I have a love/hate relationship with feedback.
I love it because it really helps. I hate it because it sometimes hurts.
A few weeks ago, I did a session at the Preaching Rocket tour stop in Atlanta. Though I’ve spoken in front of people for 20 years, I was extremely nervous. Not only was I following Jeff Henderson, Andy Stanley and Louie Giglio on the schedule, I had a lot of emption and worry about standing on that stage.
I ended up rushing through the content. It may not have been bad, but it wasn’t my best. I felt like my talk was flat, and it didn’t connect with the audience.
And that’s what a couple of people said in the post-event evaluation. One commenter said, “He may be a nice guy, but clearly, he’s not a public speaker.”
I’m not going to lie…feedback like that hurts. My first response was to email back and say, “Hey, I was a youth pastor and I was a pastor and I spoke to 2,000 people” And on and on and on.
But if I want to get better, I’ve got to hear that feedback. I’ve got to process that feedback. And I’ve got to keep working. And hearing other people’s feedback led me to my own personal evaluation.
Pushing my content through the plasma screen like Andy Stanley masterfully does just isn’t me. I didn’t communicate with my own unique voice. I let the size of the stage get to me. In the end, I wasn’t comfortable on that stage, and I was not secure in my own style. But I’m determined to let that feedback and my own evaluation drive me to get better.
So while feedback hurt, it helped.
In fact, for feedback to be helpful, it HAS to hurt. Hearing “good job” after everything might stroke the ego, but it’s really not helpful. I need (and you need) people who will be willing to tear things apart in love so you can get better. ”Good message” doesn’t help at all, any more than “that was not good” helps you get better. In order to improve, we need detailed, honest feedback.
For what it’s worth, based on feedback and evaluation, I’m changing the direction of my talk to something that’s more authentic and fits my style. David couldn’t fight in Saul’s armor, so maybe Michael shouldn’t preach with Andy’s plasma screen TV.