“Even the greatest journeys begin with a single step.” I think Lao Tzu said something like that or maybe it was Bear Grylls. Anyway, why would anyone want to move at all? It’s pretty exhausting if you ask me.

What makes us move?

Surprisingly, humans aren’t so different from animals when it comes to this question. All you need to get us to move is a reward like a carrot or negative enforcement like being hit by a stick or chased by a lunatic.

Before Christmas, Spirit and I thought it would be wise for Erik to move in a specific direction. We wanted him to focus on improving his communication skills so that he could be more effective at spreading Great’s message and vision.

In fact, we saw so much value in Erik improving this skill that we made it our personal goals to help him make strides in this area. We, Erik included, believe that there are endless opportunities if we can turn Erik into a “Podcast King.”

But what can Spirit and I do to motivate him and help him move toward this goal? As I mentioned above, we need to use a carrot — or stick.

What do you think we chose?

Well, we hit Erik pretty damn hard with that stick. But why?

We were asked to provide Erik feedback on a presentation he was working on for SiGMA. To be honest, we found a lot of room for improvement in that presentation, and we didn’t like it. We took our time preparing feedback for Erik, and we were careful to structure it in a loving, but honest way.

We held a weeklong workshop in Stockholm before Christmas, with the goal of helping Erik with his presentation. I had never delivered such honest and genuine feedback to anyone before, and I was pretty scared.

Can you remember the last time you gave someone feedback that you thought might hurt the relationship? It’s not a great feeling, but that is how it felt for me to be 100 percent honest with Erik. We knew that it was incredibly important to get our point across because we believe so much in the vision of Great and helping Erik become the best speaker than he can be — but it was still a difficult conversation.

I’m happy to say that we are still friends, and we were able to use that workshop to help move Erik in the right direction.

Maybe more than ever, this situation showed me that Erik is truly a strong leader. His ego didn’t get in the way — he actually wanted our brutal honesty. We left that workshop more motivated and excited about 2019.

A lot of my energy and focus this year will go towards improving Erik’s communication skills so that he can become an incredible public speaker and podcast interviewee. We will be sharing this journey with you!

Spirit, Erik, and I are public speaking nerds — presenting and telling stories are some of our favorite things to do! We’re planning weekly podcasts (real and pretend) with subsequent analysis of those podcasts looking at critical areas related to communicating and active listening. There will be valuable takeaways for anyone who cares about improving their communication skills.

The goal this year is to turn Erik into a “Podcast King.” We would love for you to follow us on this journey and share your thoughts and ideas. Reach out to us if you have feedback, questions, or personal stories about your own public speaking.