Thursday, June 30, 2016

Face Your Public Speaking Fears

by Gilda Bonanno

If you're like most people on the planet, you have fears.  And like many people, you may be afraid of speaking in public.  Whether it's a mind-numbing, knee-knocking, stomach-churning fear, or a milder, less invasive, I'd-rather-not-be-doing-this fear, it can get in the way of your professional success and your personal growth.

In my presentation skills classes, I ask participants to identify their fearsResponses include what you might expect; for example, "I'm afraid my mind will go blank" and "I'm afraid I'll lose my place."  Next, I ask the crucial question, "And then what will happen?"

The responses always amaze me.  When we dig deeply into that fear, what began as "I'm afraid my mind will go blank" or "I'm afraid I'll lose my place" ends up as "and then I'll look stupid in front of my boss, and then I'll get fired, and then I'll lose my house, and then my spouse will leave me, and then the dog will run away." 

No wonder you don't want to give that presentation - you fear that your entire life is riding on it!

How likely is it that all those terrible things will happen, as a result of this one presentation? Very unlikely!

Yet the fact that someone is worrying about these terrible things shows how powerful fear can be and how debilitating. 

Once you identify it, however, you can subject it to logic (does this fear really make sense?) and probability (what are the odds these awful things will happen?) and start to weaken its power over you.

Franklin Roosevelt said it best in his first Inaugural Address in 1933, when the United States was in the grip of the Great Depression: "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."

When I worked as an archivist at the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library, I had the opportunity to hold the actual copy of that speech in my hand and those words have stayed with me.  
And everything that we've discussed here about the power of fear is applicable to all aspects of our lives, even beyond public speaking - we all have things that we avoid doing out of fear.  These are things that we should and could do, like
looking for a better job, taking an exercise class or getting a handle on our finances.

Think about it - what would you do if you weren't afraid? How is fear paralyzing your efforts to convert retreat into advance?

If you'd like more specific help with identifying your fears and lessening the impact they have on your presentation skills, call me at 203-979-5117 for info about my presentation skills coaching program.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

6 Tips for Introducing Yourself at the Start of Your Presentation

Check out my latest guest blog post for Susan Solovic's website: 

 6 Tips for Introducing Yourself at the Start of Your Presentation 

THE Small Business Expert, Susan Wilson Solovic is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, top 100 and USA Today bestselling author, media personality, sought-after keynote speaker, and attorney.

Monday, June 27, 2016

40 Under 40 Honors Fairfield County Professionals

I am proud to have been a supporter-level sponsor of the recent 40 Under 40 Awards, hosted by the Fairfield County Business Journal and Westfair Communications. 

The Business Journal honored 40 professionals at the 12th annual event held at the Dolce Norwalk. More than 300 guests attended the event, which included a cocktail reception and a formal award ceremony.

The 40 awardees thanked their colleagues, mentors and loved ones, and called upon the group to bring about change in their respective industries. 

For more information, photos and a list of the winners, visit

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Gilda did an incredible job engaging with professionalism & humor

"Gilda did an incredible job engaging our alumni with the perfect combination of professionalism and humor. Our group found her to be refreshing and energetic. I walked away with useful tips that I applied in my working environment the very next day, and will continue to keep her advice in mind in future professional interactions. The alumni office at Marist College is looking forward to continuing our relationship with Gilda with additional events in the future."
- Lisa Lombardo, Associate Director, Alumni & Donor Programs, Marist College

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Gilda to Present "Opening & Closing the Deal" 6/11 for WBDC

I'm excited to be teaching a session for the Women's Business Development Council's Saturday Studies: Winning and Delighting Your Customers. 

My session is: Opening and Closing the Deal
Boldness means being confident, distinctive and imaginative. And bold communication skills are a key component for entrepreneurial success especially when you are attempting to open up a dialog or close a deal.

Session Overview:
·         Use powerful and engaging body language to connect to your audience and convey your expert content
·         Step out of your comfort zone and overcome any anxieties you have about speaking with potential clients and talking about your business
·         Create and practice relevant and memorable ways to initiate connections with new clients

 There are two other workshops being offered that you can attend before or after my session:

Build and Manage your Business' Brand Using a Solid Social Media Profile
Your brand is essentially the essence of who your company is and how it is perceived in the marketplace. Discover ways to leverage your branding to build, manage and protect your business through social media outlets.

Keeping  Them Engaged – Customer Service
Customer loyalty is the cornerstone of any successful business. In this session, we will teach you how to create “brand ambassadors” – a truly loyal customer who will not only stay with you but spread the word of his/her positive experience and refer others to you.

Session Overview:
·         Create increased trust between you and your customers
·         Successful resolution of customer conflicts – even the most horrible experience can gain you a client for life
·         Become the Trusted Advisor and not the Vendor

Pre-Registration Required/No Charge/Light Breakfast Provided

Saturday, June 11, Shelton CT, 9-1:30
For more info or to register, visit