Monday, November 20, 2017

Women's Business Development Council 20th Anniversary Gala - Photos

The beautiful red jacket is
courtesy of DARA LAMB
I was honored to serve as Emcee and Event Producer for the Women's Business Development Council's 20th Anniversary Gala celebration at the Greenwich Hyatt on October 20.

The sold-out crowd of over 700 including elected officials, corporate professionals, entrepreneurs and stakeholders who came together to support WBDC in its mission to train and educate women entrepreneurs. 

Woman With Impact Honoree Dara Lamb, CEO and Designer, DARA LAMB Custom Clothing
Woman With Impact Honoree Abby Kohnstamm, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Pitney Bowes
The Honorable Linda McMahon, Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration
Fran Pastore, WBDC CEO and Founder
Woman With Impact Honoree Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley and Chair, National Women's Business Council
Carla Harris wowed the crowd with her wisdom, energy and even singing!

Sharing a light moment with U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon

The Honorable Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Senator, offering remarks

A tribute to 20 of WBDC's clients representing 20 years of supporting women-owned businesses.
They were surprised by the presentation of a free, round-trip airline ticket for each of them, courtesy of event Impact Sponsor Southwest Airlines!

To find out more about WBDC, please visit

Photos courtesy of Aviva Maller Photography

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Nature-Inspired Signs to Give When Presenting

Here in the northeastern part of the United States, autumn has arrived and winter is not too far behind.  How do I know?  The leaves have turned from green to gold and red, there is frost on the grass in the morning and the days are getting shorter. Nature gives clues that signal the end of one season and the coming of the next.  These signs tell me what to expect and they help me get ready to rake the leaves, pull out my winter coat and set the clocks back. 

When you present, you can be like Nature – and give your audience signs as to what's coming next.  When you set your audience's expectations, it allows them to follow your message more easily. 

  • In your introduction, share your message – what is the point of what you're going to say and why is it important to them? If you're clear about you want them to get out of your presentation, it's easier for them to focus on hearing that message.
  • It may help to remind the audience how long you will speak.  For example, you can say, "in the next 10 minutes, I will share…" or " as we work together over the next hour…"  That clue helps them to calibrate their time, especially if there is a full schedule of presenters.
  • Be clear in your organization.  Try to group your material into a few sections to make it easier to follow.  For example, tell the audience if you're going to cover three case studies or four reasons or five steps. 
  • Make it clear how one section of your presentation is related to the next.  Give the audience clues: are you continuing in the same theme, presenting the opposite point of view, focusing on a different company or talking about a different time period?
The End is Near
  • Give the audience a sign that you're nearing your conclusion.  For example, "the third and final reason you should consider Jimmy's Jammies for all your pajama needs is… " or "the last story that I'd like to share with you about the bride and groom is…" 
Don't Tease
  • If you give a sign that you're almost done, for example, by saying "in conclusion…," don't go on for another 20 minutes.  The audience will get restless and may stop listening.

If you act like Nature and give your audience signs and clues when you speak, it will be easier for them to follow your presentation and make sense of it.  And setting their expectations will help them understand and retain your message.  

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Stop Being a Bad Manager

Presentation by Gilda Bonanno

Want to avoid these problems and instead, become a better manager?My Mastering Management Communication Mentoring Program covers everything from having coaching conversations with employees and delegating work to talking with senior executives and giving feedback to your team.  
The program is for new or experienced managers who want to manage and communicate with ease and achieve results with less wasted time and effort. You'll learn management best practices and insights from my experience working with managers on four continents, from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Email me for an application or to find out more. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

ATD Hot Topic Round Table 11/13 in Norwalk


Monday, November 13, 2017
ATD - SCC's Perenially Popular
Hot Topic Round Table Discussions
5:45- 8 PM Norwalk Inn, Norwalk CT

Join us for an interactive forum to learn about trends in workplace learning and performance, as well as to share best practices:
Influencing  - Steve Gardiner

Join Steve Gardiner in a fast-paced look at the art of Influencing Up, Down and Sideways.  Discover the tips of: Preaching in the Rain, Peddling Pancakes Door to Door, Shooting for the Moon, Star Wars Strategies, and A Card from Hallmark.

Bio: Steve Gardiner is President of Gardiner Associates, which specializes in conflict resolution, building collaborative relationships, and "rapid coaching," among other leadership skills. Steve is former Head of Learning and Development at International Paper and Purdue Pharma.

Good Intentions Don't Make Good Assessments - Donna Horrigan

There's no shortage of assessments designed to grow self-awareness and ultimately improve performance. And while well-intentioned, these same assessments may also be limiting your capacity to learn, grow and develop.  Join our interactive session to learn about Lumina Spark's approach and how it might help you in your personal and professional development.  Bring your smart phone to experience Lumina Splash App in real time.

Bio: Donna Horrigan is Vice President of Client Solutions for Lumina Learning, a talent development company that uses research-based, next-generation psychometrics. Prior to joining Lumina this year, Donna managed client services for Fortune 1000 clients in the Northeast for other talent development companies.

Team Coaching Techniques - Gavin Pommernelle

Are your team development activities feeling stale or ineffective? Have you considered team coaching and understand the difference between team coaching and team building? Gavin Pommernelle will discuss a few of the techniques he has used successfully in coaching teams, followed by a group sharing of methodologies they have found to be effective.  Areas to be explored include emotional awareness of other team members, the setting of clear expectations amongst team members, and the use of conflict resolution techniques to deflect conflict. 

Bio: Gavin Pommernelle is an executive coach with extensive global leadership experience. Notable accomplishments include facilitating a leadership team that added 70% business value through coaching, personal performance and team dynamics; and increasing employee engagement scores by more than 15 index points through leadership coaching and talent strategies. 

 "Tell Me Something I Don't Know" - Julienne B. Ryan

Learn about the power of story-telling for leaders! Julienne Ryan will take you through an interactive storytelling exercise guaranteed to have you thinking, smiling, and communicating.  You will leave with valuable insights about personal and intellectual strengths that you can use in your professional life and techniques you can share in your organization.

Bio: Founder of J. Ryan Partners, Julienne Ryan is a story connector, speaker, trainer and coach.  She utilizes stories and humor as learning tools and works with individuals and teams to develop their unique talents and strengths. Her methods allow clients to see themselves in new ways so they can become more productive, improve communications, and enhance knowledge transfer and collaboration.

Virtual Reality, Learning and xAPI - Hugh Seaton

Join Hugh Seaton as he takes a soup-to-nuts approach to Virtual Reality in Learning. We'll review VR's virtues, how it can be used, and what is going on in the marketplace today. In addition, a new analytics standard, Experience API, is gaining in popularity, and we'll explore what that means for L & D professionals. And of course, we'll have VR experiences ready for attendees.

Bio: Hugh Seaton is a board member of ATD SCC and CEO of Aquinas, a next-generation learning software platform that provides learning reinforcement solutions. Hugh is organizer of the NYVRExpo and multiple NYC & CT VR and xAPI meet-ups, as well as a frequent speaker on eLearning topics. Hugh has been an adjunct professor at NYU & Sacred Heart University, advertising & marketing executive, and technology enthusiast.
Monday, November 13th, 2017
Time: 5:45 PM Networking/Registration; 
6:15 PM Dinner and Program
Registrations starts at 5:45 PM

5:45 to 6:15 PM "Heavy" Hors d'oeuvres, Pasta Station, 
Cash Bar followed by Program
Early-Bird Registrations through Friday, November 10th:  
$35 Chapter Members; $50 Non-members;   $25 In-Transition; $20 Students

After FridaymidnightNovember 10th, for Regular Registrations and Walk-ins:  $45 Member; $65 Non-member; $35 In-Transition;  $20 Students

Bring a Corporate Practitioner Guest!!!

Members are welcome to bring one free guest per event, an internal Corporate HR practitioner only, if the guest has not yet attended a regular speaker event free within the past year.

Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT

For more info or to register, visit

Friday, November 3, 2017

Public Speaking is Just a Skill You Can Improve

As a presentation skills coach and trainer, I have had the opportunity to observe presentations by many people from all backgrounds and walks of life.

It is my firm belief - and experience has not contradicted me - that while some people are more naturally comfortable with public speaking, EVERYONE can become competent at it, IF they spend the time and work on the right things. Yes, this means YOU, too!

We all know people who are very knowledgeable about a topic but can't communicate effectively. We also know people who don't know very much, but they "talk good." Each group of people can only get so far in their careers before they hit a roadblock. Your goal is to have both knowledge AND the ability to communicate that knowledge effectively.

The ability to communicate effectively what you know is the one skill that will differentiate you from everyone else. It doesn't matter what your background is, where you went to college (or even IF you went to college) or where you grew up - if you are an expert at something and can communicate that expertise effectively, you will succeed. Period.

Make this the time in your life that you commit to getting better at public speaking and eliminating the roadblock in your path to success and confidence. 

How? There are many things you can do... practice, volunteer for opportunities to speak at work, join Toastmasters, hire a presentation skills coach, videotape yourself presenting, take a presentation skills class, watch a colleague who is a good presenter... the first step is to BELIEVE that you CAN get better and the second step is to COMMIT to spending the time and energy to get better by practicing in the right way. 

And as you take those steps, feel free to reach out to me for guidance.  

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Gilda challenged us to think outside the box… and laugh!

"I highly recommend the talented Gilda to you! Gilda led a fun team building event for our GE Capital Controllership team. The belly laughs we all had at the event were a great way to let off steam after a challenging business quarter. She employed techniques used in improvisational comedy to engage the team, challenge them to 'think outside the box' and most importantly, let their hair down and laugh! 

Under the umbrella of good-natured fun, the team picked up subtle negotiation skills, as presented in Gilda's "Yes, and..." improv exercise, and met that important 'thinking on your feet' challenge. Thanks, Gilda!"
-Monica Zarba, Training Coordinator & Executive Assistant, GE Capital

To find out more about how Gilda can bring fun and learning to your organization, visit

Monday, October 16, 2017

Gilda to Emcee Women's Business Development Council's 20th Anniversary Gala 10/20

Women’s Business Development Council 20th Anniversary Gala

Join the Women’s Business Development Council on Friday, October 20th to Celebrate and Support Women’s Economic Empowerment:
I'm excited once again to be serving as Emcee for this event!
Hyatt Regency Greenwich
1800 East Putnam Avenue
Old Greenwich, CT 06870
11:00 AM Registration, Networking and Raffle
12:00-2:30 Lunch and Awards Ceremony
Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley
Abby Kohnstamm, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Pitney Bowes

Dara Lamb, Founder and Designer, Dara Lamb Custom Clothing

20 for 20

A special tribute to the Women’s Business Development Council graduates of the last 20 years.
For information, please contact Alicia Kalish at

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Creating Online Courses - NSA CT 10/12/17

National Speakers Association - CT Chapter Meeting

10/12/17 Sylvie Di Giusto: Creating Online Courses – How to develop, market and sell cutting-edge e-Learning programs
Would you like to create a fun and valuable e-Learning program for your clients? Are you interested in a passive income model? Are you ready to learn the essential elements to make it happen? If you answered yes to these questions, make sure you don’t miss our upcoming chapter event with New York City based image consultant, trainer, author and e-Learning aficionado Sylvie di Giusto. 

In this session, Sylvie will showcase several ways how she incorporates e-Learning in her coaching and speaking business. You’ll walk away with plenty of ideas, tips, tools and techniques that will help you offer your own expertise online. You’ll be inspired how to make learning content more interactive and memorable with the many examples of learning units Sylvie will demonstrate live including text, pictures, videos, audios, quizzes, assignments, forum discussions or group work interactions. You will learn about different pricing models and you’ll understand how the quality of your e-Learning content defines its success or failure.

  • $25 for NSA-CT Professional members who have paid their annual BASIC dues
  • FREE for NSA-CT members with an All-Access Pass
  • $40 for guests
  • *ALL CHAPTER MEETINGS TAKE PLACE AT THE BEST WESTERN HOTEL, 201 Washington Avenue, North Haven, CT (Exit 12/I-91)
For more info or to register, visit

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Gilda's interactive style & practical advice earn rave reviews

"After hearing Gilda's engaging presentation at SNEC-PMI's annual Conference, I immediately knew I wanted to invite her to share her wisdom with more of our Professional Development events.
Since then I've had the pleasure of hearing her speak as Conference keynote and at several Chapter meetings on a variety of insightful topics. Her most recent presentation for us, How to Communicate With Confidence, Competence and Composure, was interactive and full of specific ideas that people could put into practice to demonstrate their expertise, establish credibility and communicate as a leader. And Gilda was very comfortable handling audience questions.

We love having Gilda speak for us - her presentation style and content consistently receive rave reviews from our attendees and she imparts knowledge that can be put to immediate use. We can't wait to have her back!"
 - Mary Frances Gorgas PMP, Board of Directors, Professional Development, SNEC-PMI; Associate Director, Business Integration, Synapse Group, Inc. 

To find out more about having Gilda speak for your organization or association, visit

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tenor David Guzman & Pianist Natalia Katyukova in Concert 10/1 in Darien

Join us for an afternoon of music on Sunday, October 1 at 3:00PM featuring tenor, David Guzman, as he brings us Art Songs from Latin-America.  The program will feature selections from his latest CD recording (available at the concert), highlighting music from Argentina, Peru, Mexico, Cuba and his native Colombia. The unifying theme of love - both paternal and maternal, human and divine will be explored as it was expressed by the composers of the late 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.  

David's wife, Natalia Katyukova, assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera and one of the most highly-regarded collaborators of her generation, will accompany at the piano.  

The concert is free and open to the public. For more information contact the Music Office at 655-3303, ext. 19
Location: St. Thomas More Church, 374 Middlesex Road, Darien, CT 06820

Friday, September 22, 2017

Gilda Serves as Emcee for Manhattanville Leadership Summit

I was honored to serve as Emcee for the Manhattanville School of Business Women's Leadership Summit, sponsored by the Women's Leadership Institute.

Women from all professional backgrounds gathered for a day of education, professional development and networking.

Welcoming the audience in the historic chapel at Reid Castle

Introducing the panel of distinguished Manhattanville graduates

Concluding the day with a networking reception

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. 
  • 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
Courtyard by Marriott - Cromwell
4 Sebethe Drive
Cromwell, CT 06416
Free on-site parking is available.
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

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.

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

* 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 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

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

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.

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.

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