Archive: January, 2020

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

Posted by tomdowd - January 27, 2020 - News
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My speech about the dog stuck with more people after the message was reinforced repeatedly. Audiences often need cadence and repeated information for a message to sink in. Whether a speaker uses pithy acronyms to make a message memorable, alliteration (e.g., “raced home, ripped open the bag, and realized…”), or requests soliciting responses, such as, “Repeat after me…,” he or she needs to carry the intended message throughout the presentation. Retention of the information goes up considerably when the points are reiterated and reinforced. The stories used to support the message obviously can—and should—be different, but the message should continue to be crystal clear. The stories should take the audience on a clear, carefully linked path that leads them to the end. The message should be addressed in the opening, the body (several times), and the conclusion, to ensure that it carries the appropriate weight. As the back of your shampoo bottle says, “Rinse and repeat.”

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

Posted by tomdowd - January 20, 2020 - News
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It is imperative to state up front the message of intent of your speech to give the audience something to grasp. I once gave a speech with a surprise ending: the apparent “speaker” was actually my dog—the entire speech was from the perspective of my dog reading a letter to us, his owners. I chose not to let the audience in on the surprise as I meandered through the story. I forced the revelation onto the audience as my last action in the hopes of a climatic conclusion. It did not illicit the reaction I had intended. Using this speech in a Toastmasters club contest with only two other competitors, I finished in third place. The feedback I received was that although audiences like surprises, twists, and turns with storylines (these keep listeners interested and engaged), audiences rarely like having the walk-away message and theme sprung upon them with no warning.

Audiences enjoy surprises within a story, but they still want to understand how these surprises relate to the overall message. I found that waiting until the end, unfortunately, made my audience think too hard trying to guess the next twist or understand what I was trying to convey. Springing your message on a group at the end of your speech typically won’t work; it becomes too heavy for the audience to absorb in one sitting. An audience wants the key points of a message supported with stories that become memorable days, weeks, and even months after the presentation.

My original dog story was nice, but rambled before it got to the eventual message I wanted the audience to absorb: to support adopting rescue animals. The message was also supposed to be simple. Unfortunately, it got lost in my attempt to surprise. The actual surprise was on me, because I lost my audience and never got them back. However, I was lucky enough to move on to the next competition because of scheduling conflicts for the other speakers, and I quickly revamped the introduction and body of the speech. I stopped worrying about surprising the audience and made the message obvious. This time, the audience was able to clearly see the intended message from the outset.

Once the audience had a chance to grasp the message, they could then enjoy the story and anecdotes more. The reinforced message left them with two actions to consider: either adopting a rescue animal or finding ways to support the Humane Society. The speech became one of my stronger competitive speeches, and I reached the Toastmasters District 45 Finals. I learned two lessons: First, clear messages and actions are a must for effective speeches. Audiences want to clearly understand the message as soon as possible and know what action is being asked of them. Second, the changes needed to make this happen are not as hard as you think. Go back to some of your past work, and see if a little re-working can change the whole presentation. The facelift I gave my original speech was simply a matter of reorganizing the structure with a clear message rather than rewriting the entire presentation.

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

Posted by tomdowd - January 13, 2020 - News
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I’ve learned lessons with examples of how to better use props to paint my picture for the audience that I will discuss later. Before you incorporate props, have you ever imagined your audience listening to your presentation with their eyes closed? Are you transporting them to another place and time? Are you providing relevant and descriptive details so they are able to visualize characters in your story?

Alternatively, are you providing too much detail? By this, I mean are you spending time on details that do not add value to your message or just aren’t relevant? Will the audience care that the person you are describing wears red shoes? You need to ensure that the picture you’re painting includes enough detail to set the tone, but doesn’t waste precious time and energy on minor points that detract from the message you are trying to convey.

In addition, do the words and the delivery carry the emotions you want to evoke? My family and I like to watch the television show American Idol together. As singers compete, my wife comments that her judgment of a singer’s performance varies depending on whether she is watching the television directly or is in a different room and only hearing the song. When she uses only her listening senses, she reacts differently because she can’t see the wardrobe, the stage presence, and the lights on the singer. She often describes differences in passion and emotion coming from a singer based on the way the song is sung, emphasis on certain words, and passionate delivery she heard that I may not have noticed because I was caught up in the rest of the overall performance. The singer is painting a different picture for her due to the different perspective. The varying viewpoint painted a whole new picture for my wife.

I remember how my wife once described a singer who simply sang the words that were memorized, compared to the next singer who genuinely felt the words she was belting out. It was a potent lesson for me that I had to pay attention to various connection points I might have with my audience. I needed to paint a picture that would allow my audience to vividly see, even with their eyes closed. I had to provide the audience with the opportunity to take hold of the emotion I wanted them to feel. Even if the picture was slightly different from my own imagination, it should still create the emotion I wanted the audience to experience and thus make the message stick in their mind’s eye.

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

Posted by tomdowd - January 6, 2020 - News
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Avoid surprises by knowing exactly what is being said about you in your introduction prior to getting up to speak to any audience. The unknown can add to your angst and leave some risks out there for you to then deal with when you come up next. For example, if you are familiar with the introducer, he or she may share anecdotes that duplicate your prepared material. Additionally, the information may not be factually correct if the master of ceremonies did not check with you first. Introductions set the tone for the entire presentation and must be strong to allow for a smooth and effective transition to the featured speaker.

Imagine having a boring or a surprising introduction before you get on. Your shocked face as you approach the lectern or your need to scramble to transition to get back on track may be awkward. In addition to ensuring that your introduction is the way you want it written, you should also invest time with the person introducing you to go over your expectations. You will want to ensure that he or she emphasizes key points you want to be stressed. Early on, I handed my introduction to my presenters with minimal preparation. It didn’t take long to see how many introducers tended to wing it, read my prepared introduction incorrectly, or skip over key facts. At times, I found I needed to invest valuable energy recovering my introduction. The introduction should be considered and written as, a short speech. As a speaker, you should control factors around you, and the introductory speech is one of them.

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