Archive: August, 2014

Post from Transformation Tom™- Value People: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - August 29, 2014 - News
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Value People

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was in a position to support my business, I was responsible
for keeping the day-to-day components running smoothly. I found I had
a group of go-to people I constantly needed for assistance. There was one
person in particular who worked in technology that I found I was constantly
calling to fix something. His sense of urgency and my sense of
urgency were quite different. I had the constant need to ride him and follow
up to get things done. I would stay on him, and he would quietly get
to my requests in his own sweet time.

On one occasion, I really felt that my request needed to be prioritized—
although everything seemed urgent to me. He gave me the same
response that he gave me every other time: I would wait in line with the
other requests and he would get to it. I felt the need to sit down with
him this time and explain that I really needed him to get to my request
now. We sat together for an extended period for the first time ever. It was
not just a quick phone call or email request—we had a real conversation.
I explained my reasoning and rationale, which differed from past
terse requests, “I need it done now.” I hoped in doing this that he would
come to understand why my request differed in priority from the other
requests he had in his queue. He seemed to understand, and we were
able to work out a decent agreement that worked for both of us. I let him
know how much I appreciated him jumping on it, and thanked him for
the past work he had done for me. I clearly let him know that the work he
had done in the past was done with high quality and he should be proud
of it. I was not doing this because I just got what I wanted. I was doing
this because I felt we finally connected and he deserved to hear it.
Although he was taken aback to begin with, he saw the budding relationship
as well and graciously accepted the compliment. He also thought
it was a good time to provide me with some honesty of his own. He matter-
of-factly said, “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I had
heard this proverb before, but never directed specifically at me, but I got
the point quickly.

Our relationship continued to grow over time. He continued to
increase his sense of urgency, when it made sense, and I started to get
more requests done without follow-up. He would move my requests up
the queue with a wink, at times. Although this lesson isn’t about being
someone’s favorite, it didn’t hurt. In reality, he wasn’t working faster,
showing more urgency, or even any favoritism, he just wasn’t intentionally
delaying my requests any longer. I had deserved the delays before
because I was not respecting the value of the work he did. It also took
an event in which I really needed something badly to force me to tell
someone he’d done a great job. Sometimes, people just need to feel valued
and appreciated. As a peer or a manager, we should appreciate the whole
value of what someone is offering, not just a single event. Don’t wait for a
particular moment to give a simple compliment and provide recognition.

 

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals)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™- Add Value with Your Visual Aids—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - August 22, 2014 - News
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visual aids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Add Value with Your Visual Aids

 

 

I have consistently been coached to find my unique and differentiating
factors and to emphasize them during presentations. For example,
I have the luxury of having low-cost, professional posters available. I
was convinced that these posters would become my way to be remembered.
As a frequent presenter with these posters, I was receiving positive
feedback. I found my use of them got to a point of dependency. I
wouldn’t necessarily call it lazy with my writing, but my incorporation
of the props became a focal point, thus a distraction from the main
messages. I learned as a speech contestant that I would receive rave
reviews in the early stages because judges often thought the posters
were a nice touch and separated me from other competitors. As I progressed
further in the competitions, so did the judges. Their experience
level typically increased and they wanted a picture to be painted
vividly with words, not an actual picture. In a key competition, I excitedly
turned a poster around from its blank-white back to the highschool
yearbook picture of a friend of mine who had passed away. I
lost the competition.
After losing, I received some feedback that although the poster
was nice, many people thought it took away from my message. Obviously,
I had leaned on my prop as a principle focus instead of just as a
supporting tool. Some feedback also indicated that right from the start
the audience was guessing what was on the front of the poster, so I
was losing their attention before I had even started. At the point when
I turned the poster around, it hit the stand slightly. Although subtle
to me, apparently the distraction was bigger in the eyes of the judges
because they saw the risk ahead of time, and I fulfilled their prophecy.
The most important feedback given to me on that day was that
the line I delivered in the speech before I turned the picture around—
“He was four-foot-eleven with a five-foot smile”— had described in
words everything people needed to envision this person properly on
their own. Unfortunately, I showed them the movie immediately after
they had just read the book. Whatever picture they had in their own
mind was instantly ruined. It was as if I had just stolen the audience’s
imagination. Finally, I was told that the audience at times felt my stage
presence was hindered or even predictable because the props dictated
where I was going on stage. Thus, the supporting props had become a
distraction.

 

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals)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
I may have lost the competition, but I guess I really won going forward
if such caring people were willing to provide me substantial,
easy-to-act-on feedback. I learned a lot that day about ensuring that
visual aids and props support the message, but don’t take away from it.

Post from Transformation Tom™- Be a Teacher—You Will Learn More: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - August 15, 2014 - News
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Learning and Teaching

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have known many people in the teaching profession who have dedicated
their daily lives to teaching children. I often hear how gratifying
and rewarding it is to them as individuals. There is also a humbling pride
I have witnessed in many school teachers as they watch “their” children
grow throughout the school year.
I remember the first time I was asked at school in the fourth grade
what I wanted to be when I grew up. Possibly out of panic or the unknown,
I said I wanted to be a teacher. Being a school teacher wasn’t in my future.
I have found I don’t have the necessary patience. I have observed teachers—
including my wife, who is a teacher by profession—who have shown
more patience then I could ever dream of.
I may not have met my fourth grade goal of becoming a teacher, but
I have found myself teaching throughout my professional years. I have
gone from teaching cold hard facts, to teaching technical aspects of a
given job, to investing my time in teaching people how to increase their
confidence and improve themselves. I have presented to groups of people,
mentored one-on-one, and managed teams of all sizes. I have taught new
hires, new managers, tenured employees, and tenured managers over the
years. I guess I too have witnessed firsthand the humbling pride of watching
others grow.
Watching people learn a new business and better themselves is
powerful. However, this feeling of pride is overpowered by the amount
of learning I find myself doing whenever I am in teaching mode. I have
begun to pick up on the common teachings of patience and humility
myself. There are so many things to learn as a teacher of others. I have
learned that I could be a better listener and ensure that there are twoway
discussions, even in a classroom setting. I have room to improve my
style, my delivery, and my preparation. I have learned that I do not know
everything, and sharing what I do know is intoxicating. I have learned
that as a teaching mentor, I can make a difference one person at a time.
I constantly learn from attendees in the classroom setting. I see an
eagerness to learn and a thirst to share ideas. I have learned that there
is no single best way to do something and that people learn at different
speeds. I have learned through the years that people learn in different
ways: some like books, some learn visually, and different generations
learn differently. I have learned that I need to vary my approach to be
more flexible and plan for the unexpected.
One of my biggest lessons is the recognition that I had things to
teach. I already knew I had business skills to teach that increased people’s
technical acumen. However, I found that I had a story to tell, and there
were people who wanted to listen. We all have our own background and
stories that can be shared. I found that my job satisfaction and success
increased when I shared my own lessons learned and best practices.
I found there is an audience to teach. It can be an audience of one or
an audience of one hundred. There is an active and willing group of people
who are willing to take the steps to be better, learn from one another’s
wisdom, and get the nuggets of information necessary to strengthen their
resolve and confidence—so that they, in turn, can eventually become the
teacher. It is a constant and progressive process.
I have found no better learning experience than humbly standing in
front of a group of people who want to be there. Whenever possible, seek
opportunities in your professional world to be the teacher. Teach someone
something—anything—and you will invariably be the student. Your
thirst to share will pay off in more knowledge for you to absorb. This
ensures a perpetual cycle of teaching and learning.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals)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™- Write Out Key Points—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide”

Posted by tomdowd - August 8, 2014 - News
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Key Points

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Write Out Key Points

You will want to emphasize key points with the audience, but in the
excitement of the presentation, the risk of leaving out one or more of
these key points is real. Have the messages you want the audience to
remember in an easily accessible spot to review before the presentation,
during the presentation, and at the conclusion, to ensure that all
pertinent points are covered. It is easy to get caught up in a discussion
or even go down a different path based on the interaction with the
audience, so it is important that the points you want taken away are
there to reference, to ensure that they are not forgotten.
These points should be written out, bolded, underlined, and reiterated
throughout your outline and eventual speech. They are the focal
points of the presentation, so you should also have indicators written
out for how you want the points to be made. Delivery of these points
can be critical in how your message is received and retained. Your cue
may be adding it to the story you want the point to support, repeating
the line, increasing your volume, or slowing down intentionally. You
don’t necessarily need to script out every move you make, although
this might be a good habit early in your speaking evolution. The key
is to ensure that your points resonate with the audience. The goal is to
build muscle memory through practice so that the key points become
so natural that the audience will be scrambling for their notebooks,
saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Good muscle memory starts with
a good plan.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals)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™- Treat Each Day Like an Interview— another Paradox: Chapter from “The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas”

Posted by tomdowd - August 1, 2014 - News
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Treat each day like an interview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one breath I tell you that you should be yourself; work hard, and
things will take care of themselves. In the second breath, I will tell you
that every day is an interview. Isn’t that contradictory? A good friend of
mine, who has years of Human Resource experience, once told me that a
job interview is like a first date. You’re about to see someone’s supposed
best and everything he or she has to give. I had an interview recently
where the person was a couple minutes late for our discussion. He had
no specific reason, and he didn’t know a lot about the job. He even mentioned
that he was hoping I could tell him about it. He didn’t ask for clarity
about the role or more details about the job, he wanted me to tell him
about the job he applied for. Although some of his answers were decent,
and I saw some growth potential, I walked away from what I will describe
as an average interview. As much as I wanted to take a chance on him, I
also wanted him to put a little more individual effort into what could have
been a career-changing moment. If this was his best for our “first date,”
I should have concerns about what he can do for my team in the future.

 

The person interviewing, like on a first date, typically will be dressed
well (or should be), prepared (or should be), and ready to give you his
or her ‘A’ game. As the person making a hiring decision during an average
interview, we sometimes want to justify the candidate’s efforts, and
hire him anyway. We either have a hiring goal we need to achieve, see
something between the lines, or just want to give someone a break. All
are legitimate reasons to make a thoughtful decision. As you are making
this thoughtful decision, the question needs to be asked of yourself, “You
just saw his or her best. Does it go downhill from here?” I have found too
many examples of instances when the decision that average was good
enough went badly. The person was not a good fit for the company or job.
He or she should have given you his or her ‘A’ game, but we accepted their
‘B’ or ‘C’ game, thus setting the expectations and bar lower right off the
bat. It may well go downhill from there.

 

Once you are in the company, the interview process doesn’t stop.
Your ‘A’ game shouldn’t go away just because you entered the building as
an official employee. I know that brand new cars instantly lose their value
as soon as you drive it off the lot, but you are not a new car. Your value
should grow as you enter the building—every day. Every day you should
strive to raise your game. There will be bad days, but you should make an
effort to minimize those bad days and strive to add value to the company
each day. This includes interactions with people you work with, work for,
and the people who work for you. Don’t let your guard down and coast
for a day. It only starts you down a path of building bad habits.
For example, have you ever been caught off guard when someone
started to use profanity because “it’s just the two of you.” Have you ever
been involved in rumor-mill chatter, or bad mouthing a colleague? How
about a casual conversation in the hall that turns into a confidential dialogue?
You need to realize that you are constantly being watched, listened
to, and judged by people at all levels and your reputation is constantly
being evaluated.

 

If someone witnesses your ‘B’ or ‘C’ game, it may leave a lasting
impression for a while. Every interaction can be viewed as an interview. It
doesn’t mean you can’t have casual or confidential interactions with others;
it means be conscious of your actions and words. Every interaction
can be a lasting one; make it a good one. Seek to maintain the reputation
you want—the reputation that you are making a top notch effort every
day. I am also not encouraging you to be uppity, snobbish, or to act better
than anyone else out there. I am, however, saying that we should all set an
example for others to emulate. Be a role model. Being your natural self
should include all of this.

 

So, is the message to be constantly on guard and never have fun? No.
Regardless of whether you are a company leader, an emerging leader, or
someone who just wants to be respected in the workplace, you should
competently be aware of your surroundings and actions. You should
make the effort to be in control of your actions and understand the
impression you are leaving on others. This includes being fun. If you create
a professional and fun environment where employees work hard and
are rewarded for their efforts, people will take notice and respond. They
will make their own effort to be professional, want to have fun, and work
hard because they see you doing it. If their leaders are doing it, then it
must be all right for them.

 

Be yourself and bring your ‘A’ game each day; be aware that you are
a potential role model and you can take the lead to set the tone. You may
even get noticed by other decision makers who think you would be a
great fit in their shop because they are impressed with you, ironically, for
what you may consider an everyday event. Treat each day like an interview—
it will pay off.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books Displacement Day:  When My Job was Looking for a Job (Honorable Mention at the 2014 Paris and New York Book Festivals)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.comMP3 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