“There are no two words in the English language more harmful than good job.” -Whiplash
How much are you willing to push yourself to achieve remarkable?
In the movie Whiplash, Terence Fletcher believes his duty as a teacher is to push people past what’s expected of them and into greatness. He’s on the hunt for the next Charlie Parker. He knows that the next big jazz great isn’t going to happen if his students aren’t challenged to do more than they expect from themselves.
Fletcher is also an awful human being. Verbally, emotionally, physically abusive. He’s a giant asshole who pushes his student past their breaking point.
While Whiplash is visceral, I found it inspiring. I’m the freak who left the theater thinking “How can I push myself to be remarkable? How can I push my speakers to be more?”
What does it take to land that coveted TEDx speaking slot? A remarkable idea.
What does it take to step on the stage of World Domination Summit? Answering the question “how do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” in a completely innovative way.
What does it take to be the next Brene Brown, Simon Sinek, or Elizabeth Gilbert? A remarkable body of work.
What is remarkable?
Remarkable means worthy of attention, extraordinary, or striking.
For example, J.K.Simmons portrayal of Terence Fletcher is truly remarkable. A performance that took him from an character actor to Academy Award winner.
But I like to think about a remarkable presentation creating a conversation for the audience. The presentation gives them something to talk about. Your message should stick with the audience long after you finished speaking.
Think of each person in that audience who remarks on your presentation as spreading your message to other people.
Remarkable creates reach and a message that influences others; even those that weren’t at your presentation.
Remarkable presentations have a unique view point
Simon Sinek is known for “start with why.” Sally Hogshead is known for fascinating communication. Brene Brown is known for vulnerability.
What do you want to be known for?
All three of these remarkable people took other people’s ideas and developed something new and different that positioned them in a category of one.
If you’re espousing their viewpoints in your talk, that’s awesome but you need to also add to that conversation.
You’ll be just another “me too” speaker if you don’t extend the current ideas and add to the conversation.
Remarkable means a fresh viewpoint that pushes conversations forward while saying “yes and…” to ideas.
Feedback and work are required to achieve greatness
Does this sound familiar? The lone wolf speaker, furiously creating slides, practicing in front of the mirror, giving their presentation over and over again to their cats.
There’s a huge DIY movement in public speaking. Speakers who test their material for the first time in front of the audience who needs their message.
No feedback = “good job” results. You know how I feel about the good job outcome.
What’s so brilliant about Terrance Fletcher in Whiplash is that he is able to zoom in on exactly how each of his students can become better musicians (What’s not so great is how he communicates his feedback).
The outside perspective of how others see you speaking, how they grok or don’t grok your message, and the collaboration that takes place to creates the necessary conditions to give a remarkable talk.
Speaking is not a go-it-alone activity.
If you want to land more speaking gigs, be in front of the people who your message matters to, and have those very people spread your message like Oscar buzz. Then you need to strive for remarkable.
Push yourself. Get help to elevate your presentation to new heights. Go beyond what’s expected of you in a presentation. Over deliver at every turn.
That’s how you get the audience to take notice. That’s how you earn more speaking gigs. That’s how your business grows.
“I don't think people understood what it was I was doing at Shaffer. I wasn't there to conduct. I was there to push people beyond what's expected of them.” -Terrence Fletcher, Whiplash