Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gilda to Present Networking Workshop for SMPS 9/20

Hate networking events because you never know what to say or do? Do you get stuck talking to the one person in the room that you know? Whether you’re looking to get new clients or be recognized as an expert in your field, networking is a key ingredient of your success.
In this interactive and fun session, learn the secrets of being a master networker, including how to listen and think quickly, how to harness the power of nonverbal communications and how to deal with difficult people, like the obnoxious egotist and the boring timehog. 
Benefits: 
  • Learn how to make networking work for you to build a consistent and clear personal brand 
  • Create a workable process for networking, from planning to following up 
  • Develop a clear statement of what you want to share about yourself with this particular audience 
  • Become more comfortable handling commonly encountered networking dilemmas, such as breaking into a networking conversation and making a graceful exit 
Event Details: Wednesday, September 20, 2017
   11:30 AM to 12:00 PM   Registration & Networking
   12:00 PM to 1:00 PM     Lunch
   1:00 PM to 2:30 PM       Program
Location: 
Courtyard by Marriott - Cromwell
4 Sebethe Drive
Cromwell, CT 06416
Free on-site parking is available.
Registration: 
Please register by September 15, 2017.
SMPS CT Members: $65 
Non-Members: $85
Please note:
Late registrations and walk-ins will be charged an additional $10.Cancellations must be made 48 hours in advance to receive a refund.No shows are responsible for payment in full. 
About the Speaker: Gilda Bonanno, Owner of Gilda Bonanno, LLC - Confidence. Influence.Success

GILDA BONANNO (@Gilda Bonanno) helps you transform your communication and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.
Since 2006, Gilda has run a successful business that reaches countless people globally.  She has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

For more information or to register, visit http://smpsct.org/meetinginfo.php?id=47&ts=1504291212

Friday, September 1, 2017

Mastering Management Communications - Applications Now Being Accepted

Mastering Management Communications: How to Lead Your Team and Maximize Performance, Commitment & Results 


The Mastering Management Communications program is a mentoring program for new and experienced managers who are looking to accelerate their skill development. We start you off strong and give you the strategies and tactics to LEAD your team and maximize PERFORMANCE, COMMITMENT and RESULTS.

The program is an intensive small group experience for executives, entrepreneurs, business owners and independent professionals who want to manage and communicate with ease and achieve results with less wasted time and effort.

Applications now being accepted! Contact Gilda to apply now!

You meet with Gilda Bonanno by phone for regularly scheduled weekly sessions, along with a small, highly selective group of high-achievers like you.  During these sessions, she shares best practices and actionable strategies, and you work together to review progress, remove obstacles and establish new processes/habits  for everything from to coaching employees and delegating work to schmoozing with senior executives and leading meetings.  Additional one-on-one support is available via email in between your regularly scheduled sessions.

Everything (from big-picture strategy to day-to-day tactics and execution) is custom-tailored around your strengths, personal preferences, and the needs of your particular industry and business.

RESULTS
Here is a partial list of results clients have received:
*Delegate work and hold employees accountable for their performance and so that you can reduce your workload and boost your productivity
*Sharpen your communication and presentation skills so you can avoid problems and wasted time caused by miscommunication or mismatched expectations
*Maximize your executive presence and build your confidence so you know exactly what to say in internal meetings and at professional networking events
*Build a high-performing team so you can achieve your performance goals and get the visibility, recognition and success you deserve, including that next promotion
 *Develop a step-by-step, no-fluff process to follow before, during and after management conversations
 *Know what to do at every step when you coach employees so you stop having the same conversation over and over with no results
 *Finally figure out how to turn meetings that waste time and accomplish nothing into productive working sessions where decisions get made and things get done
 *Making management communications easy, effortless and enjoyable… and (at last!) effective

MASTERING MANAGEMENT COMMUNICATIONS IS FOR:
* New managers who want to ramp-up their communication and leadership skills and hit the ground running 
* Seasoned managers who feel stuck, stalled or sidetracked and want to regain their management mojo 
* Managers who work in a variety of industries in corporate, academic, government, healthcare, non-profit or entrepreneurial environments 
* New or seasoned managers who have to communicate to and manage relationships with others, whether direct reports, dotted line reports, vendors, partners, consultants, customers, clients, colleagues, etc

Gilda helped me convert prospects into clients
"After just a few sessions together, Gilda pointed me in the right direction. She uncovered some bad habits and replaced them with new and effective ones that today are helping me to convert prospect in to clients. Gilda has helped me to organize my thoughts and plan out my presentations so that I am better prepared and more confident. I am grateful to Gilda and for the help she has given me to become a more effective salesperson."
Judith Giangoia, Private Banker, Vice President, Wells Fargo Private Bank, New York

After using Gilda's techniques, I now look forward to networking events
"I wanted to take a moment to thank you, and to let you know how helpful the “How to Schmooze” workshop was for me. It has completely changed how I approach networking events. Rather than spending most of the time speaking to people I already know, or standing in the corner of the room looking at my phone, I now feel comfortable and confident in approaching people and making new contacts. In fact, after using your techniques at a number of events, I can now honestly say that I look forward to networking events, rather than dreading them.THANK YOU VERY MUCH!"
Aleksandr Y. Troyb, Esq., Partner, Benjamin, Gold Troyb

High level of expertise and tangible strategies
"Gilda Bonanno is a consummate professional willing to share her high level of expertise with any size or type of business group. Her methods appeal to the entrepreneur or the seasoned veteran or mid-career individual, crossing multiple generations. in addition, Gilda provides tangible strategies to implement right away. I highly recommend Gilda to help your business put its best foot forward."
Linda Burhance, Owner, Apparel Development Consulting

GILDA BONANNO BIO
GILDA BONANNO helps you transform your communication and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.  

Since 2006, Gilda has run a successful business that reaches countless people globally.  She has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  

Applications now being accepted. Contact Gilda to apply now!


  


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Gilda's insight & coaching made a tremendous difference

"I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the seminar that you gave on Mackinaw Island for the MASA Women's Leadership Retreat. I utilized the skills that I learned and my speech to 180 human resource professionals on June 2nd went extremely well! 

I was able to get my nerves under control and confidence up with my new mantra beforehand and I was prepared (actually practiced, not just studied my deck as I did in the past) and even able to adapt when there was a technical glitch because I was confident and comfortable! Thanks so much for your insight and coaching-it made a tremendous difference!" 

-Dr. Cynthia Marie Glass, VP, Chief of Staff, Henry Ford College


To find out more about Gilda's coaching, visit http://www.gildabonanno.com/Pages/Coaching.aspx

Monday, August 28, 2017

U.S. Open Tennis Lessons That Will Make You a Better Presenter

Today, the U.S. Open tennis tournament begins at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY.

Last week, I visited the tennis center to watch the qualifying matches for players who didn’t make the main draw and also watch some of the superstars (like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal) practice.

I love watching tennis - and I think there are lessons from tennis that can apply to presentation skills:

Rafael Nadal practicing his serve

PRACTICE IS REQUIRED
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are two of the best tennis players in the world and they practice for several hours a day. They never say, "I'm good enough, I don't need to practice anymore."  I watched each of them on court practice their serving, forehand and backhand shots and movement. 

Roger Federer practicing his forehand
The same is true for presentations – if you want to give a powerful and effective presentation, you can’t just show up and “wing it.” The more comfortable you become at giving presentations, the more focused your practice becomes as you learn what specific aspect of the presentation you still have to work on.

MENTAL ATTITUDE IS KEY
During a match, what the player tells himself or herself is important, especially when they're down a set and facing a tough opponent. If a player thinks, "I can't beat this opponent; I'm going to lose," it will be very difficult to overcome that mindset and win. Instead, when a player uses positive self-talk, "Yes, I can do this!" along with an energetic fist pump in the air, he or she is better able to access their skills, step up their game and have a shot at winning.

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga practicing on court
Likewise, what you tell yourself when you present is also important.  If you drown out the negative voice in your head and instead, use a positive phrase or mantra, you'll be able to present more effectively and confidently.

BODY LANGUAGE MATTERS
Two of my favorite tennis commentators, John and Patrick McEnroe, are always pointing out the players' body language – how players act between points, how they walk to the other side of the court, how they respond when they lose a point, etc. Negative body language sends a message to their opponent that they are giving up and don't believe they can win.

Roger Federer practicing his backhand shot
When you're presenting, your body language also sends a message to the audience – it should match the words you're saying and convey confidence and competence. For example, make eye contact with the audience, use appropriate gestures to illustrate your points, speak loudly enough to be heard and avoid nervous pacing.

The next time you have to give a presentation, remember these lessons from tennis to help you ace it. 


Richard Gasquet returning a shot in mid-air

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Gilda Emcees Women-Owned Business Day at the State Capitol

I was honored to have served for the third year in a row as Emcee for Women-Owned Business Day at the State Capitol in Hartford, CT, sponsored by the Women's Business Development Council.

Women entrepreneurs from across the state gathered to learn about issue of importance and to let their voices be heard by the state's leaders.


Welcoming the audience that gathered at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, CT

Left to right: Keynote speaker Esther Morales, Executive Director of the National Women's Business Council; Panelist Glendowlyn Thames, Executive Director of CTNext; Panel moderator Diane Smith, Emmy-award winning TV jounralist & CTN anchor; Emcee Gilda Bonanno & WBDC CEO Fran Pastore 

Honorary event co-chair:  The Honorable Patricia Billie Miller, State Representative and Assistant Majority Leader

Attendees heard from national and state leaders on issues of importance to women business owners

To learn more about the Women's Business Development Council, visit www.ctwbdc.org

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Gilda Keynotes MASA Retreat

I was honored to serve as the keynote speaker for the Michigan Association of School Administrators (MASA) Women in Leadership Retreat, held on beautiful Mackinac Island, Michigan.

I presented 2 sessions to the group of women principals, administrators and superintendents: Developing Leadership Presence: Confidence, Competence and Leadership and Bold Presentation Skills.

A great community of women

Learning to be better leaders

The view from my hotel, of the great lawn and the water

The horse-drawn "taxi" that serves as transportation on Mackinac Island - no cars allowed

Hard-working horses on the main street through town

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ATD 9/18 Meeting in Norwalk, CT

Association for Talent Development, Southern CT chapter meeting 
Monday, September 18, 2017, 5:45 PM
Norwalk Inn & Conference Center, Norwalk, CT

Amazing Things Can Happen When You Stop Knowing What You Are Talking About
With guest speaker, Brent RobertsonPartner, Fathom

If our future is a world with unprecedented unpredictability, how can we rely on the tools of the past to successfully navigate it? In this talk, Brent Robertson will share how his consulting firm Fathom abandoned what they knew, and instead, applied their imagination to design a way to help their clients thrive in their future. 

Attendees will benefit by being introduced to:
• Unique ways of thinking about strategy and organizational development that open up possibility, invite ownership, and inspire action.
• Principles of practice that can help change practitioners be more effective in their work.
• Thoughts on who we need to be and what we need to provide for our clients to help them navigate the future.

About Brent:
Brent works with leaders to design futures worth fighting for. A partner at Fathom, he champions an approach to strategic planning, employee engagement, leadership succession and market differentiation that prioritizes people and relationships. As a result, his clients don’t simply plan their future, they bring them to life through the energy of organization-wide involvement in, and commitment to, generating businesses that matter. 

Brent serves on the Communications Committee of the New York chapter and Programming Committee of the Connecticut chapter of Society of Marketing Professional Services. SMPS is a national organization recognized as the premier resource for advocating, educating and connecting leaders in the professional services industry.  He is also on the Board of the University of Hartford Construction Institute.  He earned a BFA (Bachelor in Fine Arts) in Graphic Design, Ceramics, Art History, and Astronomy at the University of Hartford.

Let this eclectic and entertaining professional help you see and think in a new way!


For more information or to register, visit https://astdscc.org/event-2626056

Monday, July 31, 2017

Brian Tracy on Preparation

“The mark of the professional in every field is preparation. The more thoroughly you prepare for a meeting of any kind, even with just one other person, the more effective you will appear and the better results you will get.
The power is always on the side of the person who has prepared the most thoroughly. The individual who comes into a meeting unprepared has diminished power and sometimes no power at all.”
-Brian Tracy, Self-Development Expert
I had the privilege of meeting Brian Tracy at a National Speakers Association Meeting several years ago, when he shared his wisdom with NSA chapter leaders.  

Saturday, July 29, 2017

How to Stay Within Your Time Limit When Presenting

If you practice your presentation and find that it’s too long, you have only 2 options to cut the time:

1) Have fewer points
You can’t tell the audience everything you know about a subject, especially if you’re an expert.  Too much information will overwhelm them.  Instead, figure out what this specific audience needs to know about your topic - what is the one key message you’d like them to remember?  Then make sure your points support that message.

2) Say less about each point
Don’t go into detail about each point because too much explanation and background will cost you time.  Instead, mention the point briefly and then move on (And you could include resources containing more detail in a handout or at the end of your presentation).

Speaking faster is not an option, since in order to have a real impact on the time, you will have to speak too quickly for the audience to understand you.

To help with your timing, prepare time checkpoints so as you’re delivering your presentation, you can judge how you’re doing with the time.  For example, you would know that you should be on the second of your four points by midway through your time limit.

Following these strategies will help you stay within your time limit, which will automatically make you a better presenter.


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

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Miscommunication: Small or Large Olives?

Standing at the deli counter of my local supermarket, I say to the clerk, “I’d like some pitted Kalamata olives, please.”

He replies, “OK.  Small or large?”  

I respond, “The Kalamata olives.”

He asks again, “Small or large?”

Now I’m getting a little agitated, so I repeat in a louder voice, “The pitted Kalamata olives,” and point to the bowls of olives arranged behind the glass in the deli case.  

He repeats his question, “Small or large?”

More than a little agitated now, I respond in a slow, deliberate voice, “The black Kalamata olives, no pits.”

He looks blankly at me.  Finally I say in exasperation, “I don’t know what you mean.  I don’t see small or large olives. I just see ONE size.”

He smiles broadly and high above the elevated platform he’s standing on, he holds up two empty plastic containers, one small and one large, “Small or large?”

I smile and say, “Now I get it! A small container of Kalamata olives, please.”

How often does this kind of simple miscommunication happen? I thought he was asking about the size of the olives while he was actually asking about the size of the container and how many olives I wanted. 

It took us a while to realize the issue because he kept repeating the same words in the same question and I kept giving the same answer, just louder and slower as if he didn’t understand.  

Both of us bore responsibility for the miscommunication and could have helped the situation by giving more information, asking clarifying questions or viewing the situation from the other person’s point of view, rather than assuming the other person was wrong or stupid. 

This was not a crucial conversation and both of us laughed about it.  But this kind of simple miscommunication happens frequently and in more critical communications, eroding our ability to work with and lead others to get things done.  

So the next time you hit a miscommunication, whether it’s a seemingly simple interaction or the stakes are high, take a moment to clarify if the other person is asking about the size of the olives or the size of the container to put the olives in. 

And by the way, I added the olives to my salad of cucumber, tomatoes and bell peppers and it was delicious! Let me know if you’d like the recipe.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

NPR’s 3 Tips for Better Voice Quality

Your voice is a key component of your communication delivery - and ever more important if you present over the phone, when you have no other body language element to communicate to the audience.

Here’s an article with helpful voice tips, from Jessica Hansen who coaches reporters at NPR (National Public Radio) on vocal delivery. She includes a video of vocal exercises to avoid vocal fry and improve breathing, resonance and vocal energy.

Read the article here:  Aerobics for your voice: 3 tips for sounding better on air
http://training.npr.org/audio/aerobics-for-your-voice-3-tips-for-sounding-better-on-air/

Monday, July 24, 2017

Gilda featured on the SAWA Blog

I’m excited to have my post, “Management By Walking Around: Please Don’t Prowl, Growl or Scowl,” featured on the SAWA blog.

You can read it here:
http://blog.sawanetwork.org/management-by-walking-around-please-dont-prowl-growl-or-scowl/

SAWA is the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators and I recently presented two sessions on the topic of MBWA at the SAWA Management Conference in Long Beach, CA. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Use Your Password to Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking

To combat the fear of public speaking and overcome the negative voice in your head (that says, "You’re going to fail,” right before you open your mouth to present), I recommend using a positive affirmation or mantra.  

A mantra is a term borrowed from meditation and yoga that means a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself to focus your mind and energy. Your mantra should be personally meaningful to you and should be a phrase that you can believe.  

You use your mantra to drown out that negative voice and boost your confidence while you’re building your presentation skills. 

Since it takes practice to get used to saying your mantra instead of listening to that negative voice, so why not make it your computer password? Anytime you log in, you will be reminded of the positive statement.  

You can change some characters so it’s not easy to hack. For example, if your mantra is I’ve got this,” then your password could be: IVg0thi$
Or if your mantra is RESPECT (from the Aretha Franklin song), then your password could be: Re$4ect

Have fun coming up with different mantras and passwords until you find one that resonates with you and is easy to remember.  You’ll be on your way to more confident public speaking, using a secure log-in.  So you get cyber security and confidence building all in one!

For more on this topic, see my article, Drown Out That Negative Voice in Your Head

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gilda to present Developing Leadership Presence on 7/31

I will be presenting “Developing Leadership Presence: Confidence, Competence and Composure” to Mondays @ 7 Networking Group on July 31st.

Description
To be successful as a leader, you have to know what you’re talking about, come across as credible, demonstrate confidence without being perceived as cocky and maintain your self-control, especially under pressure. Whether you are setting strategic direction, managing change or leading people, you will achieve your goals if you can calmly and confidently tap into your knowledge and communicate clearly.

You will learn how to: 
• Communicate like a leader and be authentic, engaging and focused
• Prevent your non-verbal communication from undermining your message
• Demonstrate your expertise and establish credibility
• Discover how to react quickly and effectively to the unexpected

Meetings are free and open to the public, so bring a friend!

http://www.mondaysat7.org

Mondays at Seven is a job search networking group. Our goals are to energize our members' job search process, present programs and resources that will benefit our members in their job search, leverage the group's alumni as a continuing resource, and "pay it forward" to each other and the community.
Meetings are free and open to the public.

SCHEDULE
  • 7:00am-7:40am Networking 
  • 7:40am-8:00am Announcements
  • 8:00am-9:00am Presentations**
  • 9:00am-9:30am Networking and Clean Up

Address and Directions
UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
OF WESTPORT AND WILTON
49 Weston Rd, Westport, CT (Merritt exit 42)

Friday, June 30, 2017

4 Presenter Mistakes to Avoid, Or Please Don't "Vomit" on Your Audience

by Gilda Bonanno LLC 
At the end of my session at a conference, one of the audience members came up to tell me about a terrible session she had attended earlier in the day.  She said, "The presenter vomited his content on the audience.  It was awful.  I would have walked out if I wasn't sitting in the front row."  That's pretty strong language!  Of course, I had to ask for the details of what made her feel "vomited" on by the presenter.

Here are that presenter's top four mistakes, as described by the audience member - and what you can do to avoid them:

Presenter Mistake #1: "The content was disorganized."
Your presentation should have a clear beginning, middle or end.  It sounds so simple, yet so many presenters fail to organize their material clearly.  Follow the old adage, "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them." It should be easy for the audience to follow you and understand how your points relate to each other and your overall message.

Presenter Mistake #2: "The slides were crowded and hard to read."
If the audience has to struggle to read your slides, they will struggle to understand your presentation.  For the sake of your audience members' eyesight, use large font (larger than you think you need to use) and only a few bullet points on each slide.  If you find yourself saying, "I know some of you can't read this…," then your slides are too crowded.  Or go one step better and use only high-quality photos or images (not cheesy clip art) and a few words in very large font.  Or be radical and don't use slides at all; remember, you are the message and the slides are just the visual aids. 

Presenter Mistake #3: "He only used examples from one area, which wasn't applicable to many in the audience."
The first rule of presentations is to know your audience, and in this case, the presenter doesn't seem to have done that.  Be sure that some of your examples come from the industries or fields represented in the audience.  For example, if you are speaking to an audience of accountants, avoid using examples only from sales.  Or if you're presenting to small business owners, don't just use stories from the corporate world.  To find relevant examples and stories, check out the industry websites, read the publications and talk to people in that field.  If there is an attendee list, interview a few audience members ahead of time

Presenter Mistake #4: "He said he wanted to make it interactive, but there was no opportunity for interactivity."
I've seen many presenters make this same mistake and the solution here is simple: don't claim that you want your presentation to be interactive unless you really mean it and have planned for the interactivity with specific questions, exercises or activities.  And just asking, "Is everyone with me?" does not count as being interactive – and anyway, it's rare that anyone will speak up and say "no."

If you avoid these four common presenter mistakes, you will be less likely to "vomit" your content on your audience!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Think of Yourself as a Speaker

Often, people tell me, "I'm not a speaker so I don't have to think about presentation skills."  I disagree.  I think we are all speakers – yes, even you. 

Whether you talk to a small or large audience or in a corporate, academic or community setting, you are a speaker.  If you give an update to a project team, speak up at a neighborhood meeting or organize a fundraiser, you are a speaker.  If you give a toast at a wedding, conduct orientation for new employees or train someone on a new process, you are a speaker.  If you teach a class, lead a conference call or accept a community award, you are a speaker.  If you answer a question at a meeting, attend a networking event or interact with potential clients, you are a speaker.

The point of thinking of yourself as a speaker is not to make you crazy. The point is for you to become conscious of your power to communicate.  Public speaking is a skill – it's not magic or a special gene.  And as a skill, it can be learned and improved.  You already have knowledge and expertise; public speaking gives you the ability to communicate that knowledge and expertise effectively to others.  And in so doing, you can have a positive impact on your career, your self-confidence and your community.  

Read the rest of my article on the Constant Contact community blog: 

Monday, June 26, 2017

7 Strategies for Successfully Working a Tradeshow

A client recently asked how he could be more successful when working his company’s booth at an upcoming industry tradeshow. Here are my 7 strategies for successfully working a tradeshow, exhibition or business expo: )    

1. Set realistic expectations

Popular tradeshows are attended by thousands of people and can be noisy, crowded and exhausting (for both attendees and exhibitors). As a tradeshow team, set expectations for what you want to achieve and how you will measure success. For example, collecting email addresses may be all you can do during busy, peak hours while during quieter hours, you may be able to have more in-depth conversations with people who stop by your booth.

Read the rest of the article on my LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-strategies-successfully-working-tradeshow-gilda-bonanno

Friday, June 23, 2017

Photos from the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute

Recently, I had the privilege of presenting "Stand Out From the Crowd With Personal Branding" at the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute, in partnership with the Women's Business Development Council. 


The Yale Entrepreneurial Institute is a university department that helps entrepreneurs and innovators at Yale start scalable new ventures. http://yei.yale.edu/
The Women's Business Development Council is the leader for entrepreneurial and financial education in CT.  www.ctwbdc.org






Thursday, June 22, 2017

Too Many Filler Words Undermine Your Credibility

by Gilda Bonanno LLC
Recently I attended a meeting where a senior leader of the organization offered opening remarks.  He spoke for 2 minutes and said “um” 24 times.  Doing the math, that’s an “um” approximately every 5 seconds.

Here’s how it would read if he wrote it out:
“Welcome to the um, XYZ meeting. We are happy to, um, have you here today.  We will, um, share the goals of, um, the new program and explain, um, the role you will play in the program.  And thank you, um, for being here because, um, the work you do is crucial to, um, the success of our clients.”

While a few “ums” are okay, this many of them completely distracted from what he was actually saying.  I started listening for the next “um” rather than trying to follow what his message.  It made him sound less confident, less definite and less clear.

Imagine that you are speaking in front of the Board of Directors at your company, the media or a potential client.  Do you want to sound confident and in command of your subject? Or do you want to allow your unconsciously-said filler words to undermine your credibility?

Filler words like “um,” “ah,” “you know” and “like” fill in the empty space while your brain thinks of what to say next and catches up with your tongue and your voice which are still producing sound. 

The solution is relatively easy.  First, you have to become aware that you using filler words.  
Then replace them with a short pause instead (the pause will feel like an eternity to you, but not to your audience) while you think of what to say next.  Get used to speaking in complete sentences and complete thoughts. 

One way to practice this is by practicing speaking out loud and when you hear yourself using a filer word, stop.  Then go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again, without the filler word.

A small investment of your time, energy and focus to fix your filler problem will have a big pay-off: you will sound more confident and the audience will be able to focus on you and your message. 

Or you can do nothing, and keep allowing your filler words to obscure your competence and undermine your credibility. 


7 STEPS TO CONFIDENT PUBLIC SPEAKING
Enter Email: