Post from Transformation Tom- Paint the Picture— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”
I’ve learned lessons with examples of how to better use props to paint my picture for the audience that I will discuss later. Before you incorporate props, have you ever imagined your audience listening to your presentation with their eyes closed? Are you transporting them to another place and time? Are you providing relevant and descriptive details so they are able to visualize characters in your story?
Alternatively, are you providing too much detail? By this, I mean are you spending time on details that do not add value to your message or just aren’t relevant? Will the audience care that the person you are describing wears red shoes? You need to ensure that the picture you’re painting includes enough detail to set the tone, but doesn’t waste precious time and energy on minor points that detract from the message you are trying to convey.
In addition, do the words and the delivery carry the emotions you want to evoke? My family and I like to watch the television show American Idol together. As singers compete, my wife comments that her judgment of a singer’s performance varies depending on whether she is watching the television directly or is in a different room and only hearing the song. When she uses only her listening senses, she reacts differently because she can’t see the wardrobe, the stage presence, and the lights on the singer. She often describes differences in passion and emotion coming from a singer based on the way the song is sung, emphasis on certain words, and passionate delivery she heard that I may not have noticed because I was caught up in the rest of the overall performance. The singer is painting a different picture for her due to the different perspective. The varying viewpoint painted a whole new picture for my wife.
I remember how my wife once described a singer who simply sang the words that were memorized, compared to the next singer who genuinely felt the words she was belting out. It was a potent lesson for me that I had to pay attention to various connection points I might have with my audience. I needed to paint a picture that would allow my audience to vividly see, even with their eyes closed. I had to provide the audience with the opportunity to take hold of the emotion I wanted them to feel. Even if the picture was slightly different from my own imagination, it should still create the emotion I wanted the audience to experience and thus make the message stick in their mind’s eye.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) 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
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