In the early days of this coaching business, I gave a lot of talks: Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, good friend’s buddy’s nephew’s classmate’s daughter’s company. Crafting that skill led to opportunities to speak for pay. After each of those the hiring organization sent out surveys to attendees – and my scores were always at the higher end of the scale.
At one event, I spoke to more than 300 people… and 78 turned in their comments. (That was a good response rate in the pre-Survey Monkey era.) The average score was 4.8 out of 5, which the person who hired me said was their best in at least five years.
Reading through them, I saw a lot of nice platitudes that suggested I had an impact on the audience. Then I came to that one person who gave me a 1… the lowest possible score. Their comments were brutal: “irrelevant topic”… “not related to our business”… “too much sports”… “need to hire professional speakers.” Ouch!
Rather than celebrate all the kind words, I spent at least a month dwelling on this one person’s critique… and I mean dwelling – like taking up residence in the down in the dumps, embarrassed, I’m totally inept hotel. Finally, Kathy said: “You need to let it go. That’s one opinion. Think about all the others who liked you. Move on.”
Feedback is a gift. When you ask for views about your performance, it’s important to receive it openly – without judgment – and, especially, to avoid attempting to counter the other person’s perspective.
While I’m much more mature now than 15 years ago when that one person got under my skin, it still stings to think I’m not always 100 percent a 5. Why just this week, someone shared a comment that made me lean forward and say, “Well, actually…” before catching myself, nodding, and saying: “Thank you.”