Attitude is the single greatest factor in whether you can become truly great at any endeavor.

One of the negative aspects of my job is that I rarely get to see (live, anyway) the product of my efforts. If I train or coach a client, they are likely presenting at a location I cannot or will not attend.  Many times I pour significant effort and energy into an event that I will never witness.

Although I can’t see the product, I can usually predict how a client will perform based on the attitude displayed during coaching or a workshop.

Speaking is no different from golf or relationships in that respect. What I want to hear from a client is, “What must I do to become better?!”  The desire and willingness to work towards greatness is the most important criterion for seeing it come to pass.

I’ve had two encouraging interactions with clients recently that gave me an emotional boost, as well as an open door to coach them to a level of greatness that is not usually possible.

In the first, I was coaching a client remotely. In this particular session, we were doing a dry run (with no audience). I offered some feedback after a short snippet. The feedback was minor and there wasn’t anything really glaring to fix, but it was concrete and specific.  I expected this busy executive to say “Thanks for the feedback” and wrap up the session.  Instead, I heard a sigh and a hearty, “Let me give it another try!”  Surprised, I agreed that would be profitable, and we made two more attempts, each better than the one before.

In another recent workshop, I was packing up my equipment in an empty classroom when a student came back into the room and asked, “I’d like to know your honest opinion. What did you see in me today?”  I did not feel that this was a compliment-fishing excursion. I truly believed she wanted to know how she could improve and where she stood (she faces an extremely competitive environment and road ahead). The question did not go unanswered.

To a coach of any kind, a player/student/client saying “Let me Try again!” or “What did you see?” is a joyous (and, sadly, infrequent) occurrence. They are two responses that indicate an attitude of growth and a willingness to try and get better and what it truly takes to REALLY improve your speaking. 

Again I suggest Carol Dweck’s Mindset book – which outlines how attitude can change outcomes.Mindset Book by Carol Dweck

What do you need to try again?  Who can you ask an honest opinion of to find out what needs to happen to get better?

Communication matters, what are you saying?

This article was published in the December 2017 edition of our monthly speaking tips email, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today and receive our FREE download, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.”  You can unsubscribe at any time.