Practical Public Speaking: From Fear to Success

NEW! If your employer is a compact member of the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce, you may be eligible to take this program at a reduced cost. Visit the Harold Alfond Center Workforce Development Funding page for more information.

Program Description

profile photograph of person with long black hair holding microphone in front of crowd

Do your knees turn to jelly when it’s your turn to speak? Does your mind transform everything you thought you knew into a jumbled mess? Do you intentionally avoid uncomfortable communication situations? Public speaking may not come naturally to many of us, but with the right support and training, it can be developed. Improving your public speaking skills not only benefits your business but also benefits you personally.   

Using highlights of Tom Dowd’s Gold Medal award-winning book “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-Speaking Guide”, you will:

  1. Learn how to relieve the stress of speaking to a crowd
  2. Become skilled in speaking with notes, without notes and using slides
  3. Learn how to think quickly, speak logically and engage your audience
  4. Learn how to summarize by using analogies and short stories
  5. Understand the importance of preparation, personal stories and mental and physical insight on reducing anxiety and increasing confidence

Most importantly, you will learn how to become influential in achieving your goals and your audience’s goals.  

*All participants will be given a free copy of Tom Dowd’s “From Fear to Success:  A Practical Public-Speaking Guide.”


We encourage you to contact Kimberly Lai at to sign up for the interest list to find out when future trainings are announced.


This program will be offered live, in-person on the campus of the University of Maine Augusta, in the Thompson Conference Room 218.

Program Benefits                  

  • Increase your public speaking skills (with and without notes or slides)
  • Understand the power of storytelling to increase audience engagement 
  • Maximize your virtual presence
  • Learn how to think quickly, speak logically and influence your audience
  • Recognize key stress drivers and learn how to use them to your advantage
  • Redefine public speaking to positively influence your everyday life
  • Adapt to the ever-evolving need to conduct business online

Topics Covered

  • Prepared presentation methods
    • Defining public speaking
    • Understanding your anxious symptoms
    • Adapting to your audience
    • Making your message stick
    • Being an engaged listener
    • Balancing content with delivery
    • Incorporating personal stories
  • Reducing anxiety and increasing confidence
    • Mental and physical preparation
    • Preparation methods, tools and techniques
  • Impromptu speaking
    • Maximizing your ability to think and speak on the fly

Who Should Enroll

We are surrounded by public speaking opportunities. This program is designed to benefit anyone who wants to improve their public speaking skills, especially:

  • Business leaders
  • Educators
  • Managers
  • Municipal employees
  • Nonprofit workers
  • Religious leaders
  • Researchers
  • Employees working from home
  • Anyone who has ever had a conversation with anyone else

Not sure if this program is right for you? Contact Kimberly Lai at and we can help you figure it out.


Headshot of Tom Dowd public speaking instructorTom Dowd (DTM)

Presenter Tom Dowd (also known as “Transformation Tom”!) received a communications degree from the University of Delaware. He is a prize-winning speaker, and an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author, trainer and coach. As a member of Toastmasters International, Dowd exhibits consistent success in speech competitions and achieved the Distinguished Toastmaster status in 2015. Dowd utilized his 25+ years of experience in the financial and customer service industry to start Thomas Dowd Professional Development and Coaching, LLC, where he helps people creatively find their own paths to success.

Cost: $200
(snack and lunch are included in registration)

Visit the Discounts and Payments page for more information about paying for your professional development, including information about need-based scholarships, group discounts and tips on how to get your employer on board.

Current UMaine students are eligible for a 20% discount. Use code STUDENT20 at checkout.

Class Capacity

  • 12 participants

Additional Benefits

  • 6 hours / .6 CEUs
  • Certificate of Completion Available Upon Request.

Learn more about Continuing Education Units.

*All participants will be given a free copy of Tom Dowd’s “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-Speaking Guide.”

For More Information

For more information or to request an accommodation contact Kimberly Lai at

In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University of Maine System does not discriminate on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, familial status, ancestry, age, disability physical or mental, genetic information, or veterans or military status in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. The University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities upon request. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Director of Equal Opportunity, 5713 Chadbourne Hall, Room 412, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754, 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System).