Transformation Blog & Events

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

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

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