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

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

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:

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.

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!

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.

  • 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
49 Weston Rd, Westport, CT (Merritt exit 42)