, September 27, 2014

Prevent a Translation Disaster When Presenting

by Gilda Bonanno LLC 

A client shared with me the following story of translation gone wrong:

A speaker presented in Japan to 80 people at an association meeting.  The association found a local high school student who was fluent in English and used him as a translator. 

However, he didn’t know the technical jargon and the speaker spoke too quickly for the translator to keep up. As a result, the audience was frustrated because they didn’t get the full presentation and the benefit of the speaker’s expertise.

Here are 9 tips to prevent a translation disaster from happening to you:
  1. Decide which is best for the situation: simultaneous translation (where the translator listens to your sentence and translates it immediately while he or she is also listening to your next sentence) or consecutive translation (where you pause every few minutes to allow the translator to speak).  Both have their challenges and not every translator can do both well.
  2. Find a translator with translation experience, ideally in the area of technical expertise that you’re speaking about.
  3. Always send your material to the translator ahead of time so they have time to prepare.
  4. Spend time with the translator before your presentation (ideally in person) to go through your entire talk, paying special attention to idioms and industry jargon.
  5. Check with the translator about any humor you have planned, including avoiding sensitive or taboo topics.
  6. Understand the cultural nuances of whether people will laugh or ask questions and how you can check for understanding.
  7. Decide whether/how you will handle questions.
  8. When delivering, speak slowly and enunciate. 
  9. Check in occasionally during your presentation to make sure the audience understands what you’re saying.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Public Speaking Basics: You Know Them, But do You Do Them Consistently?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC 

It is one thing is to know something intellectually and another thing is to actually do it, and do it consistently.

This applies to public speaking skills, too.  “Doing it” consistently is what matters.

Several years when I was teaching a public speaking class, a few of the participants remarked, "we already know this stuff."  However, when I watched their presentations later that day, it was clear that even though they claimed to know “this stuff” about the fundamentals of good presentations, they hadn’t practiced it consistently.

Instead, their presentations were full of filler words (like "um" and "ah"), the organization of their information was jumbled and hard to follow, their slides were overcrowded with too many words in tiny font and their message was vague.

In order to be a good presenter, you have to go back to the basics of presentation content and delivery.  Master these basics through repeated practice and feedback, until they become a regular, consistent part of how you present.  Then you’re ready to say, “I know this stuff” and “I do it.”

For a review of the fundamental building blocks of good presentation skills, check out my articles:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gilda's Articles Appear in SNEC-PMI Newsletter

Two of my articles appeared in the latest newsletter of the Southern New England Chapter of the Project Management Institute (SNEC-PMI). 

SNEC-PMI, whose mission is to to provide resources, professional development and networking opportunities to enhance Project Management, is one of the largest PMI chapters with over 1700 members.

As a certified Project management Practitioner (PMP), I am a proud member of the chapter and have keynoted at their annual conference.

Here is the link to the newsletter with my articles, When Presenting, Don't Go Over the Time Limit and Applying Lean Principles to Presentation Skills: Optimize the

It's a great resource if you work in Project Management or are interested in learning more about it. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Photos from Marist NJ Alumni Networking Workshop

On September 9 I presented "How to Schmooze" at a networking workshop for the Marist College New Jersey Alumni.  Held at Covanta in Morristown, NJ, 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!

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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Reader Question: How to Move When Presenting Slides

by Gilda Bonanno LLC

I love responding to reader's questions. Recently, a colleague who teaches in an MBA program emailed me the following question about the speaker moving in the front of the room while presenting slides:
"Several students have walked across the room in front of their slides [while presenting], and it has caused them to be bathed in "slide light." I have suggested that they only move purposefully, for example, to shift to their next point or tell a story. I also suggested that they black out their slides when they do so, if they are using slides.

Anything else you would add on moving from one side of the room to another?"

This is a great question - here's how I responded:

"You're "right on the money" regarding walking in front of the room! Presenters should move with purpose - to walk to the flipchart, to move to the other side  of the room so they can face that part of the audience more comfortably, etc. Most of the time they should "stand and deliver" (as I was told by one of the Toastmasters World Champions of Public Speaking, Mark Brown).

Blacking out the screen is a great idea to avoid being "bathed in slide light." (I love the way she phrased that!).

Another option is to insert a black slide into your presentation that will remind you when it's time to move (for example, to hand something out or tell a story from the other side of the room). Just create a blank slide and format it with a solid-fill black background - I learned this tip from Garr Reynolds and his wonderful Presentation Zen blog

And if you are emailing the presentation to people or it will be posted on a website, remember to remove the black slides or they will confuse people and use up a lot of ink if printed."

Do you have any additional suggestions or horror stories of "slides gone bad"? Post them here on my blog - and feel free to post additional questions for me to answer.


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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"Unleash Innovation" - Improv at the National Speakers Association Convention

My colleague Avish Parashar has written a great article about how to innovate:  "Unleash Innovation by Using Constraints to Your Advantage."

His article includes footage of an improv scene I performed in at the National Speakers Association Convention.

It was fun to perform improv in front of a large audience of our fellow professional speakers - and Avish was a talented director!

Read his article and watch the video here:

Gilda Bonanno's blog