Have you heard the joke about the psychiatrists and the light bulb?
- Q. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb?
- A. One–but the light bulb has to really want to change.
It’s a joke satirizing psychiatrists, but to be honest it has it’s value.
You see, I am often asked in different ways to judge someone’s presentation before they become my client. It puts both the presenter and myself in a very awkward position.
If I provide my honest observations, chances are the presenter will not be open to hear them. Either because the adrenaline is still flowing from the event, or they just don’t want to know (who asked you? I can hear them saying.) Either way our relationship is off to a bad start.
And they are right to respond that way.
The thing is, without being their trusted advisor, it’s really not my place to judge. The presenter must want to know – must want to change – before they will be open to receiving feedback. And they must select me to be the one to provide that honest feedback.
If you were looking to improve your presentation and communication skills I would recommend:
1. First make a conscious decision to change and recognize it will take effort.
2. Find an advisor you can connect with and build trust.
3. Together: discover your strengths, expectations, and goals.
4. Build an approach that works for you and your advisor.
Think about that the next time you start to open your mouth to provide feedback to a co-worker or team member. Be sure they are open and ready to receive the feedback.
The light bulb has to want to change – the person has to want to change.
Do you want to change?