Have you ever watched TV shows like ‘Idols’, ‘The Voice’ or ‘Britain’s Got Talent”? These shows are very popular. And for good reason. We love to see others show their often hidden talents.
But next to those that show their talents, there are also many who fail. There’s something interesting about these people. Something that has nothing to do with their (lack of) talent on stage.
When you watch the interviews before their performances, you might notice something. Most of those who fail have something in common: their moms. Broader: their families and friends.
These families all say similar things. “She has always been singing at home and I always get goosebumps!” or “We love hearing him sing in the shower!”. They are proud. Genuinely proud. They are entitled to be.
But they are not always right.
They say these things because they are family. Even though what they say might not be true. Because they don’t want to hurt their loved ones. But some also because see their relatives in a different way. They believe in them. You could say that they are in a bubble. One that will make the performer sound good. Even if they are bad.
You need feedback
To improve as a speaker, you need feedback. I’ve talked about getting feedback before, like in this video.
It’s crucial to get feedback. But not always fun or easy. You will hear things you don’t like.
But if you want to grow, you will need to treat the criticism as a gift. As something that will make you a better speaker.
That means you need to ask for feedback as much as you can.
But don’t ask your mom.
Like with the contestants of the talent shows, your mom, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, brother or sister, or someone else close to you, won’t be honest. They can’t. Granted, there are parents who are the most critical people you will meet. But most aren’t.
You will need to find feedback from those that have a certain expertise. Get it from someone with expertise of the content (someone from your industry). Or from someone who understands what it takes to be on stage.
Getting the right feedback
When asking for the feedback, you need to be ready. Ready for the answer, but also to help those that give the feedback to give you the best answer.
In his book “Confidence 2.0” the author, Rob Yeung, highlights three things that are important when asking for feedback. I agree very much with them. They are:
1. You need to give those you are asking for feedback ‘permission’.
Permission to be honest and negative. Make sure you tell them you want to improve. That it’s ok, in fact even good, to get negative feedback. Because that will help you improve.
2. Anonymous feedback works.
If possible, get people to give written feedback. When they write things down, they will be more honest. And when they write it down, knowing it can’t be traced to them, they will be more honest. Most people are afraid to give criticism. By making it anonymous, you help them be more honest.
3. Thank them for the feedback
Finally, make sure you thank people for their feedback. You will have the urge to reply. You will want to explain or counter. Don’t. It won’t help and people will be less eager to help you out the next time. If you ask for negative feedback, you know you won’t like it.
Accept the feedback, use it and improve.
And I’m sure your mom, dad or loved one is amazing. And loves you very much. But be careful with their feedback!
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