Archive: June, 2014

Post from Transformation Tom- Practice Through to the End—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - June 27, 2014 - News
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practice to the end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Practice Through to the End

When I first started learning the piano, at the late age of thirty-eight,
my passionate piano teacher drove into my head that when I
hit the wrong note, I should keep playing through to the end. She
emphasized that if I stopped every time I made a mistake, I would
never make it to the last note. I would suggest the same with a speech,
once it is ready to practice in its entirety. You need to get it ingrained
in your head that you will not be perfect. You will make mistakes, and
that is a fact. When you stop at the point of the mistake, you will hurt
the flow and also probably influence how you react in the middle of a
real presentation if you make a mistake; you may be creating a habit of
stopping where you are and starting over, which will not be good for
you or the audience.
As you go back to certain sections and repeat them over and over,
you are fine-tuning portions of the presentation but limiting your ability
to look at the speech holistically. There is more to a speech than
just content. Flow and rhythm are built throughout, and stopping
each time you make a mistake makes them harder to recognize. In
some of my earlier speech practice habits, I started over again whenever
I made a mistake. This made the beginning of the speech flawless
because I had said it so many times. There have been times, because of
the added pressure of the actual performance, where I lost my place in
the body of the speech that had been practiced less. I surprised myself
with mistakes I had never made before in practice. I am convinced
it was because I did not take my piano teacher’s advice. I have made
considerably fewer mistakes since I have learned to practice all the way
through.

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (2014 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention), 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),  From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Get Involved at Work, at School, or at Life and Find Out How Contagious It Is: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 20, 2014 - News
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get involved

 

 

 

 

 

I have to admit that I participated in the obligatory walk-a-thons, bowla-
thons, and everything-else-a-thons because I was asked—or told in
some cases—to attend. I worked for a company that encouraged involvement
in the community and helping others, almost to a fault. I felt forced,
at times, to participate. Many times, I just went through the motions. I
donated money to causes and donated my time based on whichever path
the company took me. My heart was not in it early in my career because,
selfishly, I did not see what was in it for me. I saw many smiling faces from
appreciative people and saw large amounts of money raised to help special
causes. However, I could not see, yet, what I got out of those events.

 

After I got married, I watched my incredible wife selflessly give up
her time and effort to help out children, neighbors, communities, and
schools. All were done unconditionally and with an admirable eagerness.
I, again selfishly, did not appreciate her efforts all the time and found
myself getting upset when she would invest significant amounts of her
time to a cause I did not truly understand. I had yet to identify with the
contagious nature of voluntarily getting involved. I mean getting involved
not because I was told I should, but because others needed the helping
hand and it was the right thing to do.

 

We have a company dedicated to helping developmentally challenged
individuals right across the street from my house. I slowly started
to understand the meaning of some of the smiles on my neighbors’ faces
when my wife spent a lot of her time helping to raise money for their
facilities. They, in turn, went through a daily ritual to feed my dog biscuits.
It was comical and hit a chord with me. My message here is to not
necessarily find the one cause and dedicate all of your time (although this
is a great option). The message is to find a place in your heart where the
unconditional aspects of your involvement come flooding out.

 

My first real taste of pure enjoyment in volunteering came when I was
asked to participate in a small town group of people interested in bringing
the sport of lacrosse to our community. I had played in high school
in Pennsylvania at a time when there were approximately twenty teams
playing in the entire state. My high school coach learned the game from
clinics and from a book he carried in his back pocket. He dedicated his
time to teaching us something we all grew to love. We weren’t very good,
but we became a team of great friends, learned about sportsmanship, and
were able to give a virtually unknown local sport a little attention.
The new volunteer group created a nonprofit organization, received
donated equipment, and held clinics for young kids. I had a blast for the
year of my involvement. When I taught the younger kids how to play, I
saw a look on their faces that showed me how excited they were to begin
something special. Less than five years later, the effort grew to a club team
at the high school level, prior to becoming a varsity program for boys and
girls. As my kids grew older, I started to assist with the youth soccer programs.
The pure enjoyment of watching kids learn and play an organized
event is unbelievably contagious.

 

On the work front, I previously noted that I joined Toastmasters
International to boost my own résumé. Part of my reasoning was the pull
to get more involved in newly developed groups at work. Toastmasters
was one of a few new clubs that came as an offshoot of a small group of
grassroots leaders from the company who felt we had to do more on site.
The goal of this grassroots group was to advance diversity and get more
people involved in things they believed in. I knew that I could lead the
new Toastmasters group after it had stalled for almost a year since originally
being chartered.

 

The company encouraged Toastmaster’s participation, so I knew
it would be a positive step for me professionally. I was almost instantly
obsessed with the start-up Toastmasters operation. I was amazed at how
quickly people started to get caught up in the benefits of Toastmasters.
There were multiple people who were hesitant to even show up as guests,
let alone stand up in front of a group of people. Yet, when they did, their
mistakes turned into learning, which turned into greater confidence in
ability. I saw people who said over thirty “um’s” and “ah’s” in their first
four-minute speech, provide a perfectly organized and formulated sevenminute
speech with proper grammar (and no filler words) less than three
months later.

 

Toastmasters challenged my abilities to effectively balance work,
family, and other obligations. I found, with smart planning, that I could
do them all effectively. My wife unconditionally supported every move
I made with the club. I started to emerge as a respected leader on the
work campus, and I found that my communication skills improved and
were getting noticed. I was getting something out of it, but that was no
longer my sole motivation to be there. I saw the value of teaching others
and watching them gain self confidence. Because of Toastmasters, I even
wrote a speech about my first visit to the Maine State Special Olympics
that turned into befriending the company’s Special Olympic team and
becoming a committed volunteer.

 

Our Toastmasters club had an active military person who had presented
his manager with a prestigious national award. He was embarrassed
for himself and knew he could improve his presentation skills. He
joined our group and went after his personal goal to achieve his communication
certification with fervor and impatience. He had a lust to learn
and improve. He was called to active duty and brought his Toastmasters
manuals with him and still pursued his goals to get certified. He was the
third person in the club to achieve this certification. He achieved his own
personal goals, and I burst with pride watching the drive to accomplish
something that meant so much to him and his family.

 
I saw people in our club get involved in order to build up their leadership
and communication skills, and then became successful club officers.
The club grew from the original two people to a fairly consistent level of
twenty five members in less than eighteen months. Our club partnered
with other internal work groups to assist them with their communication
and leadership skills, and soon we found ourselves expanding beyond
our original vision. I joined for myself, and found myself staying for others.
It was contagious.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (2014 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention), 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),  From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Be a Student of Yourself—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - June 13, 2014 - News
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student of self

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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Be a Student of Yourself

Only you control the final touches you will make to the presentation.
After receiving feedback from anyone and everyone, don’t forget the most
important person to get feedback from: yourself. Be a student of yourself.
Use the simple tools of a mirror or a video camera to improve in all aspects
of speaking, whether it is speech content, delivery, stage usage, non-verbal
gestures, voice inflection, or the many other facets. Video is often difficult
for people to accept as a valuable tool, probably because it says so much. To
see, hear, and analyze ourselves is tough because most people are harder
on themselves than on anyone else, due to the pursuit of perfection.
Once you get past the uneasiness of watching yourself, you will
immediately see the benefits of video because you can rewind and
watch it multiple times for further reinforcement. More importantly,
you can target the feedback for yourself. When you review the video,
break it down by isolating certain aspects. For example, turn off the
sound. Because you no longer need your hearing senses for this part of
the exercise, you will make crucial observations about the non-verbal
and physical aspects of the speech that you might well have missed
otherwise. Invest time to be critical of yourself and you will be amazed
at how much you transform. The ability to study yourself drives home
the best in you because who knows you more than you?

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (2014 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention), 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),  From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby

Post from Transformation Tom- Take Time for Yourself—You Deserve It: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - June 6, 2014 - News
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take time for yourself

 

 

 

 

 

We say we need to work hard, work smart, do more with less, and
burn the midnight oil. It is physically and mentally not feasible to keep
doing it over and over without some type of break. Remember when the
idea was for all the new technology—such as mobile devices and the
Internet—to make our jobs easier and allow us to spend more time with
friends and family? It turns out that the new technology adds to our ability
to constantly connect with work. Besides the fact that cell phones have
somehow created a new breed of louder talkers in airports, it has also
allowed work to creep into our personal lives and blur the line between
personal and professional time.
We all want to do well, possibly advance, and get confirmation from
our boss that we are doing well. Some people like to send emails with a
late night timestamp to create the question, “What were you doing working
at midnight?” However, burning the midnight oil will cause burn out.
Our jobs are important. So are family and friends. Don’t forget that.
We all deserve a break from work. In the short term, do something
for yourself, like walking away from the desk. Grab lunch, clear your
head, and get a little breather. In the long term, take the vacation you have
earned and enjoy it without checking in to the office. You should spend
time with your friends and family to unwind. When I talk about unwinding,
I mean turning off all connections to the office. Believe it or not, the
business will run without you. Although there is no such thing as eight
to five anymore, you have to recharge. It is good for you and it is good for
the business. If you have established the right relationship with your boss
and set the right expectations for your team, you might even gain more
respect as your team shows off what you have taught them.
You don’t want to say later in life, “I wish I didn’t miss that event with
my kids.” I feel like I did early in my career. I have gone back and thought
about the things I missed. I have had difficulty trying to remember why
I wasn’t there. Was it a “critical” meeting? Most times, I can’t remember.
When I do the opposite and remember the kid’s events I have attended, I
can’t remember what I missed at work. It tells you something. The business
will run without me, whether I truly believe it or not. In fact, if I do
my job well, it should run smoothly without me. I have built up enough
trust in the people doing the job in my absence. I will cover for them
when they are out, and we both get the ability to recharge our batteries.
For those people who think they are the only ones who can do their
job, most times they are wrong. Hoarding responsibility only creates
stress for those depending on you and creates stress for you as the sole
owner. When you leave for what you may call a vacation, it probably isn’t
as relaxing as you want it to be. If you leave the impression that you not
being in the office will leave huge holes if you can’t be contacted, you are
creating a potentially harmful dependency. Creating this type of dependency
is not good for anyone. You have to make a concerted effort to create
independency for your sanity.
Give in to the fact that you work hard (and smart), and you will take
the time to enjoy it. None of your family and friends needs to watch you
continuously on your cell phone while you should be with them, and you
are most likely not engaged in whatever is happening anyway. The point
of time away from work is to enjoy yourself, the people around you, and
to relax—you deserve it.

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (2014 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention), 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),  From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention).  Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! See “Products” for details on www.transformationtom.com.  Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

MP3 Downloads of “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-speaking Guide” are available at Apple iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Emusic, Nokia, Xbox Music, Spotify, Omnifone, Google Music Store, Rdio, Muve Music, Bloom.fm, Slacker Radio, MediaNet, 7digital, 24-7, Rumblefish, and Shazam “From Fear to Success” MP3 on CD Baby