7 Big Ideas From Gothenburg

Last weekend I participated in The Toastmasters Division G Fall Conference in Gothenburg. The conference included some great workshops on leadership and public speaking. This post is a condensed version of my 7 favourite take-aways from the workshops. If you went to the conference you can use the article as a reminder; if not, here’s a few notes on what you missed. In either case I’m happy to be the nerdy kid who shares my notes (as long as you don’t take my lunch money).

1. We see don’t see things as they are

A young girl looking out the window, sees her neighbour drying some dirty clothes. “Why are they drying the clothes, when it’s still dirty?” she asks her mother. The mum looks, but doesn’t say anything.

The next day, the same thing happens. The girl tells her mum about the dirty clothes, and the mum doesn’t say anything.

On the third day, when the girl looks, the clothes are clean. The girl says: “She finally washed it. Did you say something to her?”

The mum smiles: “I got up early and washed your windows.”

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

Credit: Thanks to Andrei Popescu for sharing this story.

More information: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/03/09/as-we-are/

2. Negative feedback hurts

The human brain experiences negative feedback similarly to physical pain. Therefore, think about how your words affect other people, when giving them feedback.

Credit: Thanks to Danni Liljekrans (http://liljekrans.com) for sharing this idea.

More: Emotional and Physical Pain Activate Similar Brain Regions (Psychology Today)

3. Radical Candor

The previous idea tells us how negative feedback hurts. But being kind and positive isn’t enough. When giving people feedback, remember these two things:

  • Care about the person
  • Challenge the person

Do you ever hold back when giving feedback, because you don’t want to hurt the other person? In that case you’re in the unicorn-zone. You are caring, but not challenging. Thus, you are creating a fantasy world for the other person, which makes her feel good, but doesn’t serve in the long run. If you’re the opposite (challenging, but not caring), you’re just being a dick. This is shown as a devil in the graph above. If you’re neither challenging nor caring, you’re doing everything wrong (symbolised above as an indifferent and manipulative snake. If you’re both caring and challenging, you’re using what Kim Scott calls radical candor. You are building up the other person, and helping her grow at the same time.

Okay, enough with the unicorns. Here’s what the model really looks like:

Credit: Thanks to Danni Liljekrans (http://liljekrans.com) for sharing this idea.

More: https://www.radicalcandor.com/about-radical-candor/

Bonus: This concept relates to the “Supportive/Demanding Parenting Matrix

4. Listen to yourself

Imagine you’re in a high stakes situation where lots of people want to offer their advice (for instance when competing in the world championship of public speaking). It get’s increasingly difficult to trust your own voice.

The importance of being true to yourself and your story, increases when more people are giving you advice.

Credit: Denise Banks-Grasedyck (http://www.banks-grasedyck.com/)

5. The Five Levels of Leadership

Denise talked about the five levels of leadership, and she posed three questions for leaders to ask themselves:

  • What do I want in a leader?
  • Why should anyone follow me? (what will they get?)
  • What impact do I want to make on my followers and their communities?

Credit: Denise Banks-Grasedyck (http://www.banks-grasedyck.com/)

More about the five levels of leadership: http://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/5-levels-of-leadership

Picture: http://psychologyformarketers.com/5-levels-leadership-john-maxwell/

6. Egg, Carrot or Coffee?

When facing a difficult situation, do you handle it like Eggs, Carrots or Coffee?

  • Eggs are soft, but when thrown into a difficult situation (AKA boiling water), they become harder. Do you become tougher, when facing hardships?
  • Carrots are hard, and boiling water makes them soft.
  • With Coffee, it’s completely different: Coffee changes the water

When life punches you in the face, be like coffee. Change the difficult situation.

Credit: Thanks to Andrei Popescu for sharing this story.

7. But vs And

The word “but” is a commonly used (and terrible) word, for responding to other people’s ideas. “But” creates a “me vs you”-feeling – like you’re on different teams, fighting for different things. Instead use the word “and”. It feels much better for the person you’re talking to. It feels like you’re building on his ideas – rather than rejecting them.

Credit: Denise Banks-Grasedyck (http://www.banks-grasedyck.com/)

These are my favourite takeaways from the workshops. If you were there, I’d love to hear about your favourite take-aways from the weekend. Feel free to write a comment.

Thanks everyone for a great conference!

Wrote by Christian Staal member of Division G on LinkedIn