Transformation Blog & Events

Post from Transformation Tom- Tell the Audience What You Want to Tell Them—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - April 27, 2020 - News
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Tell the Audience

The old adage of telling them what you are going to tell them, telling them, and then telling them what you just told them stands the test of time and is critical in delivering a memorable speech. Telling the audience something that goes over their head or won’t be remembered can be a waste of time and energy for everyone involved. Make sure that the intended key points stick with the audience so that they spring into action or retain your message far after the presentation. When structuring the speech, repeat the message throughout the work, including in the introduction, body, and conclusion.

However, repeating messages is not the only tool. You can use creative means, such as props, to keep the audience’s attention; ask open-ended questions of the audience to repeat back key messages; or have the group write it down. However, in all of these examples we are assuming that the message stuck. Another adage never assume also stands strong. Reiterate points you want them to walk away with in a clearly laid-out manner to ensure that the audience gets exactly what you want them to get. Audiences interpret what was told to them in many ways. When you restate the key points in an organized and summarized manner, you have a better chance that they will sink in at a deeper level.

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and 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

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

Posted by tomdowd - April 20, 2020 - News
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“From Fear to Success” Audiobook= Let the Speech Breathe

I learned a valuable lesson by hiding a speech from my wife. It was not the lesson you might be thinking of if you thought that withholding it was what got me in trouble with her. I had a five-hour drive coming home from a Toastmasters convention. I was inspired and had ideas racing though my head. I actually sent myself voicemails to ensure the ideas were not forgotten. I came up with a humorous speech called, “The Wife Coach.”

I told my wife about the events leading up to the concept but held off on sharing the full speech because I wasn’t sure if it was ready yet. I obviously wanted to get some laughs, but not at her expense, so I had to be delicate in my writing. I actually put it away for about six months. I brought it on vacation in the summer to begin work on it again, and shared it with close friends. They saw the humor but made some suggestions. What was interesting is that what I thought was hilarious when first written, didn’t quite hit as hard after I gave it time to settle. I made new revisions with my close friends, and finally my wife, and again received critical feedback. The valuable lesson of letting the speech breathe allowed me to bring a much stronger version to the Division B Toastmasters finals (for the state of Maine and parts of New Hampshire). I had roaring laughter at some parts, enough to lead to my first paid speaking engagement.

Speech Breathe

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Audiobook version of “From Fear to Success” is also available! Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

 

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

Posted by tomdowd - April 13, 2020 - News
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Numbers Context

I often hear statistics tossed out in speeches as a way to grab the audience’s attention. However, numbers can be risky if they are left alone. Let me share an example. In a speech about animal euthanasia, I stated, “Each year, six to eight million animals are euthanized in shelters across America.” The number “six to eight million” can be either large or small, depending on the context. It sounds like a lot, but there is very little for the audience to grab hold of beyond the number itself, which can easily be forgotten and its impact potentially lost. I did some additional research and was able to find out that this number was similar in size to some other large numbers that I could compare it to. I was able to hook the audience into remembering the estimates by simply adding the following line: “Did you realize the high end of that estimate is the same as the population of New York City?” Give a number some contextual teeth to make it memorable.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

 

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

Posted by tomdowd - April 6, 2020 - News
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Writing Habit

Increase the power of your words by strengthening your writing skills. This comes with writing every day. I know this for a fact. I presented my first book, The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World, to my literary agent and was so proud of my work. However, I found I was more proud of saying I was done. Then, I put together the proposal and received some rejections from publishers. When we decided to resubmit the work to other publishers, I wanted to re-read my work. I was still proud, but realized how much stronger the writing was in the latter part of the book. My writing became obviously stronger as the book progressed. I went back and strengthened the weaker sections. I found I became a much better writer simply by writing each day. The same is true for your speeches and presentations: The more you write and test your material, the more in tune you will be with your strengths and the audience’s wants and needs.

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

 

Post from Transformation Tom- Know That Less is More—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - March 30, 2020 - News
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I have always considered myself detail-oriented and liked to share these details regardless of the audience. I consistently have to remind myself to “know the audience” in order to determine how much detail to include in a presentation, especially in business. Is it an executive summary or an in-depth analysis? The amount of detail will vary based on the audience needs. However, Ed Tate, the 2000 Toastmaster World Champion, seemed to speak directly to me at the 2010 District 45 Fall Conference when he said, “Less is more.”

Less is More

I felt as though I had been making strides in my business presentations by sticking to the key points; however, this was harder for me to grasp in my non-business-related speeches. I found myself giving intimate details about a person, possibly even including what he or she was wearing. Although “painting the picture” is critical, it must be carefully crafted so that the audience can formulate their own thoughts and descriptions. Ed’s point was to give the audience enough to begin to use their own imagination to paint a picture without detracting from the story and message. If you are discussing an event, details like the trip to get there may be irrelevant if they don’t connect to the main point. Eliminating immaterial background information will enhance the critical parts of the story. Less detail will create more of an impact if done correctly.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

eBook purchase options include the following- Click link to be re-directed:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Sony eBooks

Apple Store (iTunes)

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

Posted by tomdowd - March 23, 2020 - News
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I watched Joey Grondin at the 2009 Fall Division B Toastmasters conference present on “Developing Your Signature.” I will never forget some of his key points because he set me up, as an audience member, to remember his stories through his “stage location.” He talked about how all of a speaker’s movements should be intentional, stopping at specific places on the stage so people would relate those places to different parts of the story, thus helping them remember the message.

StageStory

Sometimes, a speaker paces back and forth, which simply makes the audience’s eyes follow the speaker back and forth. The constant movement may be distracting enough to be remembered more than the key points. Joey emphasized the need to set the story up. You may be walking and talking, and then at a point of emphasis in the story, you can “anchor” yourself at a section of the stage. Each part of the stage—including the whole depth, not just the front—can be used to share new stories and messages. The audience will remember the story relative to where the speaker was on stage when he or she made the poignant point.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

eBook purchase options include the following- Click link to be re-directed:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Sony eBooks

Apple Store (iTunes)

Post from Transformation Tom- Use What Works and Reuse to Meet Your Needs—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - March 16, 2020 - News
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Reuse what has already worked for you. In the last section we mentioned a recycled speech; however, here I am broadening the scope to include experiences, stories, jokes, and anecdotes that have gotten some type of rise or reaction from people. Whether they were co-workers, family, or friends, if you touched one person with a comment or story, there is a good likelihood that you can touch many others. Try it out, and see if it works. Too many presenters try to invent something brand new for their audiences and come up against across writer’s block.

Reuse

We can reuse only so much of our lives. Since the best connection to an audience is sharing something personal, go back and revisit the folder and file in which you keep your stash of treasures. The key is to use a story in a way that will connect with the audience and still serve your purpose to entertain, inspire, or motivate. You can use the same story to be funny or to be serious, depending on the environment, the audience, and the message you want to send. I have a speech about my shy oldest daughter who stepped out on stage at a school concert to sing solo. There are so many places I use the story. I have used a funny line about how I needed to talk to her about the little white lies she was told us prior to the event to keep the surprise, I have noted how much courage she had that I had never seen before, and I have used it for motivational purposes as an example of stepping out of one’s comfort zone. I can keep going, but my point is that there are many messages to the same story. If it works, find a use for it.

 

 

Thomas B. Dowd III’s books 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) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com

eBook purchase options include the following- Click link to be re-directed:

Amazon.com

Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Smashwords

Kobo

Sony eBooks

Apple Store (iTunes)

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

Posted by tomdowd - March 9, 2020 - News
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The fourth Toastmasters speech I ever wrote for Toastmasters had a pithy little title: “Chinese Takeout.” I wrote it as part of my journey through the required projects designed to methodically improve communication skills. While I was giving the speech, there were a couple of chuckles, and one member suggested that I should enter it into the annual Humorous Speech Contest. I delivered it exactly as I had written it for the club contest. I successfully progressed in the competition through the next couple of levels. I was lucky to progress to these levels, because the top two competitors moved on, and I was consistently finishing second. I was new to the process and just happy to keep succeeding. I remember saying to myself that I could never beat the winning speech. What I really meant was that I was too close to the event and too inexperienced to understand the fluidity of the process.

Recycle Own Work

Two years later, I remembered the speech and thought I would take another look. I reread it and again found myself chuckling at a couple of parts. I did have mixed emotions, though. I was simultaneously upset and excited. I was upset because I saw far too many places in the original speech that needed to be revamped and improved, and I was excited because I realized that it was an early speech, from a time when I was less experienced. Even though there was so much to change, the baseline story was solid.

If you’ve ever had writer’s block, go back to something you’ve already done and you’ll find that you can, and should, freshen up your own work. There is no need to invent something brand new every time you set out to speak.

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- Reinforce Three Times, Three Times, Three Times— Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”

Posted by tomdowd - March 2, 2020 - News
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Whether it was from reading about public speaking, public-speaking training, or through points emphasized by professional speakers everywhere, the often cited “Rule of Three” in speaking is a tool that can be used often and effectively. This rule is important to the rhythm of the message, the sentence structure, and the cadence. The natural flow of using three examples to emphasize your points, such as “He was thirsty, hungry, and tired,” allows you to begin to paint the picture clearly and concisely. Not every sentence in your speech or presentation needs three examples, but periodically embedding threes into the message gives it a splash of continuity.

Rule of Three

Additionally, the power of three comes into play when making supported points throughout the body of the speech. The audience can’t remember all of the critical details. Even in short speeches, if they are given a plethora of messages to remember, the human mind can only retain so much information. A useful speech technique is to frame a strong opening followed by three points you want to make, each supported with a story or example, followed by a solid summary. The use of three examples is a tested tool that consistently takes hold with all audiences.

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- 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