Friday, December 30, 2016

What's Your Point When Presenting?

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
How many times have you sat through a presentation, only to walk out wondering "what was the point of that?!" Whether it was a one-minute presentation or one hour, if the audience doesn't know what the point was, then the presentation was not successful. Here are some things you can do to ensure this doesn't happen to you: 
Have a message. What is the one thing that you want your audience to walk away with from your presentation? That one thing is your message, also known as your theme, your purpose and your point.  Realistically, that's all the audience can digest and remember from a presentation, especially considering the sheer amount of data and information that is thrown at them on a daily basis from all sources.
Describe your message in one sentence.  It could contain a call to action such as "company x has solid financials, a good product and a sound business plan, so we should invest in it." Or it could be informative such as "you can overcome your fear of public speaking." If you can't say it in one sentence, then you haven't focused enough yet.
If something doesn't relate to your message, cut it out. When you are preparing your presentation, look at every example, detail and story you'd like to include and be ruthless about cutting out what doesn't relate to your message.  You want to make it easy for your audience to focus rather than forcing them to sift through all the extra information to uncover your message. If you have extra details, keep them in your notes so you can use them if someone asks you a question.  You can also include them in your handouts (like an appendix in a book), but don't clutter your presentation (or worse, your slides) with them.
Be explicit about your message. State what your message is in your introduction to help your audience focus on your message as you're going through the body of your presentation. And repeat your message in your conclusion so it's the last thing they hear, which will help them remember it.  
Sometimes it's not clear to you what your message is.  In that case, set aside extra time to prepare. Look through your material and keep organizing and reorganizing it until you see one clear theme or message emerge.  You're not ready to deliver your presentation until you have identified it -if it's not clear to you what the message is, it won't be clear to your audience.   

Having a clear message will keep you focused and organized as you are preparing and delivering your presentation.  Your clarity and focus will, in turn, ensure that your audience understands what you are trying to communicate. No one will walk out of the room after your presentation asking "what was the point of that?!"

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Your First 90 Days

You have just accepted a new job as a leader for a company – congratulations! As the ink is drying on your contract and you’re figuring out your commute and the benefits package, take some time to learn about the company and the people you will lead. 

Here are some questions to be thinking about in your proverbial “first 90 days,” when you have the opportunity to make a good impression, learn about the organization and lay the groundwork for personal and organizational success.

Learn about the history
1. Who came before you in this role? Where is he or she now?
2. If it’s a new role, why was it created? Who supported its creation? (and who didn’t?)
3. What is the background of the company? (who founded it, when, why, how has the company evolved since being founded?)

Learn about the culture (which is expressed as “how we do things around here”)
1. What is the culture of the organization overall, your specific business unit or department and the team you will lead?
2. What does the company do? (how does it make money, who is the competition, who are the customers, top selling products/services, biggest challenges, greatest wins…)
3. How could your actions/values be interpreted as fitting in the culture or being “countercultural”?

Learn about the people (meet as many people as possible in person)
1. Who is on your team? What strengths do they bring to their roles? What challenges do they face?
2. Who are the official leaders (in titled roles) and the unofficial leaders (who don’t have the titles, but have influence)? What are the lines of communication?
3. Who do you need to build relationships with in order to be successful? Who will give you honest feedback?

Make your plans
1. What skills and experience do you bring to this role? What do you still need to learn?
2. What quick wins can you achieve with your team?
3. What longer term plans can you develop and execute that fit with the company’s strategy and mission?

There are many ways to find answers to these questions and then reflect on the; for example, you can meet people in your new organization, reach out to your mentors and work with an executive coach. The more you can observe and learn in your first 90 days, the more your immediate and long-term actions will be successful in the many days that follow. 

My executive coaching program helps you answer these questions and others, using interviews, assessments and active practice.  Together we evaluate the situation, develop a strategic vision of what you would like to accomplish and then translate that vision into an action plan.  This coaching is not remedial, but aimed at helping already successful individuals maximize their impact, whether you have recently been hired or have already completed your first 90 days on the job.  To find out more, email me at 

Gilda Bonanno LLC © 2016

Friday, December 23, 2016

Gilda's results are so good we keep bringing her back for more

"Gilda is an excellent resource for our employee skill building and development.  We first partnered with her to teach our team how to develop and deliver more effective, clear and concise presentations.  The results were so good that we brought her back to do more presentation skills training with another group of employees and also our finance team which was preparing to present overseas to International customers and colleagues. 

Gilda focuses on results and customizes her programs to our specific business needs.  We also asked her  to help our employees work more effectively with each other both on formal teams and informally.  She created and delivered a custom teamwork program where she taught participants how to adapt their behavior to work better with each other and be open to others' input and ideas to solve problems.

We value our long term relationship with Gilda.  And her results-focused, impactful training is interactive and engaging, even for a group of skeptical, seasoned chartering and operations managers.  I highly recommend her." Linda Doherty, Human Resource Manager, Heidmar

Contact Gilda to find out how she can provide skill development for your team 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

What Filter Gets in the Way of Your Vision?

by Gilda Bonanno

I recently went to the optical store at the mall because I needed a new pair of sunglasses.

The first pair I tried on made everything yellow.  For a few minutes, that yellow-tinted world became my reality.  The blue sky, visible through the window, became green.  The red sweater I was wearing, viewed through the yellow tint, looked orange. 

The yellow-tinted world was true for me, but it was not real.  Someone else looking at these same things, but without the yellow sunglasses, would have seen entirely different colors.

That got me thinking about my view of the world in general.  How is my view of certain people or situations colored by the mental filter I’m wearing?

Like the sunglasses, I use the filter to protect myself from information overload or unhelpful details.  But, like the sunglasses, the filter can also impair my vision and prevent me seeing people or situations in a clear light.

The next time you are so sure that your vision of a situation is correct, take just a moment to consider whether there is another view of reality that you could see if you just adjusted or removed your filter. 

And as for the yellow sunglasses, I took them off – and replaced them with sunglasses that show everything in true color.

For a humorous take on the process of shopping for glasses, see my humorous essay: April Fools' Humor - Getting Glasses: The Comical, the Bad & the Ugly

Friday, December 16, 2016

6 Strategies for Sounding Confident Over the Phone

by Gilda Bonanno

Presenting over the phone is a common occurrence in business today, whether you are doing a sales call, conducting a meeting or connecting with clients, partners or vendors.

The challenge with phone presentations is that your voice is the only element of body language that you have to support your words.  So your voice becomes even more important than when doing in-person presentations since it can broadcast your lack of confidence to your audience. 

Here are six strategies for how to sound confident when presenting over the phone:

1.       BreatheWhen you take short, shallow breaths, there is not enough oxygen to fuel your voice through the end of the sentence.  You literally run out of air by the end of the sentence and your voice trails off, which makes you sound less confident.  To prevent this from happening, take full, deep breaths which will energize your voice.  (And keep your voice well hydrated).  

2.      Speak loudly enough to be heard clearly.  How loudly depends on the audience and the phone connection.  And technology such as cell phones or speaker phones can also make it harder for people to hear you.
3.       Confident people don’t mumble.  Enunciate your words so each word can be understood easily. (Often this requires you to slow down and pause more, how slowly is "slowly enough" depends on your audience).
4.      Avoid using a monotone.  Vary your volume, rate of speed, pausing, tone, etc. to keep the audience’s attention and help communicate your exact meaning.  Variety also demonstrates that you are confident about your content.

5.      Energize your voice.  Overall, your voice is more important on the phone than it is in person, and so it must be more energized than it would be in person.  An energized voice projects confidence and authority.  Speak standing up, which gives you better posture and energizes your voice automatically.  Also, remember to smile when presenting - yes, the audience will be able to hear it in your voice.

6.      Practice.  Do a practice presentation over the phone and record yourself (your phone or laptop recorder will do).  Listen to the recording from your audience’s point of view.  And work with a coach to make rapid progress towards improving your skills.

If you follow these six strategies, you will sound more confident when presenting over the phone, which will help you connect to your audience and communicate your message effectively.    

For more help with this topic, check out my course Virtual Presentations: How to Develop and Deliver an Effective Presentation Over the Phone 

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Simone Biles Has a Coach – Why Don’t You?

As we come to the end of the year and reflect back on 2016, one of the highlights was the Summer Olympics in Rio. 

I was mesmerized watching the Olympics.  Having made 2 trips to Rio to facilitate training for a global company with large operations in South America, I was delighted to see the spotlight on Brazil’s beautiful beaches and warm, friendly people.  I love watching the Parade of Nations during the Opening Ceremonies and was wowed by so many spectacular performances, including Usain Bolt and the U.S. women’s basketball team. 
A photo I took in Rio a few years ago, after walking up
more than 200 steps to the base of the 125-foot
Cristo Redentor atop Corcovado mountain

I noticed that every Olympic athlete, including all-time greats Michael Phelps and Simone Biles, has a coach.  And no one thinks that their having a coach means they are weak or any less than high achievers. 

But somehow, that “elite performers have coaches” mindset hasn’t translated completely to business, where many people still view coaching as remedial instead of a means to achieve the next level of performance excellence.  In fact, some of my executive presentation skills coaching clients want to meet with me away from their offices, so no one knows they are working with a coach.  

Here are 7 reasons why you should follow the example of Olympic athletes and work with a coach to optimize your presentation skills and executive presence.  Remember, while your presentation may not be telecast to millions of viewers across the world or come down to one one-hundredth of a second, it does make a difference to your brand, success, career and impact.

1.     A coach can accelerate your performance.  Using a wealth of experience gained from their own background and working with other clients, he or she can show you how to move from good to great and take your presentation from okay to outstanding.
2.     A coach takes the guesswork out of success.  You’ll learn exactly what to do to deliver a successful presentation and connect with your audience, instead of taking random steps and hoping your presentation works. 
3.     A coach saves you wasted time working on the wrong things.  For example, if you spend hours memorizing your presentation and then panic when you can’t remember it in front of a live audience, a coach can suggest an alternate way to prepare and practice that is more effective than rote memorization. 
4.     A coach provides unbiased, specific feedback.  Unlike your colleagues who may just say, “good job” after a presentation, a coach knows what to look for and will tell you specifically what you did well and what you have to improve. 
5.     A coach provides custom guidance.  He or she focuses on your individual needs and specific situation rather than a cookie cutter or a “one size fits all” approach that wastes time on irrelevant elements. 
6.     A coach provides practical and hands-on tools and techniques.  This means that you know exactly what and how to practice, rather just being given theory that you have to figure out on your own how to implement.
7.     A coach provides external motivation when your energy and enthusiasm are flagging.  In fact, I have a client who says, “I work better on creating content for my strategic presentation when you are in the room with me to help me focus and stay on track.”

So when you want to take your presentation or executive presence to the next level, don’t go it alone.  Be like Simone Biles and every other high-performing athlete and get a coach. 

 (And I’d welcome the opportunity to be your coach - contact me to find out how we can work together to help you achieve Olympic-worthy presentations.)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Presentation Prep Framework

 The next time you have to give a presentation, use the following framework to ensure you are clear, effective and confident.  

1.       Plan your presentation (plan early!)
  • What general topic are you presenting on?
  • How long do you have to present?
  • Understand other logistics: how many people, who are they, room setup, order of presentation, present seated vs. standing, etc.)
2.      Prepare content
  • What is your message – the one thing you want people to remember from your presentation?
  • What supporting information will you provide to convey that message?
  • Outline it: introduction, points 1-3, conclusion
  • Create notes that you will use to deliver it (1 piece of cardstock paper or 1 big card – printed or handwritten in large font)
3.       Practice (practice early and often!)
  • Practice for fluency, timing and getting comfortable with notes
  • You are not memorizing word for word, but getting comfortable with the material  - make any final adjustments to content well in advance of actual presentation day
  • Practice your delivery out loud (can record yourself): be aware of your body language – voice, facial expressions, gesture, posture, movement, eye contact
  • Practice your “pregame ritual” and your confident self-talk

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Murphy's Law of Presenting With Technology

plug 4.jpgMurphy’s Law states that whatever can go wrong, will.  And when you’re giving a presentation using any kind of technology, from a projector to a phone, Murphy’s Law definitely applies.  I’ve seen or experienced all 10 of these examples, and while some can be prevented or prepared for, they are all nerve-wracking when they occur!

  1. If you are hosting a conference call on your cell phone, the call will drop at the most crucial moment of the discussion.

Read the rest of the post on my Constant Contact Community blog:

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ATD Employee Learning Week Hot Topic Discussions 12/12

Monday, December 12th, 2016

Association for Talent Development - So. CT (ATD SCC)
Employee Learning Week Celebration!
"Hot Topic" Round Table Discussions

5:45 PM - 8:00 PM at the Norwalk Inn, Norwalk, CT
Come engage with learning and development leaders, share your expertise, and learn about the latest trends and best practices.  You will have the opportunity to participate in two different interactive topic discussions listed below.

Tips on Impact Action Learning

What are practical ways to make your meetings more impactful?  Mary Abbazia will share the proven approaches of Impact Action Learning™ that you can immediately apply to your organization during your next learning event.

Facilitator: Mary Abbazia, Managing Director of the Impact Planning Group, coaches executives at Fortune 500 companies such as GE, J&J, United Technologies and Marriott, as well as at Caltech and Columbia University programs.  Her Impact Action Learning™ approach combines real-life stories with practical frameworks and tools that directly benefit the business. 

Gamification of Learning

What is gamification of learning and what are its benefits?  Anna Samorukova will share the do's and don't's of gamification of learning and take you through an exercise of designing gamification elements for a sample learning project.

Facilitator: As founder and CEO of the Edelweiss Group, Anna Samorukova helps people learn business finance and advance their business acumen through such innovative and engaging learning experiences as active learning and gamification.  

Experience the Future Today

Hugh Seaton will talk you through the state of Virtual Reality and training - come experience VR first hand and hear what we've learned after decades of research into Virtual Reality. This is going to be a key platform in the future; don't miss this chance to learn about it early!

Facilitator: As founder and CEO of Aquinas Training, Hugh Seaton creates software that delivers effective learning experiences to managers, employees, and people in transition.They can have learning experiences whenever and wherever they want.

Knowledge Exchange Software

Learn how to leverage knowledge exchange software to build community and continuity, as well as to extend and enrich the learning of your talent development sessions.

Facilitators:  Rich Kuepper and Steve King.  Rich is President of L.E.A.D. USA LLC, which specializes in the design and delivery of innovative, results-focused, and fun experiential learning and development programs. Steve King is a software designer and expert in collaboration, workflow and decision community applications.

Journey from Awareness to Adoption of Change

Kim Goodwin will take you on a journey to identify what it means to be aware of a change ... all the way through to a future state where the new way of working is part 'of how we do things'.  She will describe the four stages of change adoption and how to move to the next stage, as well as the needed behaviors of the change sponsor.

Facilitator:  As an Organizational Development Director at Boehringer Ingelheim, a global pharmaceutical company, Kim Goodwin uses her deep expertise in organizational development, change management, talent development and communications to help people effectively perform their roles as they interact across the organization.

Date:  Monday, December 12th, 2016
Time: 5:45 PM Registration - 8:00 PM
Registrations starts at 5:45 PM
5:45 to 6:15 PM "Heavy" Hors d'oeuvres, Pasta Station, Cash Bar followed by Program
6:15 PM Program Begins

Early Bird Registrations through 12/9 midnight:$37 Chapter Members; $50 Guests; $25 Members In-Transition; $20 Students
Regular Registrations and Walk-ins:  
Member $45; Members In-Transition $35; 
Non-member $60

Reservation Deadline: Friday, December 9th, 2016
Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Guerrilla Girls Take On Greenwich @BruceMuseum

After shaking up other famous institutions from Shanghai to London, the famous Guerrilla Girls are taking on Greenwich on December 7!

The Guerrilla Girls are anonymous feminist activists who expose inequality in the art world. Their visit will no doubt open minds and rattle the grounds!

GO FULL GUERRILLA tickets for non-members $95 and $80 for Bruce Museum members 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. include:

  • Delicious Drinks and Dinner-bites in a sophisticated Jungle, mingling with the famous Guerrilla Girls 6-7.30 pm
  • An exciting panel conversation on the state of the Art World 7.30-8-30pm
  • And some more fun at our After-Glow party! 8.30-10:00 p.m.

GUERRILLA TOUGH TALK ONLY tickets $50 ($40 for students +21, with a valid ID) 7:30 p.m. -10:00 p.m. include:
  • Panel discussion
  • After-Glow and Drinks
Don’t miss this exciting and memorable party Night Out in Greenwich!

Look forward to wild, witty and important discussions on the state of the arts!
Guerrilla Girls' Panel Discussion with:
Moderator - Katie Hollander, Creative Time
Curator - Mia Laufer, Co-curator of Her Crowd
Artist - Hilary Harkness
Art Dealer - Cristin Tierney, Cristin Tierney Gallery
Art Collector - Sandra Joys
The Guerrilla Girls’ event ticket sales are providing a free Guerrilla Girls Art Activism workshop to Regional High School students, many of whom qualify for economic support scholarships.
Wednesday December 7, 2016: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM EST

Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive

Monday, November 21, 2016

Don’t Hand Out Business Cards in the Restroom – and Other Networking Tips for Small Business Owners

A few years ago, I spoke at a conference for small business owners.  During a break, I went to the restroom and while I was washing my hands, a woman entered, said “Here is my card,” and proceeded to hand out business cards to the two women standing by the door.  Since my hands were still wet, she placed a card for me on the sink.  Then she left. 

That was it – no introduction, no handshake, no question about me – so I threw the card in the garbage.  She probably went back to her office and wondered why no one contacted her. 

In addition to not handing out business cards in the restroom, here are five more tips to help you be a successful networker:

Be a Good Listener
Good networkers are good listeners.  If you ask good questions and actively listen to the answers, people will remember you.  Prepare open-ended questions that invite the other person to share something (as much or as little as they choose) about themselves, such as, “How did you get started in x field?” or “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”

Be Positive and Energetic
When I was president of a professional association, I often introduced myself to first-time attendees.  Here is one conversation that I had with a newcomer:

Me: “Hi, I’m Gilda Bonanno, president of the association.  I see you’re a first-timer.  Welcome.”
Him: “Hi, I’m Jim” (while shaking my hand limply, looking at the floor and not smiling).
Me: “It’s nice to meet you, Jim.  Tell me a little about yourself.”
Him: “I’m an instructional designer” 
Me: “Oh, that’s interesting. What do you like about the work?”
Him: “It’s actually difficult, especially with the economy.  And the clients sometime don’t get it.”
Me: “Yes, we can all identify with having difficult clients sometimes.”
Him: “Well, this guy today was just not getting it and….” 

And he proceeded to tell me a long sob story about this client and left me with the first impression that I would not want to work with him or recommend him to others. 

If you are trying to attract new customers or build your professional brand, a networking event is not the place to complain about the economy or a bad client.  If something has happened where you’re not in the mood to be positive or demonstrate energy, then stay home.  You’re not doing yourself any favors by showing up with a negative attitude. 

If You Are Uncomfortable Introducing Yourself to Strangers, Volunteer
If you are the person handing out programs, checking people in at the registration desk or validating parking tickets, you have an automatic and official excuse to introduce yourself to people at a networking event.  Even after your official duties are over, you can open a conversation by saying, “I saw you at the desk where I was doing the coat check, but I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself…”  Usually you will have a badge or nametag that identifies you as a volunteer and people may find it easier to approach you because of your “official” status. And other volunteers or board members often will be happy to introduce you to people they know. 

Schedule Time to Follow Up 
If you are attending an event where you expect to meet many people, made sure you plan time after the event to follow up as appropriate, whether it’s with a phone call, email or connection on social media.  It’s not successful networking if you collect business cards which then just sit on your desk collecting dust.  And if you have a team, don’t delegate the follow up unless you’ve specifically explained to the person that someone else will be contacting them. 

Don’t Automatically Add Someone to Your Mailing List
If someone has given you their card, that is not the same as permission to add them to your mailing list.  If they are in your target market, you can certainly send an email and invite them to subscribe to your newsletter, like your Facebook page or visit your blog, but the key word here is invite. Just handing you a card does not constitute an opt-in.  

Imagine what would happen if everyone you gave your card to at a monthly networking event automatically added you to their ezine mailing list.  You could be added to 15 ezine lists a month and if they were sent weekly, that would quickly add up to 60 more emails in your inbox in just one month! 

The next time you have the opportunity to network, follow these tips so you can connect with people, build professional relationships and be remembered for all the right reasons. 

This article first appeared in the how biz grows blog.

Gilda Bonanno's blog

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to Network at Holiday Parties

'Tis the season for holiday parties! Whether you're looking for a job or looking to make contacts in your field, holiday parties are a great way to build your professional network.  And networking is really just another form of communication - so here are five guidelines for how to communicate/network successfully at holiday parties:

1.     Have a Plan
Before you decide to attend an event, focus on your purpose for attending.  Is there anyone in particular that you'd like to meet, or information that you are looking to gather? Will you share with people that you are in the market for a new job, or are looking for new clients? Having a plan will make it easier for you to focus your attention and make it more likely that you will be successful.

2.     Listen
Good networkers listen more than they talk.  Resist the urge to dominate the conversation with tales of your professional prowess or your favorite (and lengthy) holiday anecdote.  Ask open-ended questions; these questions often begin with "how" or "what" and require more than a "yes/no" answer.  And then actually listen to the answers.  Demonstrate that you are listening by your non-verbal communications, for example, by making eye contact. 

3.     Everything in Moderation   
Whether it's sponsored by your company or the local professional association, a holiday party is not the place to sample all the free booze you can swallow or stuff yourself with the free shrimp.  You are there to meet and greet people and you can do that best when you are sober and focused on people, not the bar or buffet table.  In fact, I recommend that you have a snack before you go to the party so you're not starving (which helps if you're dieting, too).

4.     Be Confident
If you hate networking and are uncomfortable schmoozing with people, recognize that many others feel just as uncomfortable as you do.  Reach out to them and they'll be grateful – and you may just make a great professional connection!  Another way to network confidently is to "tag team" the event with a colleague.  You both attend and each of you talks about the other person's accomplishments.  

For example, I attended an awards event with a colleague who had won an award the previous year – it was far easier for me to introduce her and say, "Have you met Lisa? She won last year's award," than for her to say, "Hi, I'm Lisa and I won last year's award."  If you do tag team, be careful not to spend all your time just talking to your tag team partner or people you already know well, which defeats the purpose of networking.

5.     Follow Up
If you meet someone interesting, make a decision to follow up within a few days with a quick call or email.  It can be as simple as an email that references your conversation, such as, "I enjoyed meeting you at the Chamber of Commerce party yesterday and discussing our children's college search process." Unless you schedule time in your calendar for following up with your contacts, you will have a stack of business cards on your desk that will only collect dust.

If you follow these five holiday networking tips, you'll be able to communicate effectively and build your professional network.  And having a strong network will be useful no matter what the future brings. 

Gilda Bonanno's blog 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Take the 6-Second Presentation Challenge

It's election season here in the U.S. and one of my clients, the CEO of a nonprofit organization, was invited to film an endorsement for a candidate's television commercial.  Her role was to introduce herself and her organization and explain why she supports the candidate.  She was happy to participate because she is a big supporter.  However, the challenge was that she only had 6 SECONDS to communicate her message!

I've written and spoken frequently about the importance of communicating your message within the time limit. And as means of practicing that skill, I've shared the improv game of Half-Life, where 2 people act out a scene in 64 seconds and then they repeat the scene in half the time - 32 seconds – and then again in 16 seconds and finally down to 8 seconds.  The 8-second scene is usually hysterical and demonstrates that you can communicate a lot in a limited amount of time if you cut out the extra material and focus on the essentials.   (You can read more about Half-Life on my blog

On the other hand, communicating a complete message - especially a coherent and persuasive endorsement message - in 6 seconds is very difficult!

My client was able to do it (and in very few takes) because she prepared and practiced.  Her endorsement was combined with other 6-second endorsements into a powerful short commercial. 

While it's unlikely that you'll ever have only 6 seconds to give your entire presentation, taking the 6-Second Presentation Challenge can help you become a more effective presenter.   The next time you have to give a presentation, challenge yourself to state your message in 6 seconds. 

And "your message" is defined as the one sentence that summarizes the point of your presentation, the one thing that you want your audience to remember. Yes, all the supporting details and data help, but there should only be one core message.  You can also think of it as a newspaper headline or a billboard.

Why is this helpful? Well, if you can say your message to yourself in 6 seconds, then you really understand it and will be able to organize your material around it.  And that means that your audience will find it easier to understand your point because they won't be distracted by unrelated information, extraneous material or confusing organization. 

While you may take a little bit longer than 6 seconds when actually saying the message to the audience during your presentation, it shouldn't take much longer.    

The 6-Second Presentation Challenge can also be applied in a networking situation.  For example, what do you say at a networking event when someone asks, "what do you do?" Rather than rambling on, can you prepare and practice a 6-second statement to introduce yourself clearly, concisely and confidently?

Take the 6-Second Presentation Challenge and let me know what you come up with and how it helps you become a more effective presenter.

 Gilda Bonanno's blog