Archive: April, 2013

Post from Transformation Tom- Use Presentation Slides Effectively— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - April 26, 2013 - News
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I have been in one-hour presentations that have over one hundred slides. Now, wouldn’t that get your attention with the question, “How does the presenter plan to get through all of this?” I’ve had many other questions that begin to float through my head as someone who will have to sit through this. The most common format for slide presentations is Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint can be a strength or a hindrance, depending on the user. To most effectively use the tool, you must first understand that it is only a speaker’s instrument and not the actual presentation. It will just sit there until it is brought to life by the presenter.

When planning how to integrate slides into your speech or presentation, you should start with the technical question of how they are going to be moved forward. Will you be the one controlling the movement, or will someone else be doing that? When possible, you should control the slides, to maintain the rhythm and timing you want. Each time you turn to someone else and say, “Next slide, please,” it is one more potential distraction. Another major mistake made by the presenter is speaking with his or her head toward the slides. When you face the material you are talking about, you are turning yourself away from the audience; even if you have amplification, your back is typically towards the group. You are there to speak to the audience, not the slides. I know this sounds obvious and a little snippy, but it happens far too often, and you need to realize that you should continue to look forward when using slides.

In addition, if the font is large enough to read, give your audience some credit that they can see what is on the screen and you don’t need to read the slide line for line. Give the audience the appropriate context and points of emphasis, and remember that nothing tears you apart from your audience more quickly than condescendingly reading verbatim.

Many PowerPoint presenters attempt to get overly elaborate with the slide content and visuals. I, like many audience members, am a simple person who wants to see a simple message. If your message gets lost in the fancy pictures, arrows and symbols, you have disengaged yourself from both your intended message and the audience.

Finally, the best plans do go awry, so have a back-up plan. Can you do your presentation without slides, or are you too dependent? If the answer is that the slides are the focal point of the entire presentation, re-tool your presentation so the slides are supportive only. Be prepared in case the slides don’t work. You might even surprise yourself at how much more engaged your audience will be and how much more effective your message is delivered without them.

 

 

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

eBook purchase options include the following- Click link to be re-directed:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Sony eBooks

Apple Store (iTunes)

Post from Transformation Tom- Have Clear Intentions— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - April 12, 2013 - News
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Before you sit down to write the greatest speech ever, go back to the basics. You can start with the seed. That seed may be a topic idea. Go back to your notebook and folder full of ideas (details will be discussed in an upcoming chapter). Now that you have something to work with, you are about to get to the part that may make or break the momentum of the entire speech. The next step should be deciding what you intend to do with that germinating idea. What is the objective of your speech? Do you want people to laugh, think, or cry? Do you want to persuade, motivate, inform, entertain, or inspire? You need to know the intended take-away for your audience before you begin the rest of the writing process. Once you’ve established how you would like the audience to react, you can then begin to outline the vision further.

If you just write your speech straight through without keeping your true intentions in mind, you will create more work for yourself as you refine it. You need to know how to transition effectively from a serious part of your speech to a more humorous one, for example. Having intentions in mind may also impact your word choice. If you just take your idea and run with it, you are not truly letting it germinate. Instead, try putting your idea in the middle of a piece of paper and brainstorming (by yourself and possibly with others), writing down everything that you think of about the idea. Your thoughts should come fast and furious, without being censored or developed; the extra effort of piecing them together comes later. This brainstorming may lead to the true path you want to take.

The most effective part of the exercise comes when you give yourself a time limit, such as fifteen minutes, to throw ideas together. Time pressure should keep the ideas flowing, without being over-engineered. The important part is that you are progressing down a path towards your message and theme intentions.

 

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

eBook purchase options include the following- Click link to be re-directed:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Sony eBooks

Apple Store (iTunes)

 

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who is the fairest of them all? Guest Blog Post by Bruce Miller

Posted by tomdowd - April 9, 2013 - News
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I have another special guest blog post.  I’m pleased to have Bruce Miller, a certified professional coach, long-time mental health professional, member of the John Maxwell Group, and Toastmaster member share his thoughts and expereinces with all of us.  Please take a few moments to read through this article on self-awareness and feel free to make comments.  Bruce- thank you for the contribution and sharing!

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who is the fairest of them all?

            We have all heard that saying from Snow White. I have always been intrigued with mirrors. I remember as a kid looking into our bathroom mirror and wondering if there was another world inside the mirror. What I know now is that the mirror does reveal another world to us.

If we are willing and brave enough to really look into the mirror we can go on the greatest journey of our lives. That journey is the journey of self discovery. I have found that most everyone is not that willing to really take a good look at what is inside to see what we are really like. I have worked in the mental health field for over 25 years and continually study human behaviour.

The most complex human I have observed has been myself. I have taken that journey of self observation and there have been times I wanted to ignore and run from what I have found. The number one thing that I have discovered is that fear has been a constant companion in my life. I also believe that fear is one of the biggest issues that keeps us from becoming the person we want to be.

The fear of failure, the fear of not being good enough, the fear of people seeing any weaknesses we have and on and on fear seems to control what we do. Back in 2009 my brother died in a motorcycle accident. That night I volunteered to identify my brother’s body, this has been one of the hardest things I have ever done, I was so afraid to look at my brother’s body but I did it. What I also did was look at the one thing that we are all afraid of, I looked at death. This is the one thing we all fear and we seem to think that all of those other things like the fear of failure, the fear of whatever will kill us. Guess what, those things that are in all of us that we may perceive as weaknesses will not kill us. If you are willing to I would challenge you to take that inward journey and look at what is inside of you, come face to face with whatever it is and embrace them, it will make you stronger. I guarantee that it will not kill you.

Mirror Mirror on the wall – who is the strongest to look inside ?

 

Bruce Miller, Certified Professional Coach

BruceMiller@johnmaxwellgroup.com

encouragingspeaker@gmail.com

www.JohnMaxwellGroup.com/BruceMiller