What do you ask yourself, often? If you ask yourself questions like, “What am I thinking?” This may get you a negative answer. The questions we ask ourselves today determine our future. Want a better future? Ask better questions today. I appreciate when I get comments about my transparency in my article writing. I believe it is also important to let readers know what is working for us and the “how and why” behind it. This article is about one of those insights.
During a recent Virtual Training, Mark Brown pointed out one of the questions ingrained in my head. I wasn’t even consciously aware. When he pointed it out, it made me realize that it has served me very well over the years. I’ll say that it is the most important question I’ve asked myself over and over again for me, my business, and my audience.
Mark even mentioned that he can tell when the question clicks in my head. I didn’t think you could read it on my face! LOL. He was right. I guess you can! So, what is the question? Simple, “How can I make it better?” You may be thinking, “Really, that’s it?” Yup! Hear me out.
Mark said he noticed while we are delivering the online training, I will stop sharing a slide and adjust a slide at the moment. When I share that same slide again seconds later, it is different. Not only for that audience during that training, but also every time we deliver it again in the future. The weekly webinar we delivered last week is vastly different from the first one delivered a few months ago. The 2-Day Mastering Virtual Presentation Workshop has now been delivered four times and coming up on our fifth time in a few weeks. It is vastly different for version 1.0. Very few of the changes are major, but one piled on top of another over-time takes it to another stratosphere.
I can’t say where I first learned the idea. I could guess it came from listening to Brian Tracy, Tony Robbins, or maybe Patricia Fripp. I’m not sure who exactly to give credit to. I do know when I step back and see how that simple question has served me, it is humbling.
Last week I wrote an article What’s Your One Thing? https://darrenlacroix.com/be-a-sponge-whats-that-one-thing/
That article was about getting off the starting blocks. This one is a continuation of that idea. No one can stop you if you get off the starting blocks and continuously improve. No one, except you! Realizing that we now teach how to Master Virtual Presentations, I knew I had to keep upgrading our experience, continuously. If we teach it, we need to not only be in tune with what world-class looks like, but also be a model of it. Sometimes the mountain may look too big to climb all at once, but take one step at a time.
What if you are not sure what to do to make it better? By the way when I say “it” I mean everything! Your presentation, your stories, your business systems, your equipment, which are all geared upon the outcome of helping your end-user audience. If you have less stress and more confidence that will help your audience Two ideas on this. First, keep asking yourself that question over and over again. Your brain is amazing! It will answer it immediately, in the shower, or as you fall asleep. Keep asking, and the answer will come.
A second strategy is to get feedback from a pro. Often they can see what we can’t. After winning the World Championship, I was invited to speak at the NSA convention the next year to help bridge the gap between TI and NSA. I took the video of my winning speech and sent it to several speech coaches and asked them, “How can I make it better”? I got a couple of solid ideas.
So, how do I make our virtual experience better? When looking at upgrading my home virtual studio, I hired my friend Rob Depew to give me a fresh, hi-end perspective. He did and I had to chew on what he said for a while to own the perspective. Financially, I had to be prudent in this time of spending caution. What I did was make a list and I will make one improvement at a time. One of my challenges was with sound. I have a great microphone, but the challenge is I have a great microphone! It picks up lots of background noise. He pointed out one of my biggest challenges is the sound of my laptop fan when it kicks on. If you listen to our podcast on headphones you can hear it. Yikes!
So, what did I do? Focused on one improvement at a time. First, the most affordable and simplest was to get some sound-absorbent foam called Auralex. I’ve started to put it up in my home studio.
Next was my computer. I researched and found that older laptops can need cleaning. I had to order a tool to open my laptop. It cost $9.99. I got the tool and cleaned it. It helped, but that did not fix the sound problem. OK, what is the next idea? After a successful workshop, I ordered a new computer. Look, the sound is critical to a podcast and virtual events. Some may not notice, others will.
Great Darren, but what if you have a limited budget. Got it! Ask yourself, “How can I make it better on a limited budget”? Creativity is free. Asking friends for ideas is free. Do what you can with what you have? By the way, a studio upgrade may not be your thing, I’m just using my example.
What’s next for me? I talked it over with Rob, what new camera’s do I need for my home studio? They are on backorder. Make no mistake the content is king. The audience is the priority. I also need to try, test, and tweak everything. This experience makes me a better teacher as well. I have two different cameras on order. I will test them against each other with my equipment and send one back.
We all have strengths and limitations. I think that one of my strengths behind this question is immediate execution. I don’t know where that comes from either. Many of my mentors and friends have pointed it out. I think they are right. I may not be the best, but I can out-execute most people. You? How is your execution?
The question is powerful when asked. Small improvements layered on top of one another creates an unstoppable trajectory. Again, I can’t take credit for it, but I have successfully implemented it. Knowing things and executing things regularly are the difference between growing and shrinking. Mike Rayburn, CSP, CPAE says, “The only way you can coast is downhill.” If we coast right now, we will be left in the ditch on the side of the road. Use this powerful question and pedal.
Consider making this question your new favorite question. Apply it to your presentations, your lighting, your sound, your slides, your stories, your business system, your finances, and your family. It works. It is a critical key to pedaling uphill to the next level. Also, consider putting up a reminder in your home or office of that question on a post-it in front of you. Send me the pic or post it on my blog. After every presentation, ask yourself, “How can I make it better?”
What do you take from this?