I have two main goals when I speak to a group: educate the crowd on a specific skill or aspect of my profession and increase brand awareness/interest. After each speaking engagement, I like to hand out a feedback sheet to the audience. Responses to these questions allow me to follow up with leads, improve my presentation and better get my point across.
I recently spoke at Gravure Association of the Americas Global Summit in Florida and I received close to 80 feedback sheets. Most of the sheets had similar responses. They expressed finding value in something specific I said; they thought the style, stories and graphics went well; they would have liked more time for my engaging exercises and overall the presentation got 4-5 out of 5 stars. However, there was one lonely outlier. This respondent gave negative feedback throughout the entire sheet. I tried to think back and dissect my presentation. How could I adjust to bring this audience member into favor? Would that be valuable to me?
Feedback is important, but to an extent. Spending too much time on these small anomalies can be detrimental to your brand or message. Average to high performers pay attention outliers, and might get caught up in spending time and energy on engaging outliers. Top performers are able to let them go and get past them. Being able to look past small issues like this audience member’s negative feedback is an essential skill for great leaders. Nothing is perfect and you’re not always going to be liked, but that’s okay!
You have to understand your brand’s target demographic and audience. If you are speaking on behalf of a brand, represent it well and are well-spoken throughout the presentation, you can’t worry about a small minority of the audience who disagree with you or didn’t enjoy your speech. Those people probably aren’t going to ask for your services or do business with you regardless of the success of your presentation. It is smart to focus on the majority; the individuals or businesses who are open and willing to change and accept diverse opinions. The majority will start the trend. They will show that change can be successful with willing participants and open communication, then the minority will follow suit.
In order to be a top performer or leader, you must be able to look past the outliers or anomalies that may not agree with your brand or message. Are you able to look past small issues or is it something you need to work on?