Archive: August, 2012

Post from Transformation Tom- Play to Your Strengths- Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-Speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - August 31, 2012 - News
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Play to Your Strengths

What makes you happy? Which subjects are you a master of? I am not the greatest humorist storyteller around. Although I am improving, humorous storytelling is not my strength. I have plenty of funny stories, but my delivery and passion are better geared towards inspirational and motivational messaging. I can sprinkle humorous anecdotes throughout a presentation to emphasize points, but I stick to my strengths. You should continue to work on your own aspects that need improving, but keep to what makes you special. The differentiating factors should be a focal point of your speeches. If you are a high-energy speaker, get out from behind the lectern and use the stage to your advantage. Your strengths are a direct reflection of your confidence level and as you play more to these strengths the chances are much greater that you will deliver a stellar performance.

 

Thomas B. Dowd III books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the links to be re-directed:  Amazon.com

Post from Transformation Tom- Stop Telling Me to Relax—It Only Makes Me Tense- Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-Speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - August 17, 2012 - News
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Stop Telling Me to Relax—It Only Makes Me Tense

           Nothing brings on tension more than someone telling you to relax. Before some important presentations, I remember good-intentioned people telling me to relax. I often would put my arms to my side and would instantly straighten up as my way to relax. I became as stiff as a board as soon as the word “relax” was used. I obviously wasn’t intentionally attempting to look tense in my efforts to relax, but nothing seemed to work as my shoulders stiffened.

If telling me to relax won’t work, then what does? Speak frequently. Those who haven’t made the determined leap yet to improve their public-speaking skills may do the opposite by avoiding every situation possible. I know, because I was one of them. The more I avoided the situations, the more intense the elevated anxiety would be prior to the inevitable time when I did have to finally speak publicly. I learned that I had to speak, and speak, and speak some more. I began to volunteer to present. Volunteers are often asked for, and, obviously, not everyone jumps at these requests. I also became proactive in contacting friends, family, and colleagues and asking to practice a speech in front of them. I have started many emails with, “I have an odd request…,” asking to practice in front of a group at work who had nothing to do with the topic I was talking about. I have found very few times when people have said no. My goal is to get to a point at which I look so relaxed that people don’t need to tell me to relax.

 

Thomas B. Dowd III books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the links to be re-directed:  Amazon.com

 

Post from Transformation Tom- Practice Physical Preparation- Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-Speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - August 3, 2012 - News
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Practice Physical Preparation

          What do you do when the anxiety and panic have moved from a mental to a physical problem? You begin by playing mind games with yourself, and all of a sudden your heart is beating out of control, your hands are sweating, and your stomach is about to double over with the worry of being in the public eye. You must understand that you do have some control. Notice I wrote “some” and not “total.” As stated earlier, we need to accept the fact that the anxiety may never go away completely. However, can you use the built-up energy to your advantage? Let’s start with the easiest step—take deep breaths. I mean really deep. Not quick and shallow to say you did it, but deep down to your diaphragm. Next, find where the tension is building up. Is it in your neck, shoulders, or fingers? Like an athlete, begin to ease the tension by stretching out the parts of your body that need it most. By concentrating on relaxing the tension in specific sections of your body, you will ease the mental games and feel the physical tension dissipate.

Additionally, you should prepare ahead of time to minimize the physical symptoms for the presentation. This can be accomplished by getting plenty of rest and by avoiding caffeine. I found myself in front of over one hundred individuals at a presentation at the local YMCA when my hands and arms began to shake uncontrollably. Interestingly, I felt great that day and did not feel nervous at all. I realized I’d had a soda with caffeine in it a couple of hours before the event. Although I was not nervous, I was excited and found that when the building adrenaline kicked in, the caffeine decided to join in the fun.

Another way to stay limber and control your body is through exercise. In addition to having a normal cardiovascular routine that keeps your heart strong, you should try to exercise a couple of hours prior to the presentation, if possible, to get the blood flowing and your body stabilized. Some people like to use meditation and yoga as other means to prepare themselves. The final tip is to stay within as much of your own routine as possible. The routine adds further stability, due to your familiarity with what’s going on around you. This mental comfort will add to your physical comfort.

 

Thomas B. Dowd III books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the links to be re-directed:  Amazon.com