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Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions

I recently did a speaking engagement for a Fortune 500 Company. This was a big opportunity for me and the first time speaking in front of such a prestigious company. Like most speakers, I prepared well to ensure I shared not only the right content but that audience would appreciate my message.

When I completed my presentation to this company, it appeared to be received well. Speakers always have a pretty good idea of how they're doing by the non-verbal feedback they receive from the audience during their presentations. I witnessed a lot of smiles and head nods going on, so I knew I was on track. I had one close friend in the audience. I asked him what he thought about my presentation. He expressed all the positives right away. My favorite was, “you crushed it!” However then he said, “I’d like to make one suggestion. You should add this to your ending. It would be a great way to close out a presentation to this type of audience.” Immediately I thought about what he suggested, and it made perfect sense.

When I returned home, I reached out to my mentor to provide him with an update. When I shared this story with him, he immediately expressed, “feedback, the breakfast of champions!” I thought to myself, what a powerful point.

Feedback is not always the easiest to take in, but the right feedback will make you better. True champions want that feedback! Whether it’s good or bad, they crave it. I'm not speaking exclusively from an athletic standpoint because a champion can be anyone. The term can represent one who is striving for excellence and desires to be the best they can be.

The feedback I received, I implemented right away. I closed out my next presentation the way he suggested. Not only did I receive a standing ovation but personally I felt much better and knew I had crushed it!

Feedback is not always the easiest to take in, but the right feedback will make you better.

Here're six tips on how to take advantage of feedback:

  1. Humility – this is a requirement and not an option. Being meek and teachable helps you have the right attitude when receiving feedback
  2. Ask someone you trust their opinion and one who is qualified to do so.
  3. Get feedback from someone who won’t sugar coat it. Tough love is not always easy, but you want someone who will give you the good and the bad.
  4. Critique yourself – If you're honest with yourself, you can usually be able to tell how you did. I like to record, or videotape myself whenever it’s possible and self-evaluate my performance.
  5. Listen, Learn, Apply – when you receive your feedback make sure you’re not just hearing the person but you are listening to every word. Then review it and see how you can utilize the information. From there it’s just putting it into action.
  6. Humble Attitude – Yes I know this was number one, but I am repeating it again for a reason. This quality is the key. You can’t take it personally.

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Comments (9)

  1. Garry Washington:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 09:09 AM

    The information you've shared here is valuable and immediately applicable to anyone preparing to speak to an audience of any size! I really like the phrase "*Feedback, the breakfast of champions"!! Really appreciate you sharing these points and your experience! GW

  2. JJ Birden:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    Thank you Garry, I really appreciate your comment. Continued Success

  3. Jeannie Boniface:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 05:23 PM

    Other than practice, feedback is the only way a speaker gets better. A great speaker can be a catalyst for change in someone's life, and that's memorable! You are that inspiration of change, JJ!

  4. JJ Birden:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 06:28 PM

    Great point Jeannie and thank you. We're always trying to get better.

  5. Connie (Baker) Beene:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 07:14 PM

    Excellent advice, and glad you had that opportunity!

  6. JJ Birden:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 07:17 PM

    Thank you Connie! It was a great experience that's creating more opportunities!

  7. Nicholas Snead:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    This is a great reminder of the lesson I learned in grad school at the U of O. To be the best, you have to be able to receive critical feedback. Don't just get feedback from one person, but several people. If I listened to just one person I wouldn't have a broad perspective in my feedback. Thanks JJ and Go Ducks! WTD!

  8. Nicholas Snead:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 11:10 PM

    This is a great reminder of the lesson I learned in grad school at the U of O. To be the best, you have to be able to receive critical feedback. Don't just get feedback from one person, but several people. If I listened to just one person I wouldn't have a broad perspective in my feedback. Thanks JJ and Go Ducks! WTD!

  9. JJ Birden:
    Dec 02, 2015 at 11:28 PM

    Thank you Nicholas! I took in a lot of feedback over the years and I am so happy that I too listened, learned and applied!

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