Recently, I attended a talk by Jim Huling on the 4 Disciplines of Execution. He’s the managing consultant for the topic, which in a nutshell, is about getting teams to focus, execute, and follow through, to achieve results.
What this is about however, is what I learned from watching a master.
Have you ever met a person who was so confident, magnetic, and had such a total connection to his/her audience?
I was lucky enough to have been given a chance to witness a moment like that. Even luckier still was to be invited and surrounded by inspiring people.
Openness, warmth, and authenticity attracts and connects like no other.
He knew his content and presentation very well, and he was very prepared, but what struck me more was the quiet confidence that he exuded. He came across as someone who was very caring and open. That he was there to help us, share what he knew, yet was still humble enough to listen to us.
He shared personal stories to prove his points, and to connect with us. I feel it was a way to show us all that he’s not only some hotshot from the US who is being paid big bucks to present very valuable information, but that he’s a fellow human making mistakes along the way and learning through living life.
Yes he was professional, and yes he knew the subject matter thoroughly, but the presence he brought to the room, as well as how he shared and presented, made a ton of difference. It was like being at a rock concert with an extremely magnetic frontman. Honestly, words fail me on how to describe the experience, and how connected I felt.
A person’s presence is often far more valuable than what the person says.
It can be anybody delivering the same lines and slides, but what will set the tone, and make a major difference, is the person presenting. Same in any activity. Anybody can do your job, but right now you’re in it. What sets you apart? What unique value do you bring?
Jim allowed his natural self to just come out on stage, and that allowed for an easier connection with him. It also lent a depth and emotion to the content that he was sharing, a depth and emotion that only he could, in his own unique mix and approach, show and be.
We’re not perfect. Even Jim admitted he wasn’t perfect, but yet he kept on going, and pushing, and improving himself. Maybe that’s what it means to be a better person, and not to fake being a better person.
Opportunities for genuine growth and development turns people great; from coal into diamonds.
It takes guts to believe in something.
And to go for it. We never really know what’s going to happen, and at the very heart of it all, we can only do our best, keep moving forward, do what we can with what limited knowledge and experience we have, and trust that it will all work out and come together. The chances of that happening, however, increase with more effort that we put into it.
It’s too easy to just dismiss something, and not believe in it. It’s all too easy to tell yourself you don’t have what it takes to go for it or to follow through. That you can’t do it.
How many times have we doubted ourselves? How easy is it to just back down and not rise up to the challenge? To stay with the status quo and avoid change. To avoid failure, shame, embarrassment, and uncertainty?
It takes no guts to be a just a skeptic. A critic. Especially to yourself.
Preparation is Key.
I read somewhere that an hour’s worth worth of top-notch, excellent presentation, requires around forty hours worth of preparation. From the seed of an idea, to the full-blown end product with all the bells and whistles.
You’ve got to lay down the groundwork for whatever it is you’re doing, a long time before you even deliver or execute.
Those on-the-spot-let’s-wing-it moments? Drawn from hours upon hours of experience and preparation done beforehand.
I play guitar, and even on my lowest, slowest days, there are songs and phrases I can just play without even thinking about them. That’s due to the hours of practice on the instrument. Muscle memory works. Your brain may not remember, but your body will surely do.
God is in the details. Intensive preparation wants to leave no stone unturned and no possibility left unexamined.
It’s not only the depth of experience that separates the A players from the rest of the field, it’s their commitment to preparation.
Be generous with praise.
It costs nothing to encourage, yet when done right, gives a lot of value. Encouragement is a fertilizer of hopes, dreams, and of achievement.
At the end of the event, I figured I wanted to know a little more about the topic, and egged on by Sir Rene, Miss Consy, and Llana, I went first and asked a question.
I tried to have a little fun with it, and asked the question the best, shortest, and in the most entertaining way I could ask it so I’d ask a clear question, yet wouldn’t lose Jim’s interest.
I got really great answers and several fantastic ideas, but what floored me was when Jim said:
“This guy is a good speaker! Watch out for him, he’ll be a great speaker someday!”
And this coming from a guy I considered to be one helluva great speaker.
I have to admit, it felt good hearing it from someone who I considered to be a really great role model to be for a speaker and presenter.
It costs you nothing to praise people, but it can mean a whole lot to them. Be generous, sincere, with your praise.
Keep on learning.
Every event, activity, opportunity, and moment is a chance to learn. Never stop learning, and never stop growing.
Don’t stop putting yourself out there. Don’t stop sharing. Don’t stop connecting.
Even masters started as students.