Archive: May, 2013

Guest Blog by Susan Trivers- How to Hold Your Audience in Rapt Attention

Posted by tomdowd - May 30, 2013 - News
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I’m excited to have Susan Trivers for the second time as a guest blogger.  Susan is a well-respected Toastmaster and a gifted speaking coach.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below! Susan- thank you for your contributions.  For all of my Toastmasters friends, Susan was referenced in the most March 2013 Toastmasters Magazine article, “When Bad Speeches Happen to Good People.”  Congratulations on all of your success, and thanks again!

How to Hold Your Audience in Rapt Attention

By Susan Trivers www.greatspeakingcoach.com

Dog with Ears out_Susan Trivers

There is magic in those moments when everyone in the audience is paying full attention to you. You don’t need to be a sleight-of-hand magician to make this happen. You only need to tell a great story.

A powerful example of how a great story is like magic was reported in the news about Bill Clinton speaking at Howard University’s 2013 graduation. Clinton described his visit to Indonesia and a tour through the camps sheltering many tens of thousands of those left homeless by the tsunami in 2004.

Clinton praised the handsomeness of a 10 year old boy. The interpreter told Clinton that yes, the boy was handsome and that until the tsunami, he had had 9 siblings. All of them were lost in the tsunami. As the reporter wrote “The crowd fell silent.”

It’s what Clinton said next that makes this an example of speaking magic. He said to the graduates “This man who had lost nine of his ten children led me through that camp with a smile on his face and never talked about anything but what those other people needed and what he wanted me to do.”

“No matter what happens to you, it is highly unlikely that you will ever face anything as awful as what happened to that mother and father.”

No facts and statistics, no policy rants, no logic. A compelling story related in simple meaningful words with obvious emotion in his voice. Those graduates will remember their graduation day for a long time. I’m sure that from time to time, when faced with the difficulties of life that everyone faces, they will remember this story.

How well do you create magic with your stories and hold your audience in rapt attention?

Contact Information:

Susan G. Trivers

https://www.susantrivers.com/

susan@susantrivers.com

703-790-1424 1651

East Avenue, McLean, VA 22101

Post from Transformation Tom- Reinforce Three Times, Three Times, Three Times— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - May 24, 2013 - News
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Whether it was from reading about public speaking, public-speaking training, or through points emphasized by professional speakers everywhere, the often cited “Rule of Three” in speaking is a tool that can be used often and effectively. This rule is important to the rhythm of the message, the sentence structure, and the cadence. The natural flow of using three examples to emphasize your points, such as “He was thirsty, hungry, and tired,” allows you to begin to paint the picture clearly and concisely. Not every sentence in your speech or presentation needs three examples, but periodically embedding threes into the message gives it a splash of continuity.

Rule of Three

Additionally, the power of three comes into play when making supported points throughout the body of the speech. The audience can’t remember all of the critical details. Even in short speeches, if they are given a plethora of messages to remember, the human mind can only retain so much information. A useful speech technique is to frame a strong opening followed by three points you want to make, each supported with a story or example, followed by a solid summary. The use of three examples is a tested tool that consistently takes hold with all audiences.

 

 

 

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- End Strong— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - May 10, 2013 - News
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As an audience member, have you ever started to gather your things together and gotten ready to stand up following a presentation that didn’t really end? You may have been given cues, such as “In conclusion…,” “Finally,” and “As I wrap this up,” but the presentation keeps going. The audience must not be left guessing when your presentation is to be wrapped up. The presenter should ensure that there is a nice, tidy bow wrapped up on the conclusion. In the business world, I see this happen at the end of presentations, and even conference calls, where the host is not sure how to end, so we get minutes of filler and babbling while the listeners begin preparation for their next call or activity. I suggest being simple and confident. For a call, you may say, “Thank you for your contributions on the call, and have a great day.” For a presentation, you may say, “The final point is to…,” and end with, “Thank you for being a great audience.” Everyone will know it is over.

The key to success is your ability as a speaker to exude confidence that everything is wrapped up. Your conclusion should be a summation of what you told them, with emphasis on the critical points you want the group to walk away with. Never assume the audience caught everything. A strong recap reinforces the messages and ends the presentation on a potentially motivating, inspiring, or action-specific note. Find an effective way to end it. Don’t recap your recap and keep talking. After the summation, come in strongly and clearly and wrap it up.

 

 

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)

Mom’s Rules- a Guest Blog by Bill Packard

Posted by tomdowd - May 3, 2013 - News
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I have another special guest blog post.  I’m pleased to have Bill Packard, a native Mainer, small business and customer service expert. Please take a few moments to read about important lessons in running a business and feel free to make comments.  It’s a nice touch for Bill to include it the week of Mother’s Day.  Bill- thank you for the contribution and sharing!

Mom’s Rules

Here’s the first lesson my mother taught me about Customer service.  If people don’t come through the door of The Lucky Strike Lanes, have a good time, and leave money, you don’t get new clothes for school.  I am not now, nor was I then a fashion conscious guy, but some things are very important to a middle school male and new clothes for the start of the school year was very close to the top of the list of important things.

With mom, everything was about the Customer.  There were rules.  They were rules that employees did not break.

  1. You always open on time, ready to do business.
  2. You make sure the Customer has whatever they need.
  3. Everything is CLEAN.  Got that?  Everything.
  4. Do what you can to make the Customer’s visit a fun thing for them.
  5. Count the Customer’s change back to them.  (We didn’t have fancy cash registers.)
  6. Don’t start cleaning up from the day when Customers are still in the building.
  7. Don’t ever, ever, ever turn out the lights or the sign until after closing time and if Customers are still in the building after closing time, don’t ever, ever, ever turn out the lights or the sign.

I hope these all look pretty familiar to you if you’re in business, but here’s what happens sometimes.  The business owner is clear about their expectations but somewhere down the line as those expectations are passed down, there is a disconnect.  My goal is to do what I can to repair that disconnect.

Let me give you an example.  I was returning from a business trip several years ago with a company vehicle that needed fuel.  The company I worked for had an account with a terrific company that stressed excellent Customer service and provided fuel and other things.  I arrived at a store very close to closing time and started the pump running.  Before the vehicle was full, the pump shut off.  Within just a few seconds, the lights went out.  I was kind of shocked so it took me a few minutes to realize what was going on.  I went into the building and said I was not done filling the vehicle, and the person behind the counter told me, “We close at 9.”  That was obviously not the company policy and I’m sure they would have been extremely upset had they known about it.

Having excellent, superior, over the top Customer service is a good solid position to start from as an owner, but if that’s not communicated down to the people in the trenches, it’s not going to be a reality.    And when your employee handles things the way the employee in the example did, that becomes the level of service your company provides in the minds of your Customers.

 

Bill Packard

Website: https://www.bpackard.com/

Email: BPackardME@gmail.com

Phone Number: 207-691-2659