I categorically disagree with everything you’ve just said!
It’s not the best feedback I’ve ever had, thats for sure, but it did make me think!
I was recently booked to deliver a half day Masterclass, to a room of 45 business owners from across the Middle-East. They had been flown to Egypt, for a 3 day all expenses paid business trip by their supplier, chosen for their contribution to the suppliers explosive growth over the last few years, and today was a day of learning, prior to jetting back to their businesses.
I was one of a few international motivational speakers that had been put forward by the agency, and had been picked based on the content I’d be sharing with them about how collectively we ALL achieve more!
I was most grateful to the compare, who had done a great job of introducing me, and as I stepped onto the stage, was looking forwqard to sharing all with the team.
As with all my sessions, this was due to be a highly engaging and interactive session. And, as I walked through the room got a great sense of interest, learning, engagement from all present.
That is, all except the wiry haired gentleman sat to the left of centre on table 4!
Throughout the first 20-30 minutes of the presentation, he’d sat either with his arms tightly folded across his chest, or hands interlinked behind his head. He regularly looked around the room, at the desk, the workbook, and his phone. Despite every attempt I’d made to get Mr X to come back ‘into the room’ everything within my arsenal as a speaker had so far failed!
With no other option available, I chose to address the elephant in the room…
Walking directly over to table 4, I stopped, turned and addressed my next line directly to Mr X
“And the benefit of feedback, can never be under estimated can it?”
I paused, and then paused a little longer. Mr X realised this was by no means a rhetorical question, and that he was being invited to participate. A little nervously, he lowered his arms from behind his head, stopped rocking on the back of his chair, and looked around the room.
“Did you want me to give you some feedback?” he asked rather nervously.
“I’d be delighted” I replied
He stood before advising “Well, I’ve listened intently to everything you’ve had to say for the last 15-20 minutes, and whilst I’d love even an ounce of your motivation and enthusiasm for which I cannot find fault. I categorically disagree with everything you’ve had to say” he stated; before sitting back down, smiling having got this off his chest.
“Thank you” I replied unphased. “Can you share with me and the rest of the group as to why you disagree?” I continued
This shook him even more. I’m not sure he had expected me to invite his feedback to me right there and then. But even more surprised to hear how favourably I’d accepted his criticism.
“Well…” he began a little less confident than before “That might have worked for you, in your business. But it certainly would never work within mine” he said more convincingly.
“Oh…” I exclaimed “and why might that be?” I challenged
“Well,… it just wouldn’t. You see, I’m a lot older than you, and have been in this game alot longer than you. And I can tell you; that simply wouldn’t work”
And HERE lies the problem. You see it was Socrates that is first cited as having stated:
“The man who said ‘I Can’ and the man who said ‘I cannot’ shall undoubtedly BOTH be right!”
And hundreds of years later, when Henry Ford added:
“For the man who said ‘I can’ shall find a way, whilst the man who said ‘I cannot’ has already found a list of excuses”
You see, in order to enable change or at least any purposeful and lasting change, we must first illicit an understanding of the need to change and the desire to do so!
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but by hundred and thousands of workers pulling together with the promise of a greater tomorrow. And, in order to create a change in outcome, we must first change a state of behaviour and attitude.
I’m delighted that Mr X was so adamant this wouldn’t work for him, because he made it so much easier for me to show as to how it simply wouldn’t. NOT because it was not POSSIBLE to change, but because in order to change any outcome, we must first accept a different level of thinking and a different attitude before we even consider a change in outcome! Unbeknown to Mr X, he was to become a case study of how state change is imperative if we are going to impact outcome. And, over the next hour, I amended my entire workshop to ensure we addressed each and every one of Mr X’s objections!
I switched off the slide-deck, came down from the stage that had been built and asked the room to change the layout, that we could all work together on resolving an “emerging problem”. We took 5-10 mins to move tables, push around chairs and create a far more cohesive environment to help Mr X with his concern. We gave him the opportunity to share in some detail more about his business, his background, the problems and concerns he was facing and the preferred outcomes he had as a successful conclusion.
At every opportunity he would try and say “But in my business” and every time there was somebody else in the room who could share HOW in THEIR business it had been done successfully. Brick by brick we dismantled the walls that he had built in objection to change. We helped Mr X dismantle his own disbelief and rebuilt a world of new and exciting opportunity.
By the end of the HIGHLY interactive, engaging and completely ‘off script’ masterclass, we had worked to establish WHY this wouldn’t work was in fact nothing to do with Mr X’s business, the sector, the industry or the age he was, it was simply a case of attitude. My plans, teaching, lessons and examples were NOT likely to work, but only if Mr X maintained the same belief that it could never happen. And, by helping Mr X to remove this limiting belief, he could return to work and begin to put into place the changes to which we had all been discussing.
You see, there are some, who are happy to take to stage to share THEM and THEIR story. Others who are keen to share THEIR system, THEIR program, THEIR process. But far fewer, that understand
the quote from Maya Angelou. You see, as a motivational speaker, one has to remember;
It’s not about you! It never was, and never will be!
The stage is not a place for you to ever think you are bigger, better, more successful or in any way shape or form there to do anything other than serve. You only have a right to address this audience, whilst you have something worthy of their time, and are blessed that people choose to spend it with you.
As a speaker, your job may be able to entertain, but far more than this, your job is to enable, to share, to inspire; that ever member of your audience may leave wiser, more empowered, more in control of their own destiny and that you in some small way enabled them to do so.
I thank Mr X and everyone like him from the very bottom of my heart. It is a great leveller to be challenged as to what you so genuinely believe. And even more so from someone who has in the own right already travelled life’s journey a few longer years than I. It is a great reminder also, you can’t please everyone all of the time, and nor should you. It is not our job to convince someone you are right, it is simply your role to help them understand and accept the possibility there simply may be another way.
You see, as we all journey through life, be that easy or hard, full of challenges or not. It is only when we are challenged that suddenly puts our feet back firmly on the ground, and ensures we remain humble, willing to learn, question and address ourselves and our own beliefs and values.
In the inside cover of my book I gladly donated to Mr X at the end of the session I simply wrote:
“Our future, shall ultimately be determined by the quality of questions we choose to ask of ourselves!”
I’d REALLY welcome your thought on this, please leave a comment below?…