Laurie Ruettimann
Laurie Ruettimann

Good ideas are all around us. We miss most of them, and a few stick. 2012 is transformational for me because I spotted an idea in 2011 and I acted on it.  The idea was a reminder, a reminder of the importance of practice. It came from Laurie Ruettimann (pictured above) in a blog post she wrote called Public Speaking Tips. You can read the whole piece here, and the part that really struck home for me was:

I practice like crazy. Other speakers advise me not to over-prepare and I tell them, “Mind your own business.” Malcolm Gladwell tells us that we need 10,000 of practice before we become rockstars. Maybe you don’t have to practice because you’re awesome. That’s great. Good for you. But we don’t let our children get behind the wheel of a car without extensive practice. Why would I stand before a group of busy, smart, talented people without extensive preparation? My audience deserves a strongly executed performance. I want to deliver. You should, too.

Laurie’s post was written on September 21st 2011 and just a couple of weeks beforehand I had accepted an invitation to speak at the CIPD Social Media in HR conference in December 2011. I musta read Laurie’s post about a hundred times, over and over and over. And then I applied that same level of interest and practice to the talk I was going to give. I built the talk, I destroyed the talk, I rebuilt it. I bashed it crashed it, mashed it, bashed it. Practice, practice, practice. Hell I even practiced leaving a couple of pieces to free flow, because you never know how your audience is going to react and if you’ve tied down the whole thing then you’ve kinda got nowhere to go.

The day came. I was nervous. I’m always nervous, and I always tell folks this. See, I did it again just there. After lunch I stood up and did my thing. I nailed it, and others felt I nailed it too. People like Neil Morrison, Alison Chisnell and Natasha Stallard. People I respect because I know they are authentic. And if they think I’m doing a good job, well that will do for me.

Wind the clock forward to today and I am humbled and excited by the speaking opportunities and possibilities that are presenting themselves since the day I nailed it. You can see some of them, including my September trip to Ohio (pinch myself) emerging here. And I’m currently doing exciting work with some great people at Careergro, helping them bring their product to market here in the UK. Last December, one of the Directors of Careergro was in the audience at the conference and heard the talk I gave. How cool is that!

So what?

First I want to thank the CIPD for inviting me and in particular I want to acknowledge Laurie’s part in my recent success. Not only did she write a fabulous, timely blog post, but she has also reached out to me a few times since and given generous support. Thank you Laurie, and if ever I can do something for you, just ask and I’ll do it (so long as it doesn’t involve looking after Scrubby. I’m not big on cats – sorry).

Second, if I can spot these things and act on them, so can you. I encourage you to think for a few minutes. An idea will have caught your eye recently. Have you grabbed it? Are you acting on it?

Third. When you act on it and achieve what you wanted, please don’t forget to acknowledge the person who gave you the idea. Always remember, what goes around, comes around.

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

6 thoughts on “Acknowledge”

    1. Chris – I hope so too, meeting you and other folks I’ve got to know online will help make the trip a real blast.

  1. Hi Doug
    Well, top tip. I am going to present a big ol’ concept I have next week to my director, manager and CEO. I have researched, pondered, written, thought, eaten, slept and dreamed about this concept. Now, thinking about it … I’ll practice it too. Thanks for the timely tip Doug.
    One other thing – Humanize. I bought it as a result of your recommendation on Pinterest, and it is possibly the best book I have read for a very long time. I owe you a beer (or several) Mr Shaw!

    1. Excellent. Good luck and have fun, and if you fancy running your idea by someone beforehand just get in touch.

      Glad you like the book – it’s very thought provoking. All beers gratefully accepted 🙂

      1. Actually Doug, I wouldn’t mind running it by you, even if I don’t get a chance before the presentation. Can I f-book you and then maybe call and pick your brains?

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