Asking for feedback is tough. Asking for feedback AND doing something with it is even tougher. Asking for feedback, doing something with it, and growing from it – that’s how you become the best at what you do.
In my career, I’ve read more bullshit testimonials than I want to count – and I can spot them right away. I’ve even had clients try to send me fake testimonials to add to their websites, which has made me waggle my finger and make them get real ones. Most testimonials are too consistent because they’re written by one person. They’re written in the same voice – the voice of the person who wants people to believe someone said those words about them. Is there a templated database of crappy testimonials somewhere for people who don’t want to ask their clients for real feedback?
While I’ve been building my programs, especially SPEAK With Confidence, I wanted to know what we were doing well and what we needed to do better. Sometimes I got a lot of helpful answers – other times I got back information that would only help that one person. Either way, I’ve learned I can’t take any of it personally – it’s business – and the only way we’re going to get better. It’s also the safest place for me to get real feedback in my business.
In reality, I only want to hear the good or bad constructive feedback that will make the program better. It’s usually worded like this: “More of this because _____. Less of this because ______.” We’ve taken ALL of it into consideration as we’ve built this incredible program – even if we haven’t implemented all of it. It’s the reason I KNOW this retreat is the best of its kind.
The most unhelpful feedback I’ve ever received was from an audience about my speaking. I learned quickly that getting feedback from an audience can be torturous if you take any of it personally – good or bad. They can give you the highest praise and make you feel like a rockstar who never needs to change. And they can judge you and tear you down for even showing up and opening your mouth.
You see, audiences are tough. Some humans sit there thinking: “I could do better” or “How did she get asked to speak about this & I didn’t?” or “He’s dressed like an idiot.” or “This is the biggest waste of my time.” Other humans are enthralled with you. They’re taking notes, nodding, listening intently – excited you showed up to speak directly to them.
The first set makes up about 10% of the audience. These humans will never share their name, but are happy to to tell you exactly how they feel with ZERO constructive feedback. It ends up coming out in generalizations about the entire audience or just that you suck.
The second set makes up about 90% of the audience. They will RAVE about you. They’ll sign up for your newsletter and engage with you on social media. They’ll come up to you afterward and give you a hug. They’ll remind you of why you do what you do.
The problem with being human is that we read the 10% and let it eat us alive. We sit with those remarks as if our own mother said them to our faces. We forget that 90% of people loved us – because the negativity creates a black cloud over the positivity. And guess what? You can’t blame them for being mean – they can’t help it. They weren’t taught how to give constructive feedback AND they aren’t the ones on stage doing what you do. You have to blame yourself for focusing on that shit. For letting it eat you apart.
While I was on my most recent vacation, I sat under a cloud of negative energy for a whole day. It was a cloud I believed someone else put over me. Until I journaled about it and gnawed on it for awhile and came to the realization that I don’t have to care what other people think of me – because I care about people.
So, I wrote a phrase that will stay with me from now on. I’m even going to write it next to my desk so I can’t forget it.
I love humans enough to not care what they think about me.
I care SO much about what I do – and I love people enough to share it with them. I know I’m meant to do this so much that I can’t care what they think of me. I say things people don’t like to hear – and I do it on purpose. Some people in my audiences don’t have the space to listen. Maybe it’s not their time to hear what I have to say. That’s 100% ok. They don’t have to. But I love them enough to not care what they think of me or my message. I love them enough to say what needs to be said.
I care so much about what I do because I KNOW it gives humans the ability to become who they are meant to become. And I have to do it without apology. Thankfully, I have a space that I’ve created for real feedback that I can review any time I want – to remind me of my impact. And the impact of my Crew. All the negativity falls away and I start cry-laughing when I watch their beautiful faces.
While we’re hosting our SPEAK With Confidence retreat, we ask our Rockstars to do on-the-spot Confessionals. Little video clips of them telling us how the retreat process is going. Some start recording them before we even start the retreat and others record them after they’ve gotten home. Some record one every day, others give us just one. What I love about these videos is that I get a glimpse into how someone is feeling throughout the retreat. It gives me real-time feedback that I can review when we’re done. They give us their in-the-moment feelings, thoughts, fears, excitement, and wins.
It’s such a delight that I put them on YouTube in a playlist for you to watch. They’re my favorite form of testimonial – and they’re 100% real.
Sometimes I wish I could get these kinds of testimonials from my audiences while I’m speaking or even from those haters who finally hit the epiphany moment years later. Because I DO get little notes from people 2 to 5 years later saying that one of my talks affected them deeply and that they finally got to a place in their lives to share what happened. THAT is why I have to love people enough not to care what they think. Because I have to keep saying what needs to be said.
Now, it’s your turn to ask. To get REAL testimonials. To get REAL feedback.
ASK YOUR CLIENTS
Send a survey to your clients – anyone who gives you money to do what you do.
What do we do well?
What could we do better?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to refer us?
ASK YOUR TEAM
This one is even harder for most companies and personal brands. Send the same survey to your team – anyone who gives you their time (executives, employees, contractors, vendors, interns, and volunteers).
What do we do well?
What could we do better?
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to refer us?
When you get the feedback from both sets, do the following:
Delete all non-constructive feedback immediately. (Have someone else do this for you before you read it if you don’t think you can handle it.)
Look at what you do well and ask yourself if it’s what you want to be known for doing well. If it’s not what you want to be known for doing well, create a plan to change it. If it is, focus on it and keep doing it well.
Look at what they said you could do better and ask yourself if it would really be good for your company to do it better – or if it’s actually a blessing that you’re not good at it. Then make a plan for only making the things better that MUST be better.
Look at the average number on the scale of 1-10 and figure out what you can do to keep it between a 9-10. If it’s really low, go to the “What could we do better?” answers and start fixing things.
Then post the goodness in THEIR words on your website, your social media, and your proposals. If you want to keep growing as a business or personal brand, you’ll send out this survey every 3-6 months to your clients and your team. Keep asking, keep growing.
CORPORATE TRAINING: If you want a safe place for your team to give each other constructive feedback, bring us in to rock your team with a corporate training.
JOIN THE CLUB: If you want to be really vulnerable, share what you found out about your business or personal brand in the Kickass Humans Club. It’s a safe space for you to share yourself with the world.
I love you enough to not care what you think about me. AND I am so excited to share my world with you. xoxo
Great leaders aren’t remembered for being great because of what they said – but for who they were as humans. The top 3 leaders of all time – Gandhi, Mandela, and MLK – wrote & gave great speeches, but we remember them for WHO they were and HOW they lived, not just for what they said. Each of them had courageously humble confidence in their ability to change the world. We believed in them because of their belief in themselves.
On Saturday morning, I had the honor of kicking off the #ESPAconference with my opening keynote, LEAD With Confidence. It was my first speaking gig in 2 months and as I got started, I was feeling the energy of the room and flowing with it. Until I realized the clicker for my slides wasn’t working. At all.
I started bantering with the audience, saying NEXT! to the tech team, and watched my sweet husband run to the back of the room to help advance my slides. It was an audience full of meeting planners – a PERFECT audience to understand that this wasn’t a little thing. I mentioned that I teach speakers how to handle situations like this – and that this must be happening so I could prove to them that it really does happen. I worked the mishap into my talk and had the audience cracking up every time I said “NEXT!” I had to keep going with or without my slides because I was the show, so – on with the show!
By the time it got fixed, I was already halfway through my talk, making the audience do awkward (such fun) things like stare at each other in order to see how their energy connected them to each other, and telling lots of stories. I was also noticing parts of the talk I had planned and missed – nuggets I wanted to share that were important. I was frustrated with myself for forgetting them – it was my JOB to remember them. I even forgot to wrap it up the way I planned – bookending it as I train my speakers to.
Except, guess what?! NO ONE KNEW. No one walked up to me at the end and said “you missed a few things.” No one knew I had missed anything. I was the only person who knew I didn’t say what I planned. And that takes courageously humble confidence to keep going despite my inner gremlins yelling at me – telling me what a loser I was for forgetting things. “Great speakers wouldn’t forget that stuff – obviously you’re not that great.” HA! No way… I’m AMAZING! A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! AMAZING! Forget you, gremlins!
Am I going to tighten up my talk? You bet. Did everyone in the audience walk away with tons of takeaways? Heck yeah! ESPA even got photos of lots of people with TONS of notes from my talk. Am I proud of myself for kicking off the year with a kickass talk? I sure am. Will I let this little incident deter me from sharing my message with the world? From teaching leaders how to be great? HELL no.
Raise your hand if you’ve had a mishap in front of a group of people.(You just raised your hand, didn’t you?) We’ve ALL had the shit hit the fan in front of others. We’ve all fallen flat on our face, tripped over the imaginary bump in the floor, or stuck our foot in our mouth. If you’ve ever spoken on a stage, you KNOW that it comes with the territory.
Great leaders aren’t remembered for being great because of what they said – it’s for WHO they were as humans and HOW they lead. I’m a human. Everyone in my audience was a human. Humans fail. It comes with the territory. It was HOW I handled the situation that mattered – NOT what I said.
When the shit hits the fan, how will you react? Sometimes you won’t even know until you’re in that situation. When you’re a true leader, you’ll know exactly what to do – even if you are watching yourself failing miserably. It comes from the courageously humble confidence you’ve been cultivating inside yourself – because you’re always learning, always growing.
Big stages can be one of the scariest places to have tough things happen – unless you’re trained to make the best of it. Then you can make bad things into memorable things. Everything I have learned from 10+ years of rocking stages (good and bad) is in SPEAK With Confidence – so you can learn from my failures AND successes along with other Rockstars just like you.
I even created a FREE training:How To Write A Stage-Worthy Talk In Under 45 Minutes for ANYONE to learn how to say what they need to say in front of an audience of one or many. I don’t think it’s fair to keep everything for just the keynote speakers or people who have the time and resources to come to Denver to rock a real stage with me. It’s all yours – free.
When it’s time to stand up and say what you need to say EVEN if you know you’ll fail, you’ll know what to do. You are a courageously humble and confident human. I can see that you are. It’s time you see it, too.
I want you to show up & show off in your next talk.
The SPEAK With Confidence Retreat began because I wanted a safe space to grow as a keynote speaker. Now, we are the ONLY public speaking retreat where you can write your next talk, practice on a real stage with lights & sound, AND go live in front of an audience to show off your newly honed skills.
THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: We’ve come to the final chapter of the SPEAK With Confidence podcast series. You’ve collected your IP, written and memorized your talk, got all the language to sell yourself and are ready for the final step: Practicing!
Let’s jump into Chapter 7: Practice Your Face Off (but not literally). Just because this is the end, doesn’t mean you are done. I know – practice does NOT make perfect – but it sure makes you more comfortable on stage. It’s important that you never stop practicing – even when you’ve given your talk a million times.
I’ll share what I’ve learned over years about stage presence, being an inviting speaker, and how to get your audience engaged. But before we get started on all the things to DO on stage, I have one big DON’T to share.
Listen to the podcast to find out my big DON’T:
You can watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on power posing here. And check out how SPEAK With Confidence alumni, AJ Gibson, uses the stage in spite of his height to be more inviting on stage: (also, grab his book: Flipping The Script – I’m in it!)
SPEAK With Confidence: Stop wishing you were on that stage & write the dang talk: ispeakwithconfidence.com I’ll even send you the fancy-schmancy workbook you’re hearing about.
SPEAK With Confidence CLUSTER: Listen to this Cluster of Awesomeness here
DELIVER YOUR TALK: SELL Your Talk (without selling)
THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: Now that you have your talk written – how do you get the right people (conference organizers AND attendees) to listen to your talk?
Let’s jump into Chapter 6: Sell Your Talk (without selling). Few are great at selling their talk in a way that gets the right people to want to listen to them. In this chapter, I’ll explain how best to write your talk title, talk description and speaker bio in a way that will get them to want to listen. I’ll give you tips & tricks on how to make sure your audience knows this talk is all about them. Catch an organizer’s attention – and write a readable speaker bio so the person announcing you will get the audience AND you pumped to go on stage!
Start with your talk description, THEN create a kickass title. Once those two pieces are done, we’ll rip apart your boring bio & why you SHOULDN’T include your family in it. Don’t worry, I’ll talk you through it.
For week 5, we’re finally jumping into Module 2: Delivering your talk.
DELIVER YOUR TALK: Memorizing
THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: Once your talk is written out, you can break it down into easy-to-remember steps that will make sure you never forget where you are – even if you go off on a tangent.
Let’s jump into Chapter 5: Memorizing (without memorizing). One of the scariest thing about being a public speaker comes after you’ve brainstormed your big idea, figured out your dictionary, created a beautiful outline and wrote out a fantastic talk – it’s memorizing! If you’re freaking out about remembering a 45-minute keynote – don’t. I have a simple method that you can use for everything from your short demo video to a full day workshop.
This simple method includes a 20 Points breakdown along with a Take 5 breakdown to get you to remember the basics – because you already know your content. Memorizing isn’t memorizing if you already know what you’re going to say – so let’s hack the system and make sure you know what you’re going to say next without sounding like a robot.
We even go through everything “demo video” – why you should have one, how to get one, and how the hunt for creating a great demo video for my speaking career led to building SPEAK With Confidence.
Listen to the podcast here:
Since this is also the episode of #alltheshoutouts – I’ll let you meet all the fantastic people that have helped make SPEAK With Confidence what it is.
Patrick Frank of Patchbay Media and his team have been a part of the process from the start. They’ve made all the fantastic videos in the course and make the demo videos from our yearly live event.
Dan Russell is an amazing neuromarketer, founder of Speaking of Brilliance, my boyfriend, and has been essential to developing the online portion of SPEAK With Confidence.
Lisa Hoover is the ah-mazing designer behind my personal brand. She’s worked with companies huge and small and is absolutely incredible at what she does. If you like my brand, she’s the reason.
Mindy Black is an Air Force Intelligence Briefer, all-around incredible woman, and the one of the best storytellers I’ve ever met. She also has a special magic for helping others share their story.
Sarai Johnson is a best-selling author, sought-after speaker and creatrix coach. She lives boldly and is amazing at getting people to share those tough, but important stories.
Gisell Paula is the helpful human who keeps everything moving (and is NOT for hire!)
These incredible humans (and more) will be working with you at the SPEAK With Confidence Accelerator! ispeakwithconfidence.com
SPEAK With Confidence CLUSTER: Listen to this Cluster of Awesomeness here
For week 4, it’s all about outlining and writing your talk.
CRAFT YOUR TALK: Outline & write your talk
THIS EPISODE SIMPLIFIED: Before you can write your talk, give yourself an outline. My outline method isn’t meant to be super specific or word-for-word your talk, but it’ll give you a general outline for where things will be. Then we’ll use the outline to write your talk.
Let’s jump into Chapter 4: Getting It Together (just don’t get too attached). Now that you have your IP all in one place, know your brand, and understand The DISH Method inside & out, we’re going to organize it all in an outline. This outline will help you memorize your talk and will give you a way to see all the parts of your talk, make sure they fit and allow you to move things around before you write it all down.
You can grab the outline template here and use it to write a kickass talk.
Then you’re going to write out your whole talk. Yes, word for word. But don’t get too attached! You won’t be memorizing your talk word for word – or you'll sound like a robot. If you try to, I’ll tear it up for you – seriously.
Listen to the podcast here:
Check out Julie Lopez and David Rendall’s talk below for great examples on how to help your audience remember your message:
SPEAK With Confidence: Stop wishing you were on that stage & write the dang talk: ispeakwithconfidence.com I'll even send you the fancy-schmancy workbook you're hearing about.
SPEAK With Confidence CLUSTER: Listen to this Cluster of Awesomeness here.