Archive: October, 2012

Post from Transformation Tom- Stop Comparing Yourself to Great Orators- Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - October 19, 2012 - News
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Stop Comparing Yourself to Great Orators

I can’t speak like that! You see someone on TV or go to a presentation and see someone who can speak circles around you. You might say I will never be like him or her, so why try? And so, our fear increases and our confidence falters because we have set the wrong bar. The bar is you. It may be nice to aspire to be someone whom you admire and want to emulate. The goal should be to reach the level of the better speakers, but the comparison should be how much you have improved yourself. If you said “um” and “ah” thirty-seven times in a five-minute speech, then your goal should be something less than thirty-seven the next time around. If you put others on a pedestal, you may never get on it. Set small improvement increments and aspire to attain them. Once they are reached, set more goals. Keep raising your own bar. You may be surprised at your own ascent.

 

 

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 link to be re-directed:  Amazon.com

 

Post from Transformation Tom- This I Believe

Posted by tomdowd - October 13, 2012 - News
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This I Believe… by Thomas B. Dowd Sr. (my grandfather)

The following was aired in the 1950’s by my grandfather (my namesake) on the Edward R. Murrow’s radio show, “This I Believe.”

The basis of my belief is shaped by a most unforgettable character, a woman. The story begins with a little girl, 2 years of age, as she stood in a country cemetery on a raw December day holding her 4-year-old brother’s hand and listening to a kind priest as he prayed over the grave of her mother. It is quite possible that she didn’t understand this experience until later, but there is no doubt that she felt it with the instinctive wisdom of a child. When the prayers at the grave were completed, this little girl was separated from her brother and taken to an orphanage where, for seven years—long as they must have been to her—she, with other orphans, was shepherded up and down church aisles in the hope that somebody would be attracted to her and single her out for adoption. One Sunday, shortly after her 9th birthday, the girl was taken into the hearts of a couple who had little to offer of material things, but a world of love to give. Her philosophy of life, because of the kindness of these two, was predicated on a philosophy of thankfulness, and she dedicated her life to doing for these two people each thing done, bringing to her happiness and joy, and to them material comfort. This little girl grew with dignity to the state of womanhood and married. She found a new and lasting kind of love with her fine husband. And although the first years of this union were filled and strained with worries, they carried on, doing things as one. Their oldest child died at the age of 12; there were business difficulties; there was a continuous struggle to get on the road of stability and success. The sky never seemed to be completely cleared of its clouds of illness and worry. All this necessitated tremendous personal sacrifices, which were so readily made, so that their children might not be only clothed and fed, but also would be educated. Her dominant philosophy, so developed in these trying years, was an understanding of God’s ways. She was a happy mother, tender and considerate of her husband and children, unselfish in everything she did. Her spirit of optimism and the joy and pleasure she derived from the littlest of things made her stand apart from all others that I have known. She had a trust in God and man—one as the giver of all things, and the other as a provider of material and earthly things. This trust was a beacon to all who knew her. In all things she did, she looked for no personal reward, but, as in the case of such a living philosopher, she received a reward that was above all expectations. Her belief in God as the giver of all things was exceeded only by her realization that the time would come when she would be turning to Him for eternity. With her family gathered about her deathbed, she listened to their prayers and those of her oldest son, a priest, as he asked God to accept her spirit. And just as he pleaded “Dear God, into thy hands I commit the soul of my mother,” she passed on to eternity. If one were not impressed with this person who embodied the humanitarianism of the Good Samaritan, he could find, in my opinion, no place in the world of good thinking people. That I was impressed, and that I have attempted in some way in my personal life to follow the concept of the goodness that was hers, shouldn’t be too hard a task, since this unforgettable woman was my mother.

 

Original Radio Broadcast: https://thisibelieve.org/essay/16508/

 

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- Don’t Let Personality be an Excuse- Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - October 4, 2012 - News
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Don’t Let Personality be an Excuse

I’m too shy, too introverted, too loud, too boisterous, too extroverted, too technical, too judgmental, or too energetic to be a decent public speaker. The list can go on and on as to why people lack the confidence to speak publicly. Many other reasons seem to revolve around being too quiet and withdrawn; however, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a message to send. Conversely, attention-grabbing extroverts have told me that they fear being in front of a group of people because of the risk of blurting out something ill-advised or untimely.

No two public speakers are exactly alike.  Public speaking needs all types of personalities in order to relate to the many diverse audience’s expectations.  However, this is not just about the business of public speaking; it’s about the personal side. You can use your own personality and interests as strong tools. If you are a “sports junky,” find ways to include that in your presentations. It is important, however, to make sure you are being thoughtful and inclusive when talking about your own personal topics, such as sports and adventures that make you happy and comfortable. When using sports metaphors, for example, you should ensure that audiences will understand your references. I would avoid a baseball metaphor like “it was a homerun” if I was speaking in the United Kingdom, for example, since the popularity of the sport is not necessarily widespread there. As long as you are certain you and your audiences are on the same page, you can recount personal experiences playing or even watching events. You can describe how you felt when pushed to the limits or lessons you learned after a loss.

I like to share a story about when the 2004 Boston Red Sox were losing the American League Championship to the New York Yankees three games to zero in the seven-game series. I was invited by a friend who was a Yankees fan to go to game four at Fenway Park in Boston. No Major League Baseball (MLB) team had ever come back to win a series after losing the first three games. The Red Sox made a dramatic comeback in the ninth inning to tie the game. They won it in spectacular fashion with a homerun to win the game in the bottom of the twelfth inning. The Red Sox eventually became the first MLB team to ever win a series like this. The story and its messages have so many different twists and turns that can be tailored to many different audiences’ tastes and expectations. I typically share that my Yankees friend conveniently needed to leave with the game tied at the top of the twelfth inning. In one of the arguably greatest baseball games ever played, I simply say that I heard the cheering outside the stadium since I was walking to the car. I never saw it. The message, which I temper with humor in the story, is: never walk away from potentially historic moments.

You can try infusing your personality and interests into a presentation to play to your strengths, if you can ensure that there are messages and points that relate back to the audience. This allows you to control the content that is meaningful to you and allows your own personality to shine because it has significance to you. You can also test and share your personality with others. Maybe you start with a more intimate audience sitting around a conference table. I often felt when I was first beginning that one of my strengths was one-on-one conversational teaching, and the smaller audience gave me the base to build my confidence and public-speaking skills. I began to expand my messaging to a few people around a table before taking it to a class of fifteen to twenty people. The process expanded as my strengths grew with my confidence. Your personality is who you are, but it should never be used as an excuse to avoid the opportunity to make you stronger. You can use your personality to your advantage, while also pushing further to transform over time into the person you want to be. No two speakers are exactly alike, and that is a good thing. Regardless of the personality you have shaped for yourself, you can grow into a successful public speaker.

 

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