Daily Quote: “One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. It takes far more energy and work to improve from incompetence to mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence.”
Peter Drucker, Father of Modern Management
Reflection: I don’t think Dr. Drucker is suggesting that we should avoid identifying and addressing areas for development, but we tend to make weakness and improvement of problem areas a priority at the expense of ignoring or taking for granted our strengths. We need to remember that on any given day we only have a certain amount of time and energy. So in focusing on weaknesses or problems as the priority we have little energy or time to emphasize and use our strengths to tackle our duties and responsibilities, and I believe that a greater emphasis on amplifying successes is more efficient, more effective, and more fulfilling for living a more meaningful and constructive life.
And the more presentation coaching I do, the more convinced I am that people are better served by seeking to build on their strengths than by seeking to overcome their weaknesses. As a coach, I have been amazed at the over emphasis in presentation coaching of observing and pointing out weaknesses of what I call “technique rather than substance”. For example, the trainer who focuses on negative things like poor eye contact, hands in the pocket, fill speech (eliminating Uhh’s and Um’s), low energy or just overall nervousness impacts presenters in a negative ways. We know from research that positive feedback at the ratio of 3 positive to 1 negative comments increases motivation and the probability of positive behavioral change.
One of my fundamental assumptions as a presentation coach is that each client has the potential and abilities within to learn how to be “great”. They just need to observe and concentrate on their strengths, like their great smile, their positive and contagious passion for their message and ability to challenge and engage the audience. To do this it is essential for the training program to use video feedback techniques like “interjective coaching and self-discovery” tools. When training techniques encourage participant’s active involvement in learning it brings out insights, strong motivation, and resourceful creative ways to build on strengths. From my perspective nothing is wrong or broken, and there is no need to fix the client,; they just need to belief in and practice what they are best at. The only problem is that presentation training programs have often focused on “fixing” the presenter rather than helping them find and use their strengths. The challenge here is that people often seek coaching precisely because they or their managers believe that something IS “wrong” or “broken” and something needs “fixing.” It’s essential for the coach and client to collaborate on identify strengths and develop an alternative perspective that focuses on the client’s strengths, because their capabilities–their belief, their resourcefulness for seeing their strengths-are the qualities that will generate going from “good to great” as public speakers.
Self- Coaching Challenge: Since I believe that a greater emphasis on amplifying strengths and successes is more efficient, more effective, and more fulfilling in changing behavior I am offering a FREE NO CHARGE ANALYSIS of your presentation skills. Over the next thirty days, just send me a u-tube video or home video of your last presentation or of a practice session that you would like feedback on. I will provide a one page presentation evaluation checklist that we will use to observe and identify your speaking strengths and you will be well on your way to becoming a GREAT presenter.