Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a large room full of people.
This would be the most boring opening sentence ever, if it weren’t for the fact that I haven’t delivered an in-person keynote for two and a half years.
I was speaking on ELASTIC leadership, which is also the topic of my forthcoming book. This was my first time speaking on this topic after having written the book (the manuscript is with the editors now). Prior to writing the book, I had addressed the topic many times in the previous year, in digital gatherings as both a speaker and facilitator.
The message gets sharper each time as my understanding of the issues deepens and I hone my ability to convey the core insights. But that refinement has not just come from research or from repetition. It is the result of having communicated and pressure tested the content in multiple formats, not just multiple settings. I am delivering it in one-on-one coaching conversations, interactive workshops, short and long written pieces, and speeches. Each mode requires a different angle, focus and pace. That variety is refining the quality far faster than sitting at my desk doing revisions, or delivering the same talk over and over again, ever could.
Your new message may not be contained in a book. Maybe it’s a new set of strategic priorities or a new product or refreshed cultural norms you are trying to “sell.” Whatever your message, delivering it in multiple formats is a fast track to polishing it.
An epilogue of gratitude:
As I write this, it is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada where I live. I’m thinking about how, like many other things, I tend to do gratitude quickly, when it would benefit from a longer pause and deeper dive. So instead of creating a long list of people and things I am grateful for, I am disciplining myself to sit for longer with a shorter list. I’m considering what my life would be like if those things were not part of it, which is amplifying my gratitude for them. I’m intentionally focusing my attention on the positives and trying to let the negatives shrink from a lack of attention. (Even this past weekend’s very very sad Toronto Blue Jays’ game. It’s been a struggle.) Please know that each of you has made the short list! I am deeply grateful for your support of my work in various ways. You send me notes of encouragement. You hire me to help you. You buy my books. You read this blog. You tell your friends about me. These acts of affirmation and generosity do not go unnoticed, and this year I am sitting with them longer.