John Acuff is a trendmous author and a acomplished speaker. His new book challenges us to become a Quitter. That should make you think. The most valuable feedback I’ve ever been given was the toughest pill to swallow but the best to help me become a better speaker. Enjoy…
Last Friday, from 9AM – 3PM I did something I’ve never done before.
I practiced a speech.
I’ve prepared 30 minute or hour long speeches before, but the Quitter Conference is different. I’ll speak for about four hours. I’ve never had to write that much content before. I’ve never had to take an audience from the start of an idea (How do you figure out your dream) through all the steps in making it happen, all the way to the end of the idea (Knowing when it’s time to jump into a dream fulltime).
And because I want to make sure that people walk away thinking, “I can’t believe that only cost $99,” I’ve jammed approximately 12 hours of ideas into that four hour block of time. It’s an incredible amount of content so last week we scheduled a full dry run with one of the AV guys at work.
It was me, him and 300 empty chairs in the conference center. Until my team leader walked in. (At Dave Ramsey, we don’t have bosses, we have team leaders.)
He came in between session 2 and 3, sat down and started taking notes. I talked to him briefly from stage and then launched into 30 minutes of content.
A half an hour later, we showed the last slide and Bill walked to the front of the stage. This is the moment where I get to see if Bill likes me or not. How will I know? If he’s willing to tell me ways I can get better.
I’ve had bosses or friends in the past that would have patted me on the back, strung together a few rosy sentences of encouragement and left the room. Not Bill.
He walked to the front of the stage and gave me three critical pieces of feedback:
1. I need to work on my cadence. Speaking for 30 minutes takes a different level of emotional intensity than teaching for 4 hours.
2. I need to break up the content with ways to get the crowd involved. I need to find ways to make the content more conversational. We’re going on a ride together that day and I need to make sure everyone feels like there is room for them to get in the car too.
3. I need to be careful about the workbook. We created a 40+ page Quitter workbook full of new material. I need to make sure that I’m clear with the attendees that the workbook is full of take home material not just “follow along during the conference” material.
Did I want to hear those pieces of feedback? Not really. I want to do things perfectly the first time and have people like Bill and Chris and everyone in the room just give me a standing ovation.
But that ego driven desire has to lose out to my heart felt desire to serve the audience. For me to get better at what I’m doing so that I can better deliver on that day. And that’s why I need people like Bill in my life who like me enough to help me get better.
Today, survey your own life. Who do you have in it that will tell you the things you might not want to hear? Who do you share your work with?
Who likes you enough to help you get better?