Archive: December, 2019

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

Posted by tomdowd - December 30, 2019 - News
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I have heard too many people say that they work well under pressure. I have also heard people say that they are subject-matter experts or have done a presentation so many times that they can just “wing it.” My only response is, “Good luck.” You will find that effective public speakers are constantly preparing. That preparation is crucial to ensuring that your audience gets the key points you want them to walk away with. If you “wing it,” you are potentially leaving out critical points. Your ability to be clear and concise and to stay on track will also be jeopardized.

Writing out the speech in its entirety as the next step after writing an outline ensures that you have a clear plan of attack for covering everything you want covered. Additionally, writing out the speech ensures that you have a full arsenal of economical words for your audience to absorb. A message hits home more quickly and more effectively when you are succinct and thoughtful. You can take the fully scripted speech, after you have practiced it successfully, and trim it back down to an outline or key points you want to make. You should know the script well enough by then that the appropriate points will be emphasized and not forgotten.

Isn’t the ability to think quickly on your feet without a script important to your success? I would answer “yes,” with a caveat. Impromptu speaking skills are crucial to your growth as a speaker; they help you handle the question-and-answer part, deal with tough audiences, and adapt your material based on the audience’s reaction. However, impromptu speaking is really just an extension of well-prepared speaking. The speaker still needs to keep the speech on point and within the expected time limit. The success I have seen with people speaking off the cuff has been sporadic, at best, and rarely duplicated consistently.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

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- Make Outlines a Powerful Tool— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - December 23, 2019 - News
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We finally select a topic and get over our writer’s block. We begin to write out our speech start to finish. Even if we convince ourselves that we will re-work it and refine it, we have left the speech structure potentially in shambles. The process is backwards if we write it, then go back and check to ensure that we have an effective opening, body, and conclusion. We should start with the seed of an idea. The seed may even come out of our folder or notebook of random speech ideas and topics that we want to germinate.

The idea should have the speech intent, message, and audience take-away applied before we add any other text. We need to ensure that the message is clear and the intended effects (e.g., inspiration, motivation, persuasion) are laid out. Before you even begin the writing process, the formulation of a clear message starts with an answer to the question: “What’s the purpose of your presentation, speech, or project?” If you can’t answer this question, how can you expect your audience to get it? Once the purpose is clear and you have clearly defined your thesis, you are ready to continue massaging the message. Once the message is readily seen, you can then outline the most effective ways to open and close. You can apply the points you want to support the message, and then include memorable stories that speak to these points. Effective public speaking starts with a strong foundation. The outline is that foundation, on which everything else is built.

Additional reading on public-speaking tips and techniques: https://www.garyguwe.com/

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

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- Have a Different Set of Eyes on It— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - December 16, 2019 - News
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Whether you are working on the first or the fifteenth draft of a speech, always seek advice from a friend, a family member, or anyone available throughout the process. It is sound advice to use friends and family to help improve speech delivery. It is also important to get them involved even earlier in the process by looking at the written content. If possible, try to have someone similar to the intended audience (who may more easily relate to the message) see if he or she can grasp the points you are attempting to make. That may not always be possible, but don’t trust that you have nailed down your content until others have read it. I have seen myself and others wait too long before having friends and family take a look. This actually creates more work, since you have most likely started memorizing the speech and you may now have to go back and recreate new portions. Find someone with an objective point of view to read through it first.

There may not always be a major overhaul, but changing a single word or re-ordering a sentence can change the audience reaction from a “that’s nice” reaction to “Wow!” I once finished in third place in a speech contest. There were only three people in the contest. The feedback I received revolved around the audience not fully understanding my message because the key point wasn’t revealed until the end. By simply moving the message to the front and re-emphasizing the point later, I saw tears of joy shed because of my newly revised inspirational message. My speech today would have been collecting dust as a one-time message if I hadn’t invested time finding people to read through it in detail.

Note:  I recently found a new related website of interest:  https://joyfulpublicspeaking.blogspot.com/     Joyful Public Speaking (from fear to joy)

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

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- Use Fear as a Motivator— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - December 8, 2019 - News
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If anticipation of speaking publicly still puts knots in your stomach, then use it as motivation. Fear does different things to different individuals. Some people become paralyzed and simply choose to do nothing. Yes, nothing is an option—but there are better options. Avoiding having to present in front of a large group is possible. However, conversations with a client you are trying to sell to or negotiating with individuals will happen in your day-to-day business. Even normal personal interactions may require assertive and confident communication that will only generate fear because you have convinced yourself through the infamous avoidance technique that you are not ready. Avoidance, as a solution, is probably not your best course of action to get over the fear.

Fear can become a motivator that can push you harder, make you more creative, and get you to dig deeper. It can drive you to do your due diligence to prepare for the unexpected or avoid making similar mistakes going forward. You can hit things head on that are the root causes of your fear. Personally, I had to take a different tack in my own preparation after I forgot certain sections of an important speech. I immediately changed when, where, and how often I practiced. Additionally, now when I start to feel anticipation and angst building up, I find extra time to pull out the material again and make sure I know it inside and out.

You do have some control. If you are afraid your message won’t stick, invest a significant amount of time into the content and delivery, to make sure the message will stick. If you are uncomfortable with your knowledge of the material, study it and become a subject-matter expert. If you are afraid you are too inexperienced, find stage time to get more experience. Even with all of this, you should understand that despite putting in preparation time and doing your homework, mistakes will be made—no matter how hard you work. You must simply commit to learning from them. Don’t let this thing called fear hold you back; see it as the guiding force to get you where you want to be. Stare it in the face, and suddenly your motivation will move you further towards your personal and professional goals. Remember that this natural feeling is holding many others back; by taking actions to reduce the impact fear has on you, you have differentiated yourself from many others. That, in itself, is success.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

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- Listen to Yourself After You’re Done Listening to Everyone Else— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “The Anxiety”

Posted by tomdowd - December 2, 2019 - News
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Besides listening to your heart pitter-patter out of control, you should absorb all of the feedback provided to you. You will get feed­back from multiple sources. Be a sponge and take it all in. It’s impor­tant to maintain a thick skin and truly think about the feedback pro­vided, to determine how it can most enhance your presentation. Once you’ve adequately taken it all in, you should then decide if it is right for you. We all become better when we get help. We should thirst for feedback.

It’s important to understand, however, that you are not required to adopt all of it. You can find a middle ground. The balanced approach says that you appreciate and respect the feedback, but you are ulti­mately the final decision maker in what you choose to present and how you present it. This fact alone should give you the comfort and confidence that you are presenting a work that you will be proud of, and that you believe in your message. It is your message. If someone’s suggestions ever cause any deviation from this, you should determine whether or not you really want to take that feedback. It is not easy say­ing no to someone who presented you with the gift of feedback, but you must remember that you are the one standing at the podium.

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books available in softcover, eBook, and audiobook (From Fear to Success only):

  • Now What? The Ultimate Graduation Gift for Professional Success
  • Time Management Manifesto: Expert Strategies to Create an Effective Work/Life Balance
  • Displacement Day: When My Job was Looking for a Job…A Reference Guide to Finding Work
  • The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World
  • From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide received the Gold Medal at the 2013 Axiom Business Book Awards in Business Reference
  • The Unofficial Guide to Fatherhood

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