In America, we celebrate July 4th as Independence Day. That’s the day fifty-six rebels signed a document that meant they either fought and won or lost everything they had. Maybe a more proper label would be “All In Day”. No more wishing. No more hoping. No more letters or petitions. It was a complete commitment to rebellion. The war lasted more than eight years. It was a long, grueling, costly time in the lives of those men and the new country they represented.
Virtually every country has such a day. In a few weeks on July 14th France will herald the well-known Bastille Day celebrating the common man’s rebellion against the bourgeoisie. But this week you could also celebrate Independence Day in Burundi (July 1), Somalia (July 1), Belarus (July 3), and Algeria (July 5). In every case, men and women gave their lives for causes they deemed worthy. History was changed as a result.
Our most common call from those seeking speaker training is a hope for some sort of Independence Day. Some want to fix a tic or habit. Most want to be free from their fear. Many just want it (their event) to be over. They’re hoping a workshop or a coaching session will be their Independence Day, the day everything changes. Most have messages and causes that can change history: of their company, their personal trajectory, their family, or their community. But such causes aren’t seen to completion in a single day.
We find that most speakers aren’t All In. They want a quick fix. A trick that will make life easy. They want to feel good about their effort. Confident, even. They want the fireworks and the parade, but not the revolution and hard work. But unlike a revolution, where the commitment dictates the outcome, they dabble and test the waters without the follow-through it takes to change the course of history.
I’m in the midst of a most unusual coaching engagement. The actual coaching is about as typical as they come. Evaluate the current skillset, create a list of objectives, change and practice new habits, monitor and adjust, as necessary. But what’s odd is these two clients – leaders in their organization – have spent the last twenty years speaking on a regular basis with no change. I’m not totally sure what triggered them to seek help, but one of the methods I suggested is they need some public accountability and input into the behavior changes they want. Now it’s real. They’ve got to admit and invite others in their organization to be part of their journey. It’s not an anonymous consult helping in some back room. It’s public. It’s risky. And there is no turning back once you ask for help. You either win and conquer or lose your goal and your followers.
Their attitude is so encouraging to me. Their acceptance of their current state and the hope for a better future is inspiring. They have embraced – gone All In – making changes.
Signing the document (taking a class, reading a book) is one thing. Fighting the war and publicly telling others about the objective is much harder. And perhaps that’s a measure of true leadership.
Are you All In? Sign the declaration. There’s no turning back.
Summer is a great time to pick up the habit of reading or make some headway on that book list. One of my recent reads is the NY Times Bestseller, Atomic Habits, by James Clear. There are so many applications to this book, from personal hygiene to time management to behaviors with your loved ones. I’ve been able to change – and sustain – positive habits in my morning routine, exercise, eating, flossing my teeth, and keeping up with my network. A worthy read (and like speaker training, totally useless if you don’t act on what you learn!).
Of course, my two business books Presentation Sin and Silver Goldfish are great books to start a revolution in your communications skillset. My third book, The Virtual Speaker, went to the editor last week! Coming soon!
Our live, virtual workshops are a perfect place to learn our method for content development. They are best fit into two two-hour sessions, or they are included in our ten-part online master communicator series. Call us to schedule a program for your team.
Check out the MillsWyck Communications YouTube Channel for more tips!
Communication matters. What are you saying?
This article was published in the July edition of our monthly speaking tips email newsletter, Communication Matters. Have speaking tips like these delivered straight to your inbox every month. Sign up today to receive our newsletter and receive our FREE eBook, “Twelve Tips that will Save You from Making a Bad Presentation.” You can unsubscribe at any time.