Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Power of Visual Leadership - ATD 5/15

May 15th, 2017
Come Learn, Be Engaged, Be Entertained!
The Power of Visual Leadership
With Guest Speaker:Todd Cherches, 
CEO and Co-Founder of BigBlueGumball
BigBlueGumball is a NYC-based professional development firm dedicated to helping organizations and their people turn ideas into actions…and actions into results.  How do they do it? By leveraging their patented learning methodology whose mission can best be described by these three key words: Educate, Engage, and Excite!TM   And at the foundation of what  they do is something they call VisuaLeadership.®

VisuaLeadership® is the art and science of applying visual thinking and visual communication tools, tips, and techniques to manage and lead yourself – and your people – to new heights.  So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then leveraging the power of visuals will enable and empower you to become a more innovative and effective thinker, communicator, and leader.

In this fun, fast-paced and interactive dinner workshop, you will explore the following to enhance your effectiveness:
·         Visual imagery
·         Metaphor/Analogy
·         Visual storytelling
Todd is engaging, entertaining, and enlightening!  


About Todd Cherches:
Todd is the CEO & Co-Founder of BigBlueGumball, a New York City-based firm offering management and leadership consulting, training, and executive coaching.  In addition to running his business, Todd is an adjunct professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies teaching the popular HR graduate course entitled, "Leadership & Teambuilding” and was recently awarded a prestigious 2016 NYU "Teaching Excellence Award." He is also a frequent guest lecturer at Columbia University and a popular blogger on the topic of “leadership + learning.”

Date:  Monday, May 15th, 2017
Time: 5:45 PM Networking/Registration; 
6:15 PM Dinner and Program
Early Bird Registrations through Friday, May 12th, 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, May 12th, 2017
No refunds can be granted within 48 hours of event.
Meeting Location: Norwalk Inn and Conference Center, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT
To register, visit

Thursday, April 27, 2017

How to Present to Your Peers

Sometimes you have to present to a group of your peers.  And you may be speaking about something they know quite a bit about themselves. How do you come across as being knowledgeable and confident without sounding condescending and cocky?

You need to believe that you are qualified to give the presentation.  Start by understanding why you have been asked to give the presentation. 

What is it about your knowledge or experience that makes you the perfect person to deliver this presentation? Perhaps you led the project or know the client better.  (Yes, sometimes you are giving it just because nobody else wanted to do it.  But even in that case, you have earned the right to be presenting.)

Being clear about the reason ahead of time can help you focus and be more confident when you present in front of your peers, rather than being stuck in your head worrying, “Who am I to present? These people know more just as much – or more – than I do about this topic.” 

Once you cover this ground with yourself, you can focus on your material. Think about it from the audience’s point of view – what questions or concerns might they have? 

Then practice your presentation and focus on how you might be perceived by the audience.  Practice in front of a mirror or on camera.  In particular, be aware of your facial expressions and your tone.  Do you sound condescending, like you are lecturing at the audience?

Sometimes you intend to sound one way and you come across differently, so ask for feedback from a trusted colleague or coach.  There can be a subtle difference between a smile and smirk or between sounding confident and sounding cocky and it’s helpful to get feedback about it.

Preparing and practicing your presentation will help you be comfortable and confident when you're presenting to your peers. 

Enter Email:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gilda to Emcee Manhattanville Women's Leadership Institute 6/8

I am excited to be serving as the Emcee for this event: 

3rd Annual 
Women's Leadership Summit: Pursue Your Dreams

June 8, 2017 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Networking reception from 5:00 to 6:00 pm
Reid Castle, Manhattanville College

Keynote speakers
Andrea Gilman, SVP, Business Transformation, MasterCard
Jennifer Howland, Executive, Pathways Program, IBM 

Professional Development Workshops
Don't Leave Home Without Your Leadership Roadmap
Presenter:  David Severance, Advanced Development Services
Fast Forward:  Know Your Power and Purpose
Presenter:  Kim Azzarelli, Seneca Point Global

Special Lunch Panel Discussion: Field of Dreams
Moderated by Heidi Fuhrman, JD, Board of Trustees 

Master of Ceremonies
Gilda Bonanno
Gilda Bonanno LLC

Audience: Professional women, corporate business leaders, women entrepreneurs, non-profit and government professionals, and friends
Early bird pricing $295 until May 8th, Regular pricing $395
Special pricing: $195 Manhattanville Community, Non-profit,
and Government Organizations

For information on Group Pricing and Summit Sponsorships

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Gilda to Emcee Women Owned Business Day at the State Capitol

I am delighted to once again serve as Emcee for Women Owned Business Day at the State Capitol in Hartford on May 3. 

The Women's Business Development Council's 4th Annual Women Owned Business Day, in Partnership with CTNext

House Republican Leader Themis Klarides and
Representative Patricia Billie Miller, Assistant Majority Leader, 145 District

Wednesday, May 3, 2017
9:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Legislative Office Building - Hartford, CT

Connect with the largest organization in CT dedicated to
women's economic equity.

  • Hear from national thought leaders on policy issues facing women business owners; 
  • Learn about the only Microloan Fund in Connecticut for women entrepreneurs
  • Meet with elected officials, community leaders and other entrepreneurs from across the state.
Glendowlyn Thames Executive Director CTNext
Esther Morales
Executive Director
Keynote Speaker

Join WBDC for an interactive, empowering 
discussion with key national and state 
leaders about the economic clout 
of women entrepreneurs.

"Women-owned businesses bring more than $15 million 
in annual revenues to Connecticut. Our wallets and our 
voices are important - we are helping to grow this state 
and our country's economy."
 - Fran Pastore, President & CEO WBDC

Pre-Registration Required/No Charge 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Answering Questions Without Losing Control of Your Time

Have you ever seen a speaker run out of time because he or she spent too much time answering very basic or very advanced questions that were irrelevant to most of the audience?

Here are five strategies to ensure that those very specific or largely irrelevant questions don't take up all of your presentation time:

1.  In the description about your presentation, set the expectations as to the level that you will focus on – beginner, intermediate, advanced – and then stick to it.  Remember that you are in control of the presentation and timing and it usually can't get out of control without your involvement.

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

Saturday, April 8, 2017

6 FAQs About How to Deliver Your Pitch Presentation with Slides

Raising money requires that entrepreneurs develop a high quality pitch that speaks to potential investors.  Many entrepreneurs struggle to tell their stories in an organized, focused and concise way that is meaningful to investors.  One area they often get tripped up is in how to present slides during their pitch. 

Here are answers to 6 frequently asked questions about how to deliver your pitch presentation with slides: 

1.     When my slides are projected onto a screen on the other side of the room from the investors, where should I face?
Since your goal is to communicate effectively to the investors, resist the urge to face the screen and instead, turn your body to face the live audience and speak directly to them.  Don’t make the common mistake of presenting to the screen rather than the audience.  (Yes, I’ve seen it happen!)

2.     Why is it important that I look at the investors more than the screen?
Eye contact helps you determine if the audience is attentive and if they understand your message.  It also expresses your respect for them and demonstrates your confidence, since you know the information without having to read it.

3.     What if I can't remember my content without reading my slides?
Practice is the best way to ensure that you remember your content.  Practice by standing up and saying the words out loud as you go through your slides, paying particular attention to how you transition from one slide to the next.  The goal is not to memorize every word, but to become comfortable enough with the material that you can say it several different ways without getting flustered. 

In addition to practicing, you can also position your laptop screen in your line of sight as a "confidence monitor" - so you can face the panel of investors and still glance at the slides on your laptop screen, which can help you remember what you want to say next.

4.     How much information should go on each slide?
Enough to convey your message, but probably not as much as you think. Don't write out your entire pitch presentation on your slides and then read it word for word to the investors; that would be incredibly boring and there would no need for a pitch meeting.  You could just send them the slides to read on their own.

The value of the pitch meeting for the investors is not just the content on your slides – it’s also getting the chance to meet you and hear you talk about your business.  You are the presentation; the slides are just there as visual aids. 

So make sure your slides support your overall story without being a distraction.  They should be easy to understand and follow rather than densely populated with tons of bullet points in small font or charts that are impossible to read.

5.     What if when I look at the audience, they're all looking at my slides on the screen?
Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by this.  The investors need time to read your slides (another reason why your slides shouldn't be too busy or hard to read) and if the slides are easy to digest, their attention will quickly return to you.  And use your words to walk them through the slide and navigate any chart or graph.

6.     Where should I stand?
Stand to the side of the screen so you don't block the investors’ view.  Also be careful not to stand in the way of the projector light so your silhouette doesn't appear on the screen.  Using a remote control will allow you to advance your slides without having to hover over the laptop.  Many remotes include laser pointers so you can highlight items on the slide if needed.

Delivering a pitch presentation with slides is not necessarily easy, but with preparation and practice, you can learn to deliver an effective presentation that educates the investors about your business and clearly explains why they should invest.

Gilda Bonanno LLC

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

NSA-CT Speaker Academy

Now taking registrations for CLASS OF 2018 (Feb-May)

Are you ready to take the next step in becoming a professional speaker? Want to move closer to qualifying as a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association?

NSA-CT is proud to provide national’s exclusive Speaker Academy Training right here in Connecticut! Join in…just one Saturday per month at the Mercy Center in Madison (lunch included!)- Feb -May.

Get ready to cultivate strong speaking skills, build a profitable speaking business and work toward obtaining your NSA membership eligibility.

All class modules are facilitated by veteran speakers, many of whom are past presidents of NSA-CT.

*All Academy students are granted a 16-month membership to the CT Chapter of NSA, during program (4 months) and for the 12 months immediately following their course completion.

For specific questions or inquiries, please contact Academy Dean, Lisa Lelas: (203) 641-4405 or email:

ACADEMY CURRICULUM: Saturday classes run 9 AM- 3 PM (Lunch included)
*Note: Attendance required at all sessions for certificate of completion

FEBRUARY: Welcome/orientation/professional awareness/Your message/Topic Development.

MARCH: Sales & Marketing/Professional relationships

APRIL: Presenting & Performing/Platform Mechanics

MAY : Authorship & Product Development/Managing your Speaking
Business/Wrap-up & Academy Recap

JUNE Chapter Meeting: Graduation Recognition! Please note that all NSA-CT Speaker Academy graduates are encouraged to attend the NSA-CT member chapter meeting (at no cost) in JUNE where they will be recognized during the annual awards meeting with their certificates of completion & invited to participate in the Speaker Showcase (presenting a 6-8 minute ‘Ted-like’ Talk for practice, feedback & testimonials)

TO REGISTER: Email: for current registration info
Reg rate of $1,297
Earlybird rate: $997 NOW thru Dec 31, 2017