Month of Learning

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Why You’ve Got To Read The Room & Ask

Asking the right people what they think can help you create work that stands the test of time. 

It is vital to read the room that you’re a part of. Taking on board the thoughts of others and gauging feedback means you’re constantly fine-tuning and so staying two steps ahead of everyone else. 

When you produce work for others, it has to sit comfortably with them. You can’t become blinkered by your own intentions and outlook, there are times when you have to reach out and ask, ‘How am I doing?’ ‘How are you finding this?’ Whatever you’re dong it’s no good if no one’s listening or taking any action.

In the book Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction, Derek Thompson says, “Audiences don’t know everything, but they know more than creators do.”

If you’re looking to build something worthwhile, continual evaluation means being happy with producing work in a live laboratory. There are times when you have to step out, ask and then evaluate. This is about trying to figure things out and acknowledge that the input from others is important if your intentions are to grow, build market share and steal a march on your competitors.  

The Picture For You

You Are The Media Lunch Club Online has been every two weeks since the end of April (apart from a short break during July). Every attendee at the August 20th session was asked for feedback – whether they wanted to see the event remain fortnightly or whether they would prefer it to become a monthly occasion.

The resounding preference was to have a monthly event.

For the record, I had been hoping that people would say fortnightly as the event had personally brought me so much joy since the lights went out on everything with the lockdown. 

When it comes to delivering something for others you can:

💥 Go all in and get on with it, it feels right for you (be driven)

💥 Invite participation from others and get their thoughts (become informed)

The reason I went for the latter was:

👥 Things are slightly different now than when we started in the spring when we were far more cut off from one another 

👥 There has been a 15% decrease in attendance during August (due to summer holidays or people becoming tired of video)

👥 I recognised I couldn’t be blinkered and carry on because that was what I wanted to do

👥 If this is for the YATM community, the community should have the opportunity to have its say 

When you have people around you, it pays to ask. You can’t treat the world as a marketplace to sell into, in the shortest amount of time. The audience you build is your prized possession. They become your friends. 

The reason I asked is that it allowed me to think out loud and be public. I could take on board what other people thought (and wanted).

What About You?

Having the opportunity to build a community is a privilege. The tools are there in front of you to do it (centred on what you stand for) with your biggest investment being your own time. It works when people give you their support and come together around you creating a collective voice.

When it comes to asking questions before you commit to something. Here are some pointers when it comes to stepping forward to ask for help:

You have to ask the right people

If you want valid feedback, putting a poll up on social media won’t work. The opinions of strangers skews results. I asked people during the YATM Lunch Club Online to vote, in the moment. They were the people who were in the room and present. Their opinion was what was valid. 

Make the ask of worth to those around you

People don’t want to be ignored. The YATM Lunch Club Online is not only about feeling a part of something because it also offers opportunities to upskill, learn and build confidence around your place in the marketplace. What you create has to be of worth to the community. You have to be tuned into the ‘we’ not the ‘I’.

Lean less on social

If you ask for help on social it becomes about accumulating mass, rather than asking those who are more familiar with, and closer to you. It begs the question of whether you would implicitly trust someone you don’t know very well to help make an important business decision.

Make data-driven decisions 

When you ask the right people, the facts don’t lie. Whilst my head and heart had wanted the majority of people to keep the lunch going fortnightly, the decision to have a monthly occasion is probably the right decision. It would be disingenuous to ask for feedback, only to ignore it. 

Show what success can look like

No one is going to buy into something when they can’t see how it will look for them. You have to share the picture of tomorrow and how it’s going to make things better for them.

It’s about recognising a fork in the road and sharing how you’re trying to work things out. Read this article on the difference you can make making it easier for people to buy into what tomorrow looks like.

What Youre Going To Take From This (The Longer-Term)

When you ask others for help, the questions you have represent so much more: 

You learn who your audience is

These are the moments when you bring everyone in the room together. It’s the moments of unity that can help define the future. A collective voice can help you understand what your audience wants and the role you serve for them.

You recognise how to communicate better

Any way that brings you closer to others can only be beneficial for both sides. The last thing you want is for your audience to become disengaged. Going forward, quick surveys where answers shape progress will probably be introduced more in 2021.

You learn how to serve others better

Asking for help means that you’re in it for the long term. My intention now is for YATM Lunch Club Online to be an ongoing monthly fixture throughout 2021. This means that I have to keep the bar high as regards the calibre of guest so it becomes a fixture in people’s calendars and they know they are going to learn and feel a part of the event even before the session has started.

You can make an impact

YATM Lunch Club Online is about bringing influential, respected people from around the world in to encourage others to craft their message and become a trusted voice in their industry. With the video being released to attendees there’s always the opportunity to watch back and take on board the points that may have been missed. The intention is for people to know that YATM Online is a structured place that can make a positive difference to their business outcomes.

Lets Round-Up

When you’ re looking to improve your recipe, it helps to ask others to have a taste.

It can be tough realising you don’t have all the answers. Having a community around you makes it easier to do that asking. It’s also about being ok with asking for help. Brene Brown says, “The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it’s about the courage to show up when you can’t predict or control the outcome.”

If you’re looking to introduce something new to your product offering, the people you’ve gathered around you become important in determining future direction. Asking for feedback can help save time and reduce risk, preventing you from ploughing on when it’s only you that’s truly on board and enthused.

Asking the right questions to the right people, helps you to become more informed. It’s a helping hand that ends up supporting everyone.


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