Archive: February, 2020

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 - February 23, 2020 - 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 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 Presentation Slides Effectively— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - February 17, 2020 - News
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I have been in one-hour presentations that have over one hundred slides. Now, wouldn’t that get your attention with the question, “How does the presenter plan to get through all of this?” I’ve had many other questions that begin to float through my head as someone who will have to sit through this. The most common format for slide presentations is Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint can be a strength or a hindrance, depending on the user. To most effectively use the tool, you must first understand that it is only a speaker’s instrument and not the actual presentation. It will just sit there until it is brought to life by the presenter.

When planning how to integrate slides into your speech or presentation, you should start with the technical question of how they are going to be moved forward. Will you be the one controlling the movement, or will someone else be doing that? When possible, you should control the slides, to maintain the rhythm and timing you want. Each time you turn to someone else and say, “Next slide, please,” it is one more potential distraction. Another major mistake made by the presenter is speaking with his or her head toward the slides. When you face the material you are talking about, you are turning yourself away from the audience; even if you have amplification, your back is typically towards the group. You are there to speak to the audience, not the slides. I know this sounds obvious and a little snippy, but it happens far too often, and you need to realize that you should continue to look forward when using slides.

In addition, if the font is large enough to read, give your audience some credit that they can see what is on the screen and you don’t need to read the slide line for line. Give the audience the appropriate context and points of emphasis, and remember that nothing tears you apart from your audience more quickly than condescendingly reading verbatim.

Many PowerPoint presenters attempt to get overly elaborate with the slide content and visuals. I, like many audience members, am a simple person who wants to see a simple message. If your message gets lost in the fancy pictures, arrows and symbols, you have disengaged yourself from both your intended message and the audience.

Finally, the best plans do go awry, so have a back-up plan. Can you do your presentation without slides, or are you too dependent? If the answer is that the slides are the focal point of the entire presentation, re-tool your presentation so the slides are supportive only. Be prepared in case the slides don’t work. You might even surprise yourself at how much more engaged your audience will be and how much more effective your message is delivered without 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

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

Posted by tomdowd - February 10, 2020 - News
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Before you sit down to write the greatest speech ever, go back to the basics. You can start with the seed. That seed may be a topic idea. Go back to your notebook and folder full of ideas (details will be discussed in an upcoming chapter). Now that you have something to work with, you are about to get to the part that may make or break the momentum of the entire speech. The next step should be deciding what you intend to do with that germinating idea. What is the objective of your speech? Do you want people to laugh, think, or cry? Do you want to persuade, motivate, inform, entertain, or inspire? You need to know the intended take-away for your audience before you begin the rest of the writing process. Once you’ve established how you would like the audience to react, you can then begin to outline the vision further.

If you just write your speech straight through without keeping your true intentions in mind, you will create more work for yourself as you refine it. You need to know how to transition effectively from a serious part of your speech to a more humorous one, for example. Having intentions in mind may also impact your word choice. If you just take your idea and run with it, you are not truly letting it germinate. Instead, try putting your idea in the middle of a piece of paper and brainstorming (by yourself and possibly with others), writing down everything that you think of about the idea. Your thoughts should come fast and furious, without being censored or developed; the extra effort of piecing them together comes later. This brainstorming may lead to the true path you want to take.

The most effective part of the exercise comes when you give yourself a time limit, such as fifteen minutes, to throw ideas together. Time pressure should keep the ideas flowing, without being over-engineered. The important part is that you are progressing down a path towards your message and theme intentions.

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

Posted by tomdowd - February 3, 2020 - News
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Choose the words you want to use carefully. Maximize your impact by using words that put your thoughts in the best order, and select language that strengthens the sentence flow. You can ensure a clean transition between thoughts with the right vocabulary—words that the audience can relate to and absorb. The word choice, as you work on the speech order and the transitions, is critical in order to increase your effectiveness.

An often-made mistake, however, is looking to use big, intellectual words. The audience doesn’t want to have their thoughts wander as they try to figure out word definitions. Select words that are easily understood and that convey the intended meaning. There are so many synonyms to choose from; just make sure they reflect the right definition for the point you want to make. Test the words out loud, check their flow, and then research the effectiveness of these word choices with smaller audiences, to see the reaction they get.

The words you choose for your speech should constantly evolve as the speech matures based on audience reactions, or in some cases, no reaction. Even when you are happy with a speech, it should be continually fine-tuned. Your words can have a lasting impact on your audience. They should be powerful enough to catch the audience’s attention, but simple enough to be understood. If you think about news broadcasts, the anchors are using terminology for the masses. Unless you are presenting on a very specific or technical topic, make sure your word choices are used for impact, not just to sound smart. You will find that audiences often relate better to simple word choices.

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