Went to a seminar the other day on web marketing (Side note: look for BIG changes and announcements soon to this blog and web site!) The speaker gave everyone a chance to announce what they do, and he made a joke about me being a “speech coach” (not how I introduced myself, but it’ll do). It was a running gag (and great publicity!). At one point, I shouted back “Do you need a speech coach?” and he answered (laughing), “No!“. And then added, “Well, that’s not true. He (me) already knows and I know, we can ALWAYS get better. Everyone needs a coach. And that’s why you’re here.” It was a great truth, great segue to his own content, and pretty quick thinking on his feet.
A lot of people ask me what the key ingredients are to making a great speaker. I believe that the #1 characteristic is just that: the knowledge that you can get better. I’ve found that teachers, trainers, sales folks, and upper management — people who talk a lot — frequently think that because they aren’t getting fired, they must be pretty good. And many of them are (and probably just as many aren’t). But we can all be better.
Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because he thinks he can get better. The minute Muhammad Ali declared, “I am the greatest!” he was doomed to get beaten. Any country (American, anyone?) that thinks its best days are behind it, will find that to be true.
Find something that you can improve on, and do it.